Ariana Grande

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Ariana Grande
ArianaGrandeDecember2013.jpg
Grande performing at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in December 2013
Born Ariana Grande-Butera
(1993-06-26) June 26, 1993 (age 21)
Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.
Education North Broward Preparatory School
Occupation
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active 2008–present
Television
Family Frankie Grande (half-brother)
Musical career
Genres
Instruments Vocals
Labels Republic
Associated acts Big Sean
Website
www.arianagrande.com

Ariana Grande-Butera[1][2] (born June 26, 1993),[3][4] known professionally as Ariana Grande, is an American singer and actress. She began her career singing on a cruise ship, at sporting events and with various orchestras in South Florida. She appeared in the Broadway musical 13, before landing the role of Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon television series Victorious in 2009. After the show ended, Grande rose to prominence as a teen idol on her own spinoff, Sam & Cat, along with iCarly actress Jennette McCurdy.

As she kept herself busy with television, Grande began to pursue a musical career appearing on the soundtrack, Music from Victorious (2011), and subsequently signed a recording contract with Republic Records. She successfully launched a music career after the release of her debut studio album, Yours Truly (2013), which debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. The albums lead single, "The Way", became a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with critics comparing her wide vocal range to Mariah Carey.

Grande developed a maturing image while promoting her second studio album, My Everything (2014), which became her second consecutive number-one album in the United States. The album produced the successful tracks "Problem" and "Break Free". Some of her achievements include New Artist Of The Year at the 2013 American Music Awards, Favorite Breakout Artist at the 40th People's Choice Awards and Breakthrough Artist of the Year by the Music Business Association.

Life and career

1993–2008: Early life and career beginnings

Ariana Grande-Butera was born on June 26, 1993 in Boca Raton, Florida. She is the daughter of Joan Grande, chief executive officer (CEO) of telephone and alarm system company Hose-McCann Communications,[5][6] and Edward Butera, who owns a graphic design firm in Boca Raton.[7] Her name was originally inspired by Princess Oriana from Felix the Cat (1959).[8] She is of Italian descent, "half Sicilian and half Abruzzese,"[9] and has an elder half-brother, Frankie Grande (born c. 1983), who is also an actor, dancer and producer, as well as a contestant on season sixteen of Big Brother.[10] Grande's mother moved with her father from New York to Florida when she was pregnant with her and revealed that her parents split up when she was 8 or 9.[7] Since the age of two, she would attend just about every home game of the NHL hockey team, Florida Panthers, where she was struck by hockey pucks more than once when she was five years old.[11]

As a child, she described herself as being "a very weird little girl" because "I always wanted to have skeleton face paint on or be wearing a Freddy Krueger mask" and that her fifth-birthday party had a Jaws theme.[7] At one point, her mother became concerned for her "dark and deranged" ideas as a child: "There was a stage, when I was 3 or 4, where my mom thought I might grow up to be a serial killer."[12][13] Growing up, Grande performed with the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater,[14] playing her first role as Annie, as well as performing in the musicals The Wizard of Oz and Beauty and the Beast.[15] At the age of 8, she performed at a karaoke lounge on a cruise ship, in various orchestras such as South Florida’s Philharmonic, Florida Sunshine Pops and Symphonic Orchestras, and made her national television debut singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the Florida Panthers.[16] She would also perform in front of her grandparents and attended Pine Crest School, and North Broward Preparatory School.[17][18]

By age 13, she became serious about pursuing her musical career, though she still concentrated on theater at the time.[19] When she first arrived in Los Angeles to meet with her managers, she expressed a desire to record an R&B album when she was 14: "I was like, 'I want to make an R&B album,' They were like 'Um, that’s a helluva goal! Who is going to buy a 14-year-old’s R&B album?!'"[7] In 2008, Grande auditioned and scored her first casting playing the supporting role of cheerleader Charlotte in the kiddie musical 13 on Broadway,[20] for which she won a National Youth Theatre Association Award.[21] When she joined the musical, Grande left her high school, North Broward Preparatory School, but continued to be enrolled. The school sent materials to her so she could study with tutors.[18][22] She also sang various times at the New York City Jazz club Birdland.[3]

