Part of Demi Lovato’s newfound confidence has come from the Disney alum, 23, being able to open up about the painful parts of her past. In her emotional new ballad, “Father,” the bold singer gets more personal than ever, detailing her complicated relationship with her late dad, Patrick Lovato

“Father, I’m gonna say thank you / Even if I’m still hurt,” she sings. “I’m gonna say bless you / I wanna mean those words / Always wished you the best / I prayed for your peace / Even if you started this whole war in me.” 

Patrick passed away in 2013, and the experience left Demi unsure of how she really felt after years of struggling to express her feelings. 

“I was very conflicted when he passed because he was abusive,” the recent SNL musical guest explains in a new behind-the-scenes video. “He was mean, but he wanted to be a good person… He wasn’t capable of raising a family, and it was because of his mental illness. To know that it wasn’t fully his fault really was saddening to me, and I wanted to write about it. I wanted to process it.”

Demi has been open in the past about her struggles with bipolar disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm. In 2011 she went to rehab for her issues and has worked hard to be a spokeswoman for those seeking help for their mental illness. 

In June 2014, Demi tweeted a collage of photos with her late father, marking the one-year anniversary of his death. 

“Father” joins Demi’s other widely praised ballad “Stone Cold” on her newly released album, Confident, which is in the running for the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 album charts this week. 

Want stories like these delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter!