Ariana Grande grows into Dangerous Woman
Ariana Grande describes her third studio album, Dangerous Woman, as being about a 22-year-old girl who “comes into her own trying to balance growing up, love and a lot of other [BS] along the way.” The young artist—who turns 23 on June 26—further comments to Billboard, “I feel like I’m still just getting started—a lot of people forget I’m only three years in.” However, Grande’s road to being taken seriously has had its bumpy sidetracks. While shedding the stigma of being a cute Nickelodeon teen TV star has its own challenges, she’s exhibited some questionable behavior and maintains a masked, latex-clad alter-ego called Super Bunny.
Grande tells Billboard the bunny persona is her superhero or supervillain—depending on how she’s feeling that day. Then there’s her love of Harry Potter and reference to Super Bunny as her “Patronus” (a Latin and Potter book/film term meaning a guardian that takes the form of an animal). Perhaps most puzzling is Grande’s not-so-mature behavior in a bakery security video last year that shows her licking a display case donut and stating, “I hate America.” Since issuing a statement of apology, Grande is back on the grown up band wagon with Dangerous Woman, her latest Republic Records project to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (and first to top the U.K. albums chart).
Dangerous Woman is a “swaggering step forward for the pop superstar,” claims an iTunes review, noting the album showcases her “increasingly ferocious voice and a newfound edge.” The production team of Max Martin and Ilya accounts for more than half of the standard album's 11 tracks, and Grande gets assists from guest collaborators Lil Wayne (‘Let Me Love You’), Nicki Minaj (Side To Side’), Macy Gray (‘Leave Me Lonely’), and Future (‘Everday’).
AllMusic.com offers that Grande “took her first tentative steps into adulthood” with My Everything, the 2014 sophomore release that “tempered her retro-diva stance with modern R&B.” Dangerous Woman “consolidates this soulful shift while offering a snazzier, sophisticated spin on the '90s pop that provides the foundation of Grande's music,” states All Music. Billboard adds the album’s title track lead single is a “sultry R&B track with a self-empowerment message and an arena-annihilating hook.”
When the title track first single was released in March, it made Grande the first artist in Billboard Hot 100 history to have the lead single of each of her first three albums debut in the top 10. The ‘Dangerous Woman’ single is currently No. 9 on the Mediabase Top 40 airplay chart and No. 26 at Hot AC. The song is also No. 8 on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart. In addition, as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2016, Grande was among the honorees at the TIME 100 Gala in April. She also performed ‘Dangerous Woman’ and ‘Leave Me Lonely.’
Other recent live performances include Grande’s appearance at Rock In Rio in Portugal. She is currently preparing for upcoming concerts at Wembley Stadium in London (June 11); in Chicago with Meghan Trainor, Calvin Harris, Iggy Azalea, Charlie Puth, Mike Posner, and Daya (June 26); and during the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival in Wantagh, N.Y. (Aug 20-21). Grande also posted an announcement on Facebook that reveals she is planning to go tour at the end of this year or early 2017.
Watch Ariana Grande in the official music video for the title track from her new studio album Dangerous Woman.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Ariana Grande-Butera was born June 26, 1993, in Boca Raton, Florida. She began singing and acting as a child, appearing in local theater productions. In 2008, she got the role of Charlotte in the Broadway musical “13,” earning a National Youth Theatre Association Award.
* In 2010, Grande’s performance in the musical “Cuba Libre” led to being cast as Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon television series “Victorious.” When the show ended in 2012, Grande's Cat Valentine character was spun off into a show called “Sam & Cat.”
* Grande began to pursue a musical career by performing at sporting events and with symphony orchestras. She first appeared on a record in 2011 when the first soundtrack to “Victorious” debuted on Sony’s Nickelodeon Records.
* A single Grande released in 2011 was quickly disowned by the singer, saying ‘Put Your Hearts Up’ had too much of a kiddie-pop feel. Her 2013 follow up, ‘The Way,’ was much more to her liking. The tune featuring Mac Miller signaled Grande’s evolution as a mature, serious artist.
* ‘The Way’ broke into the Top 10 (No. 9) of the Billboard Hot 100 and went triple-platinum. The song also served as the first single from Yours Truly, Grande’s August 2013 full-length album debut. The set topped the Billboard 200 and scored a second Top 40 (No. 21) hit with follow up single, ‘Baby I.’
* A seasonal EP titled Christmas Kisses was issued in December 2013 as Grande went to work on her second full-length album. The single ‘Problem’ featuring Iggy Azalea preceded the album, My Everything, and became a summer smash hit—peaking at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and eventually going six-times platinum.
* My Everything features a number of producers including Max Martin, Shellback, Ryan Tedder, and Benny Blanco. The August 2014 project was a second consecutive No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, spawning two more Top 5 singles with ‘Break Free’ featuring Zedd and ‘Bang Bang’ featuring Jessie J and Nicki Minaj.
* At one point during 2014, three of Grande’s songs were in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100—a feat matched only by Adele. A fifth single (‘One Last Time’) from My Everything reached No. 13 on the pop chart, and the album was nominated for a Best Pop Vocal Album Grammy Award—selling nearly 700,000 copies to date.