2009–12: Breakthrough with Nickelodeon

Grande performing with the Victorious cast, May 2011

In 2009, she auditioned for the Nickelodeon television show Victorious in New York along with 13 co-star Elizabeth Gillies.[23] In this situation-comedy set in a performing arts high school, Grande was cast as Cat Valentine, a classmate and friend of protagonist Tori Vega (Victoria Justice), while Gillies landed the role of the "mean girl", Jade West.[23] "We booked Victorious together which was totally surreal" said Gillies.[23] When she landed the role, Grande had to dye her hair red every other week because the executive producer, Dan Schneider, did not want all cast members to be brunettes.[24] The show began filming on October 5, 2009 and premiered on March 27, 2010 to the second largest audience for a live-action series in Nickelodeon history with 5.7 million viewers.[25][26] The role helped propel Grande to teen idol status, but she was more interested in a music career stating that acting is "fun, but music has always been first and foremost with me."[27] Her character was compared to "Brittany Murphy's performance as the frumpy, hapless Tai in Clueless" (1995) and described as being "very impressionable and easily swayed" but "generally sweet."[28] Season two began filming on October 4, 2010 and premiered right after the 2011 Kids' Choice Awards to 6.2 million viewers on April 2, 2011, becoming highest rated episode of Victorious.[29] In 2010, she played the role of Miriam in the musical Cuba Libre, which was written and produced by songwriter Desmond Child.[18]

After season one of Victorious wrapped, Grande wanted to focus on her music career and began working on her debut album in August 2010.[30] To strengthen her vocal range, she began working with vocal coach Eric Vetro, who also worked with pop singer Katy Perry.[31] She made her first musical appearance on the track "Give It Up" on the soundtrack Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show in August 2011. While filming Victorious, Grande made several recordings of herself singing covers of Adele, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey, and uploaded them on YouTube.[32] A friend of Monte Lipman, CEO of Republic Records, came across one of Grande's videos while searching for videos on YouTube. Impressed with her vocals, he sent Lipman links to YouTube videos of Grande singing and signed her to a recording contract.[7] She released her first single "Put Your Hearts Up," in December which was cut during sessions for a teen-oriented pop album that was held up by numerous delays.[33] Unsatisfied with the direction of her music, she later disowned the track for its bubblegum pop sound and had no interest in recording music of that genre.[33] In 2011, she voiced a fairy, Princess Diaspro, on the Nickelodeon animated television series Winx Club. After six seasons, the role was recast to Cassandra Morris.

Grande in July 2011

A second soundtrack, Victorious 2.0, was released on June 5, 2012 as an extended play.[34] After three seasons, it was announced in August 2012 that Victorious would not be renewed.[35] The final season was split into two parts which premiered in September 2012 and the finale on February 2, 2013. On August 2 Entertainment Weekly announced that Nickelodeon had officially ordered a spin-off pilot starring Jennette McCurdy and Grande.[36] The sitcom titled Sam & Cat, paired Grande and McCurdy together in a traditional "buddy sitcom" setting as roommates who form an after-school babysitting business, while reprising their roles as Cat Valentine from Victorious and McCurdy's iCarly character, Sam Puckett.[37] The show was picked up by the network on November 29, 2012 and premiered on June 8, 2013.[38] The following month, Nickelodeon doubled Sam & Cat's original twenty-episode order for season one, making it a forty-episode season.[39] Despite being a success in the ratings, the series was canceled due to Grande's rising musical career and behind-the-scenes drama, with the final episode airing on July 17, 2014.[40] The third and final soundtrack, Victorious 3.0, was released on November 6, 2012.[41] The music video for the first single, "L.A. Boyz", features Grande and Victoria Justice performing in front of their cast mates during an episode of Victorious.[42] In December 2012, she collaborated on the single version of "Popular Song", a duet with British singer-songwriter Mika.[43] She also starred as Snow White in a pantomime production called A Snow White Christmas, with Charlene Tilton and Neil Patrick Harris, at the Pasadena Playhouse.[44]

