OK Not To Be OK
by Demi Lovato (featuring Marshmello)

Album: Dancing With The Devil…The Art of Starting Over (2020)
Charted: 42 36
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Songfacts®:

  • Demi Lovato's struggles with mental illness and self-harm have been much publicized. She has been an advocate for mental health for years, and here she teams up with Marshmello for a single about the topic. The pair released the track in partnership with not-for-profit agency Hope for the Day on September 10, 2020, World Suicide Prevention Day, to raise awareness on suicide prevention and help break the stigma.
  • Lovato sings of her personal experience with mental illness and her feelings of discouragement and isolation. She reminds us it's "OK not to be OK" when feeling down and to embrace the fact that it's human nature to be low sometimes. Lovato wrote in an Instagram post that she penned the song for all those who feel besieged by suicidal thoughts and depression, having battled them herself for much of her life.

    "I've had many days where I've struggled, but please let this song be an anthem to anyone who needs it right now," she said. "You can get through whatever it is you're going through... I'm here for you always, you are not alone and I love you."
  • Lovato recorded the song in partnership with Marshmello after the pair kept running into one another at various awards shows and music events. The helmeted DJ told Apple Music's Zane Lowe that when Lovato presented him with the demo, it was just her voice with piano accompaniment. "So then I was like, how can I create an instrumental, instruments, that complement the emotion of the song?" he explained. "So in the beginning it's very slow and stuff, so I made the instrumental very slow. And then during the hook, which is the resolve of the song, I kind of picked it up with the energy and it's kind of like a little dance tune."

    "I think that was a huge driving force in making the song, as well, as there was only one way the song could be," Marshmello continued about his disco-inflected production. "And so I spent a long time trying to find that exact moment where I was like, "Oh, okay, this is exactly how the song should sound. This is how it makes me feel." So it was just kind of like emotion turned to music in a way."
  • This is the first collaboration between Lovato and Marshmello that the public have heard. However, the pair has recorded together before; in 2017, an unreleased track titled "Love Don't Let Me Go" was registered to ASCAP, crediting Marshmello and Lovato.
  • Demi Lovato and Marshmello wrote the song with:

    Songwriter Gregory "Aldae" Hein, whose other credits include Rich Brian's "Yellow" and Trevor Daniel's "Things We Do For Love."

    Songwriter James Gutch, who has also co-penned songs for Annie LeBlanc ("Play Nice") and Sam Feldt ("Magnets").

    Runner Runner guitarist Nick Bailey, whose band are best known for their 2011 radio hit "So Obvious." He has since branched out into songwriting for the likes of Big Time Rush ("Song For You") Maroon 5 ("Visions") and Lukas Graham ("Scars").
  • The Hannah Lux Davis-directed music video finds Lovato and Marshmello waking up in their childhood bedrooms where they are confronted in their suburban homes by younger, more insecure versions of themselves.

    Davis has worked with both artists in the past, including Lovato's "Sorry Not Sorry" clip and Marshmello's "Be Kind" visual.
  • Demi Lovato told Zane Lowe on Apple Music that she originally wrote the song in 2019. When she handed it over to Marshmello, they worked on the track remotely, and he did a great job matching the production to the lyrics.

    "Because in the verses, it gets kind of quiet or more vulnerable," she said. "And then on the choruses, it's more driven and it's more upbeat and energetic and it's like, it kind of provides you that escape that you need right now, that dance break that you're like, 'you know what? I'm not doing okay but I'm just going to forget it for this second, and we just dance and we dance.'"
  • Lovato included the song on the expanded edition of her Dancing with the Devil... the Art of Starting Over album.

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