The Real Meaning Behind Demi Lovato’s ‘I.C.U. (Madison’s Lullabye)’

The following article includes mentions of drug abuse.

Demi Lovato’s 2021 album, Dancing With the Devil … the Art of Starting Over, is sure to be one of her most popular to date. According to Vulture, this marks Lovato’s seventh studio album, which is pretty impressive considering she’s only 28. Lovato collaborated with a few big names for the record, including Ariana Grande and Noah Cyrus. It album goes hand-in-hand with Lovato’s documentary, which is also titled Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil. Both works chronicle the aftermath of the singer’s 2018 drug overdose, which made headlines for months. 

The documentary premiered on March 16, 2021, at the SXSW film festival. In it, Lovato dropped several bombshells in the incredibly candid glimpse into her life, including her ongoing battle with addiction. “I wish I could say the last night that I ever touched heroin was the night of my overdose, but it wasn’t,” she revealed (via Page Six). “I ended up getting high. I thought, ‘How did I pick up the same drugs that put me in the hospital?’ I was mortified at my decisions.”

While fans knew that Lovato’s overdose nearly killed her, she shared some incredibly specific details. “I had three strokes. I had a heart attack,” she revealed in the trailer. “My doctors said that I had five to 10 more minutes.” Every song on Lovato’s album has an important meaning, including “I.C.U. (Madison’s Lullabye).” Keep scrolling to find out what the song is about. 

Demi Lovato's song is a tribute to her little sister

Demi Lovato’s relationship with little sister Madison De La Garza is a special one, and she made sure to include a tribute to her on Dancing With the Devil. The track titled “I.C.U. (Madison’s Lullabye)” was written specifically for De La Garza, with “I.C.U.” carrying a double meaning. Lovato was legally blind when she woke up from her 2018 overdose, she revealed in the documentary. Though it was only temporary, Lovato could not see De La Garza, who was standing by her bedside following the incident. She even asked who she was. The beautiful track is a tribute to Lovato’s relationship with her sister.

“I didn’t want those innocent eyes / To watch me fall from grace / Tried to protect you, I want to direct you / To keep you from my mistakes,” Lovato sings. And the chorus is equally as gut-wrenching. “Tuck your hair behind your ear / Until you fall asleep / I’ll say a prayer and keep you near / You’re always here with me / I promise, I’ll be there, don’t worry / ‘Cause I was blind, but now I see clearly / I see you.”

In 2017, Lovato also revealed that De La Garza was the main reason why she wanted to get sober in the first place. “I knew that I had a lot of life ahead of me, but one of the main reasons of getting sober was so that I could be around my little sister because my mom and dad (said I couldn’t be around her) if I was doing stuff,” she said on The Jonathan Ross Show

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA’s 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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