2013–present: Yours Truly and My Everything

Grande spent three years recording her debut album, Yours Truly.[45] She completed the album in June 2013, originally titled Daydreamin, and was released on August 30, 2013.[45] In January 2010, it officially debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart—with 138,000 copies sold in its first week—making Grande the first female artist, since Kesha, to have her first album debut atop of the charts—and the fifteenth female artist overall.[46][47] The lead single, "The Way" featuring Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller, debuted at No. 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100,[48] eventually peaking at No. 9 for two weeks,[49] and spent 26 weeks on the Hot 100.[50] Grande was eventually sued by Minder Music for copying the line, "What we gotta do right here is go back, back in time" from the 1972 song "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" by The Jimmy Castor Bunch.[51] Following the release of the album, Billboard magazine ranked Grande at No. 4 on their list of "Music's Hottest Minors 2013", an annual ranking of the most popular musicians under the age of 21.[52] "Baby I" and "Right There", featuring Detroit rapper Big Sean, were also released as singles from the album.[53][54] Both songs managed to chart worldwide, but were not as successful as its predecessor.

Grande performing at the Worldwide Day of Play in September 2013

In the 2013 children's film Swindle, an adaptation of the novel of the same name, Grande played a typical hot cheerleader, Amanda Benson, along with Sam & Cat co-star McCurdy. It premiered on Nickelodeon in August.[55] That same month, she lent her vocals on the duet "Almost Is Never Enough" with Nathan Sykes of the English-Irish boy band The Wanted. She also joined Justin Bieber on his Believe Tour for three shows and kicked off her own headlining tour, The Listening Sessions.[56][57] At the American Music Awards, she won the award for New Artist Of The Year and was the most mentioned artist on Twitter that night.[58][59] A four-song Christmas EP, Christmas Kisses, was released in December 2013.[60]

In January 2014, Grande confirmed reports that recording had begun for her second studio album with singer-songwriter Ryan Tedder, and record producers Benny Blanco and Max Martin.[61][62] The same month, she earned the Favorite Breakout Artist award at the People's Choice Awards 2014.[63] In March 2014, Grande was invited to sing at the White House concert, "Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House".[64][65] The following month, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama invited Grande again to perform at the White House for the Easter Egg Roll event along with collaborator Big Sean.[66] A duet with R&B singer Chris Brown, "Don't Be Gone Too Long", was scheduled for a March 24 release date but was delayed due to Brown's legal problems.[67] In addition, she received the "Breakthrough Artist of the Year" award from the Music Business Association.[63] The award recognizes Grande's achievements throughout 2013, including a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 with her debut album and a top ten single on the Hot 100.[63]

Her second studio album, My Everything was released on August 25 with Rolling Stone magazine writing that "My Everything is where the 21-year-old Nickelodeon starlet grows up. It's a confident, intelligent, brazen pop statement, mixing bubblegum diva vocals with EDM break beats".[68] It sold 169,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200, becoming her second consecutive No. 1 album in the U.S.[69] Its lead single, "Problem", features Australian rapper Iggy Azalea and premiered at the 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards on April 27.[70][71] The song debuted at No. 3 (eventually climbing to No. 2) on the Billboard Hot 100, and debuted at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Grande's first No. 1 single in the United Kingdom.[72] She made British chart history as the first song to land at No. 1 based on sales and streams.[72] The song was noted for being the highest debut ever for a collaboration of female soloists.[73] The second single, "Break Free" featuring German musician and producer Zedd,[74] peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs.[75] She performed the song at the opening of the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, while wining Best Pop Video for her single "Problem."[76] She also provided guest vocals on "Bang Bang" with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, the lead single from Jessie J's upcoming third studio album Sweet Talker (2014).[77] The song reached the top ten in the U.S., making it three songs for Grande in the Hot 100's top ten the same week ("Problem", "Break Free", and "Bang Bang").[75] She joined Adele as the only female artist with three top ten hits simultaneously as a lead artist.[75]

