Grande has year of pain, gain

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - ENTERTAINMENT - MES­FIN FEKADU

NEW YORK — Ari­ana Grande capped off a suc­cess­ful year as a pop star — but a try­ing one as a ma­tur­ing young woman — at the 13th an­nual Bill­board Women in Mu­sic event, where she was named Woman of the Year.

The 25-year-old singer was teary-eyed at times dur­ing her ac­cep­tance speech as she re­flected on her year, which in­cluded the end of her re­la­tion­ship with co­me­dian-ac­tor Pete Davidson and the death of her for­mer boyfriend, rap­per Mac Miller. Last year, a bomb­ing at her concert in Manch­ester, Eng­land, killed 22 peo­ple.

“I want to say that I find it in­ter­est­ing that this has been one of the best years in my ca­reer and like the worst of my life,” she told the au­di­ence in New York City at Pier 36 on Thurs­day.

“I feel like a lot of peo­ple would look at some­one in my po­si­tion right now, I guess, like Woman of the Year, an artist that could be at her peak ... and think, ‘She’s re­ally got her (stuff) to­gether. She’s re­ally on it. She’s got it all.’ And I do, but as far as my per­sonal life goes, I re­ally have no idea what the (ex­ple­tive) I am do­ing.”

She added: “It’s been a very con­flict­ing one. I just want to say if you’re some­one out there who has no idea what this next chap­ter is go­ing to bring, you’re not alone in that.”

Grande’s suc­cess­ful year in­cluded an­other No. 1 al­bum, Sweet­ener, as well as mul­ti­ple hits, from No Tears Left to Cry, to God is a Woman, to Breathin. She sang Thank U, Next — her first No. 1 smash on Bill­board’s Hot 100 chart — in front of the au­di­ence in­clud­ing Ali­cia Keys, Dua Lipa, mu­sic ex­ec­u­tives and hon­orees like Cyndi Lau­per and Janelle Monae.

Patti La­Belle praised Grande for her strong vo­cal abil­ity be­fore hand­ing her the award, and the night was full of sim­i­lar mo­ments as women up­lifted one an­other.

Coun­try singer Kacey Mus­graves kicked off the event with a soft per­for­mance and won the In­no­va­tor Award. Monae, who came out as pan­sex­ual this year, re­ceived the Trail­blazer Award and said a fan re­cently told her that lis­ten­ing to her al­bum, Dirty Com­puter, en­cour­aged her to come out to her fam­ily.

“I think mo­ments like those, they re­mind you no mat­ter what’s go­ing in your life, how bad you feel, that by us walk­ing in our truths, it can some­times give the next per­son the courage to walk in theirs,” Monae said.

Bri­tish singer El­lie Goulding hosted the two-our event, where Lau­per was given the Icon Award and was hon­oured by Em­mynom­i­nated per­former Ti­tuss Burgess, who won­der­fully sang True Col­ors. R&B singer SZA, who was the most nom­i­nated woman at this year’s Grammy Awards, re­ceived the Rule Breaker Award, while pop singer Hay­ley Kiyoko per­formed her up­beat song Cu­ri­ous and earned the Ris­ing Star Award.

“I’m go­ing to be cry­ing this whole time. This is my first time get­ting an award on­stage,” Kiyoko said as the au­di­ence got out of their seats to cheer her on. “I’m try­ing to be pro­fes­sional.”

BEN­NETT RAGLIN/GETTY IM­AGES

Ari­ana Grande per­forms at Bill­board’s Women In Mu­sic in New York City, where she was named Woman of the Year.

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