PHILADELPHIA — Demi Lovato can now add another accolade to her long list of accomplishments: director.
On Wednesday, the singer premiered the video for her patriotic pop song "Made in the USA," the second single from her latest album, Demi.
The video, which she co-directed alongside Ryan Pallotta, follows the tale of a young couple — played by "Friday Night Lights" actress Aimee Teegarden and "90210" actor Dustin Milligan — whose classic American romance starts off innocent and pure, but is shortly put to the test as Milligan's character is sent off to war.
When MTV News recently caught up with Lovato, whose "Heart Attack" clip is nominated for Best Female Video at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, she revealed that the idea for "Made in the USA" has been long in the works.
"I was listening to it, and that's what came to mind. There was no reason, it was just something in my mind while I was listening to the song," Lovato said backstage at Philadelphia's Pop-Tarts Crazy Good Summer concert. "And I knew it was going to be my next single from my album and this is what I do: If I know what my next single is, I'm immediately thinking of the concept. I wanted it to look like a short film."
With its cinematic look and in-depth story line, many Lovatics might have been surprised that Lovato — who acts as a soundtrack to their love story, appearing only in performance shots — didn't cast herself as the leading lady.
"I want people to connect with the characters, and I actually didn't want to be in it at all," Lovato admitted. "I wanted to be all behind the camera, and then my label and everyone was like, 'You have to be in the video, it's your song.' So, I was like, 'Alright, fine, I'll be in the video.' And that's why it's just a few performance shots, and I also wanted to tie the performance into how they met."
Staying behind the camera instead of in front of it gave Lovato the chance to focus heavily on her newfound passion for directing, which was impressively demonstrated through the entire video, especially during what Lovato calls one of her favorite scenes to shoot.
"When he was fighting in Afghanistan, the shots are really close up on his face, and he is hiding behind something, and he is fully loaded, and he's in the middle of a war, and it was really great," Lovato said. "Dustin is such a good actor, and he was crying, and there were bombs going off and everything. That was just the coolest scene because that scene looks like it's from a movie, so I was really excited."
Lovato, who said she wants to continue to direct music videos not only for herself, but for other artists, told us there was one scene that knew she had to perfect: the moment the war-torn couple reunites.
"That shot really had everyone's attention, and if it doesn't come across the right way, it takes the emotion out of it. I really wanted to draw emotion from people, so I'm really, really glad it turned out the way it did," Lovato explained. "Because my mom cried, my sister cried, and I was like, 'Yes!' "