On September 10, it was announced that Grande would be the first musical performer on season 40 of Saturday Night Live—with host Chris Pratt.[78]

Artistry

Voice and music

Grande possesses a four octave light lyric soprano vocal range.[79][80] She has been deemed the "mini Mariah Carey" and the "new Mariah Carey" by critics due to her wide vocal range.[81][82] Grande expressed her feelings towards being compared to Mariah Carey as a "huge compliment" and a "blessing",[83][84] and often cites both Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston as influences for her work.[18][85][86] In another interview, she said: "I mean, it's a huge compliment, but when you hear my entire album, you'll see that Mariah's sound is much different than mine."[83] Her impressive vocal display at the 2013 American Music Awards, earned praise from celebrities like Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga, which saw Grande singing a cappella to her hit "The Way" and a Motown-style performance of "Tattooed Heart."[87] During an interview with Sirius XM, American pop singer Katy Perry praised Grande, saying she has "the best female vocal in pop music today. She has literally the best voice, the best voice live.[88][89]

Her music is generally pop and R&B, and has elements of funk, dance, and hip hop.[90][91] She grew up mainly listening to urban pop and 90s music.[86][90] Her music was originally aimed at young audiences with the bubblegum pop single "Put Your Hearts Up", which was recorded during plans for a teen pop album.[33] Yours Truly is described as being half a "throwback" to the R&B music of the 1990s, and Grande describes the second half as "something that is very unique and very special that I've sort of written" which is completely original. In summation of the record, she stated: "So half of it is a throwback and like very familiar feeling, feel good, and then half of it is something that I've created that's sort of special and unique and refreshing and wonderful and I love it".[92] Her doo-wop-inspired debut album was complimented for recreating the R&B "vibe and feel of the 90s," with the help of nineties R&B hit maker Babyface.[93] The follow-up My Everything (2014), is described as an evolution from her first album with a new sound exploring EDM and electropop genres.[68]

Influences

"I love Mariah Carey. She is literally my favorite human being on the planet. And of course Whitney [Houston] as well. As far as vocal influences go, Whitney and Mariah pretty much cover it. I love Fergie as well. She's just so fun and passionate. I love that she raps as well. Like, she has a fantastic voice and she can belt Gs and As and she doesn’t have to do it all the time. She just has swag and I think that's really cool."

— Grande, on her musical influences.[85]

Grande has cited Cuban-American star Gloria Estefan as the person who inspired her to pursue a career in the music industry, after Estefan complimented a performance she saw Grande give on a cruise ship when she was eight years old.[94] Grande cites Whitney Houston as a major influence on her career, stating that Houston has inspired her "endlessly" since she was a child.[95] Grande also described Houston as the reason why she began singing, as well as citing Brandy Norwood as an influence, noting her "riffs" in particular.[96]

She has also cited Madonna, Destiny's Child, Fergie, Christina Aguilera, India.Arie, Imogen Heap, and Amy Winehouse as influences.[83][85][86][97] Grande also references Big Sean, with whom she is good friends, as her favorite rapper.[90][98] Grande's debut album was inspired by artists like Amy Winehouse, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, and Madonna, with unreleased collaborations with SkyBlu of LMFAO, 3OH!3, Kool Kojak, and Pebe Sebert.[99][100][101] She named Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey and Beyonce as female artist she tried to channel during the three years it took to create the record and described them as "super-confident women".[102]

Grande described Imogen Heap as one of her major influences. Taking influence from Heap's "intricate" song structure, she also cites India Arie as an influence, calling Arie's voice "heaven" and praising her lyrical content.[96] She has described actress and singer Judy Garland as being one of her childhood influences, stating that she grew up watching and listening to Garland and praising her technique of "storytelling."

