When news broke that American platinum-selling singer Demi Lovato was to perform in Cambodia on the final leg of her Demi World Tour, the collective squeal of delight from fans could be heard all the way from Angkor Wat to Kampot. The Kingdom is home to a surprising number of ‘Lovatics’ – telco Smart Axiata announced it would be organising the event following a campaign by 23,000 followers on the Demi Lovato Cambodia Fan Club Facebook page. Ahead of the concert, Lovato graciously consented to an exclusive phone interview with Ananth Baliga, during which he found out that she is, apparently, almost as excited to be coming to Cambodia as her fans are.
What was your reaction when you realised there was a huge drive and push from your Cambodian fans to get to get you to do a concert here?
Well, first of all I was so excited because when I was a little girl I never ever imagined that I’d be travelling all over the world to places like Cambodia. So the fact that I have fans over there and that they are so excited to see me, it made me want to come over there even more.
Were you aware that you had such a large and enthusiastic fanbase here in Cambodia?
To be honest, no I had no idea. I think I got messages saying “I’m a huge fan,” but I guess I didn’t realise how excited people are.
Have you encountered this level of fandom in any other place in the region?
Yeah, I think any time I go overseas somewhere its always very exciting for me to see that I have fans all across the world – you know far away from home.
Do you think you will have a chance to do some sight-seeing, and see Angkor Wat if possible?
I would love to. I think if I would be able to do that it would make the trip even more exciting.
Have you come across Cambodian pop or rock music? Have you heard of Laura Mam or any other Cambodia artist?
To be honest, I haven’t heard a lot of Cambodian music. But I am excited to come over there and listen to it.
Your music has jumped a major cultural gap by appealing to a Cambodian audience. How do you feel about that and do you have a message for them?
I’m so excited to see you all and thank you so much for supporting me. I am looking forward to not only coming to a country that I’ve never been to before but putting on a show for everyone. And I could not be more excited.
How do you as an artist relate to your fans who are across the world and different cultures?
The way that I manage that as an artist is that I am really very good with social media. Before social media, no one was able to communicate with their fans. Now I am able to communicate directly and I’m very grateful for that.
You’ve spoke about your personal experiences and the ups and downs you’ve gone through. So do you have any message for the Cambodia youth here?
Yeah, my message is to my Cambodian fans that no matter what you are going through, you can always overcome it and it’s just a way to deal with the experiences in your life that define who you are, not the things that you have been through.
Demi Lovato will perform supported by Phnom Penh’s own Laura Mam in front of the Koh Pich Theatre on Tuesday at 7pm. General admission is free.