Here, Demi Lovato sends a stern message to Donald Trump, calling out the president's mishandling of racial injustice, access to affordable healthcare during COVID-19, and more. She implores Trump to acknowledge that people nationwide are dying, "while you line your pockets deep." Voicing the pain felt by voters who've been rattled by the tumultuous times, Lovato tells him, "If I did the things you'd do, I couldn't sleep."
Demi Lovato is politically active, frequently speaking out for LGBT rights and environmental issues, and against gun violence and racial injustice. However, until now she has rarely expressed her views in her music. Lovato had thought about writing a letter to President Trump criticizing him for the failures of his administration, but then she came up with the idea of writing a song incorporating questions in the lyrics, which would more likely evoke a response from the Commander-in-chief. Lovato told CNN:
"There's been so many times that I've wanted to write the President a letter or sit down with him and ask him these questions. And then I thought, I don't really actually want to do that and I thought one way that I could do that is writing a song and releasing it for the whole world to hear and then he has to answer those questions to everyone and not just me."
The song also serves as an encouragement for the American people to come together as a united country and vote in the 2020 presidential election. The single artwork shows Lovato wearing a mask with "VOTE" written on it, further amplifying her message.
Lovato teamed up with Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter to write the song. Michaels and Tranter's other credits together include Justin Bieber's "Sorry
," Hailee Steinfeld's "Love Myself
," and Selena Gomez' "Lose You to Love Me
Billie Eilish's brother and songwriter partner Finneas produced the track with Eren Cannata (Alma's "Cowboy
Lovato debuted "Commander In Chief" live at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards ceremony on September 14, 2020, where she sang the song as she played the piano.
This powerful protest anthem sparked a huge political backlash, but Lovato told her fans she is unconcerned about it ruining her career. "I'll take integrity in my work over sales any day," said the singer.
Pink released a similar politically charged song in 2006 addressed to the commander-in-chief back then. "Dear Mr. President
" is an open letter to President George W. Bush asking him questions about the Iraq War, the gay rights movement, the homeless, abortion, and more. Pink released the song as a single in Canada, Europe and Australia but not in the US because she didn't want it perceived as a publicity stunt.
Michaels told Billboard
at their award ceremony that she, Lovato and Tranter wrote the song "in an hour." She added, "We cried a little bit, we said what we needed to say and now it's out in the world."
Moments after her BMA performance, Lovato dropped the music video, which shows Americans of different ages, genders, races and sexual orientations lip-syncing the lyrics as a representation of unity.