Public image

Grande's pristine look is often described as "age appropriate" compared to other pop stars who grew up in the public eye.[103] The Daily News feels like Grande receives less attention "for how little she wears or how graphically she moves than for how she sings."[104] In contrast to other young female artists like Miley Cyrus, Iggy Azalea, and Rihanna, Grande expressed that she wants people to listen to her music "instead of look and judge": "I don’t feel confident in my sexuality — or in my fashion, It’s just not in my mind. I think of music first."[104] She revealed that she loves wearing skinny jeans with crop tops and babydoll tank tops, as well as "girly floral corsets and peplum shirts."[105] During performances, she opts to wear short skirts and crop tops with her signature white knee-high boots.[106] She has been known for sporting several different pairs of her signature go-go boots on stage and red carpets, which led MTV to state, "It's because we're pretty sure she's morphing into a 2014 Nancy Sinatra," who is widely known for her signature song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (1966).[107][108] Grande's stylist, Brigitte Pilla, custom-designs many of her stage costumes, including her leather black-and-white checkered dress with the matching knee-high boots.[109] The stylist also picks up her stage costumes at a sex shop. Grande was shocked when she found out, but said, "I can’t complain because the dresses look really good on stage."[110]

Her signature ponytail hairstyle became an overwhelming fan input on the social media, which led Grande to explain on her Instagram that playing the role of Cat Valentine on Victorious "completely destroyed my hair" because "I had to bleach my hair and dye it red every other week for the first four years."[111] Grande also revealed that she wears extensions in a pony tail and prefers to have brown hair.[111][102] On the red carpet, she usually opts for mini-dresses with girly prints and colors.[112] With the release of her debut album, Yours Truly (2013), Grande became frequently compared to Mariah Carey for her vocal range, sound, and musical material.[113] Speaking on the comparisons, Billboard wrote, "that's not where the similarities end. [...] Grande is subverting it with cute, comfortable, and on-trend dresses with a feminine slant."[103] Steven J. Horowitz of Billboard feels that it is time to stop comparing Grande to Carey stating, "With her sophomore album, the "Problem" singer no longer resembles the elusive chanteuse – and that's okay."[113]

Philanthropy

At the age of ten, Grande co-founded the South Florida youth singing group Kids Who Care, which performed for charitable fund-raising events, raising over $500,000 for charities in 2007 alone.[18] In the summer of 2009, as a member of the charitable organization Broadway in South Africa, Grande performed and taught music and dance to children in Gugulethu, South Africa along with her brother Frankie.[4][114][115] Grande also partnered with Kleenex on its "Shield Sneeze Swish" campaign.[116] After watching Blackfish, she urged fans to stop supporting SeaWorld.[117]

She was featured on Seventeen magazine in a March 2013 public campaign "Delete Digital Drama" to end online bullying along with Bridgit Mendler and Kat Graham.[118] In September 2014, Grande participated at the charitable Stand Up to Cancer television program, performing the title track "My Everything" in dedication to her grandfather, who had died from cancer in July.[119]

Personal life

She was in a relationship with Jai Brooks, a member of the Australian YouTube group The Janoskians, from August 2012 to July 2013.[120][121][122] On May 1, 2014, Grande was photographed kissing Brooks and confirmed that they were back together.[123] On August 5, 2014, Grande was reported to have split with Brooks for the second time.[124]

Grande is a vegan and has adopted four dogs.[125][126][127] She was raised a Roman Catholic but abandoned Christianity after Pope Benedict reportedly labeled homosexuality and working women as sins.[128] Grande stated, "I lost faith when the Pope decided to tell me that everything I loved and believed in was wrong. I needed something else to believe in." She has since started following Kabbalah's teachings, believing "the basis lies in the idea that if you're kind to others, good things will happen to you."[129][130]

On July 5, 2014, Grande halted her plans when she heard that her grandfather was dying and went to be by his side. Her grandfather died twenty days later, and she received supportive messages on her Twitter page from her manager Scooter Braun, Jennette McCurdy, and other fans.[131]

Discography

Filmography

Stage

  • 13 (2008)
  • Cuba Libre (2012)[18]
  • A Snow White Christmas (2012)[132]

Tours

Headlining

Opening act

Awards and nominations

See also

References

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