“I grew up listening to Christina Aguilera,” Lovato, 25, told PEOPLE Sept. 15 following a private performance in downtown Los Angeles for 50 of her Spotify superfans to celebrate the launch of her new record.
“She was one of my idols growing up,” said the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer. “She still is. Her voice is incredible, and in [Aguliera’s 2002 album] Stripped you really got to hear that.”
“I think it was her breakout album that really transformed her into the icon that she is today,” explained Lovato. “So that inspired me … she really inspired this album. I was even inspired by the black and white artwork!”
Along with Aguilera, Lovato’s latest also took cues from her own life.
“You know my personal journey,” shared the star. “I have been through a lot over the last year-and-a-half. I’ve done a lot of growing and I wanted an album that best represented who I am.”
“My sound, I wanted it to be more authentic to who I am, which is more soulful and more R&B,” added Lovato. “And I wanted people to be able to relate to every song on the album.”
As for which track is the most meaningful to her? Lovato admits it’s “tough” choosing just one, but there are two songs, “Ready For Ya” and “Only Forever,” off of the deluxe version that “just emotionally” are “special” to her.
“My heart was full of just emotions when I wrote them,” shared Lovato.
Tell Me You Love Me is out now.