On love, life in the limelight, and her Next Big Year
She’s gone from Broadway to TV star, and on to one of the biggest names in music – Ariana Grande proves that she gets bigger and brighter from strength to strength. Both her albums – Yours Truly and
My Everything – debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, she had four songs in the Billboard Top 10 simultaneously, spent seven weeks at the number one spot of the Billboard Social 50 charts, and won some 30-something industry awards for her songs like “Bang Bang”, “Problem”, and “One Last Time”. With a rumoured third album on the way, she’s currently starring in an all-new TV series Scream Queens alongside Emma Roberts and Kiki Palmer. A self-professed “sailor mouth” (she cusses a lot), Ariana admits to still being a little shy. The soft-spoken artist is passionate about being a positive influence on her fans. She interacts with them through social media, and has been nominated and won awards for her social media activity. Hailed as one of pop culture’s favourite style icons, Ariana maintains that although she loves fashion, it isn’t something she pays much attention to. “I don’t feel confident in my sexuality or my fashion; it’s just not on my mind – I think of music first.” In a sit-down with #teamCLEO, Ariana talks about living in the limelight, going head to head with Michael Jackson on the music charts, and her idea of romance.
Give us a short history – who is Ariana Grande?
I’m from Boca Raton, Florida. I love the beach, animals, musical theatre, R&B and pop music. I love my friends and family, and I’m mildly socially awkward but slowly getting better. I enjoy life, and live for the moment.
You seem to have taken the music world by storm. Is there a master plan behind this? Do you have a big team or are you on your own?
Thank you, I have a very intimate team. I don’t have too many people that I trust with everything ... I like to make sure the people I work with are very trustworthy and very fun, with the purest of intentions and everything like that.
How do you feel about being the only person since Michael Jackson to have three songs in the US Top 6 simultaneously?
It’s insane – just hearing that is bizarre. Obviously it’s more than a dream come true – because I never dreamt that I would be capable of making music that would be received like this. I’m very appreciative and grateful, and can’t wait to do more.
When was the moment as a girl you said “I want to be a singer. I want to be world famous”?
I always loved music, performing, and making people laugh, but I love singing first and foremost. My grandma was
the one who actually told me, “You have a gift; you need to start auditioning for things and make a life out of this.”
What do you like most about the music business?
What I like the most about it is just making music. I’m very grateful to be at a point in my career where I have freedom and work with artists that I’ve admired for many years.
What was it like working with Jessie J?
Working with her and Nicki (Minaj) on “Bang Bang” was mind-blowing! I’m a humungous fan of both of them. There are videos online of me singing and rapping along to their songs. It’s so embarrassing but still hilarious.
How do you deal with your Facebook and Twitter connections with your fans?
I definitely take a lot of time out of my day to go on Twitter, sort of talk to my loves and say hi. I’ll go through my DMs and talk to my fans for a bit. I have a close relationship with my fans – they’re like my friends. I know them very well, and they know me very well.
Are there any downsides to your fame, like trolls or stalkers?
There have been a few trolls online but I try not to pay too much mind. I don’t like to acknowledge negativity. As far as the whole stalker thing – somebody jumped my fence and was in my backyard. I wasn’t home but it was a kind of scary to hear about it.
Has fame changed how you handle your lifestyle?
No, unfortunately not – I wish! I don’t have a filter, and I always try to keep it as real as possible. Sometimes I forget and go outside in my pyjamas, only to see a bunch of photos of me at the grocery store the next day. It’s weird, but I have to get used to it.
Do you keep fit?
Well, I eat carefully – I’ve been vegan for almost a year. Also, I dance a lot. I’m constantly performing – it never stops! That being said, I do eat a lot, so it’s kind of surprising that it doesn’t add on to me.
What’s romantic to you?
For a hopeless romantic like me, it’s going to the beach at night, having late-night adventures, snuggling up and watching movies, making music, or having a glass of wine.
Do you ever worry about things you’ve done in the past?
I did so many embarrassing videos when I was younger, mostly ones I filmed at home – we had a Youtube television series, called Freaky Forever, which we took really seriously. That was like our whole pre-teen life – that was everything. Some of them are just so embarrassing but, you know, you have to embrace your past.
Were your parents always supportive of you?
Yeah! When I first told my mum that I wanted to audition for Broadway shows, she thought I was crazy. But I pushed for it, and she was like “Okay, if that’s what you want, then I’ll do my best to support you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you when sh*t gets crazy.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from your family or friends?
I think the most important thing is something that my grandpa told me before he passed away.
He said, “Baby doll, there’s going to be a point in your career when you’re doing your best and people will want to make you look bad, or fight with you. All I can tell you is don’t fight back. You just say ‘okay’, shake their hands, and keep your head held high. Don’t let negativity derail you, ever, because then they would’ve won. You just need to keep doing your best.”