Ariana Grande to perform at Barbara Berlanti Heroes Cancer Gala

Update: Ariana was unfortunately forced to pull out of the show just hours before due to emotional reasons. Here’s what Scooter Braun said addressing the situation.

“And you saw your invite, someone I’m very close to was supposed to come sing for you today, and because of things that she’s going through, she couldn’t be here today.”

He concluded, “And while I was frustrated, being the manager, my wife, being who she always is, just looked at me and she goes, ‘She needs this time.'”


On November 5th, nonprofit group Fuck Cancer has announced the celebrity lineup for the inaugural Barbara Berlanti Heroes Gala, which will take place at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles on Oct. 13. Pop star Ariana Grande and Broadway favorite Kristin Chenoweth are set to perform at the event, as well as comedian Jeff Garlin and surprise guests.

This isn’t the first time Grande and Chenoweth are supporting a cancer-fighting cause, being that the disease has affected both their lives. Grande’s aunt and grandfather, and Chenoweth’s mother and aunts, have all experienced the damaging effects of cancer.

The organization, which endeavors to ensure patients and their families have the support they need, will use funds raised at the gala for programs created to provide resources and reduce cancer.

Source: billboard.com

VIDEO: Ariana Grande releases “breathin” video starring her pet pig

On October 10th, Ariana Grande surprised released a music video to breathin, the third single off of her album Sweetener. The album is not what we have expected, as the whole video is of her pet pig, Piggy Smallz, whom she has recently adopted. She explains in a response to a fan on Instagram:

Check out the music video below!

VOTE: Ariana Grande is nominated at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards

On October 4th, the nominations for the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards have been released, and Ariana Grande is nominated for 5 AWARDS! Check out the categories she is nominated for.

Best US Act
Ariana Grande
Camila Hair 
Cardi B 
Imagine Dragons 
Post Malone

Best Artist 
Ariana Grande
Camila Hair 
Drake 
Dua Lipa 
Post Malone

Best Video 
Ariana Grande – “no tears left to cry”
Camila Cabello – “Havana” feat. Young Thug 
Childish Gambino – “This Is America” 
Lil Dicky – “Freaky Friday” feat. Chris Brown 
The Carters – “APES ** T”

Best Song
Ariana Grande – “no tears left to cry”
Bebe Rexha – “Mean To Be” feat. Florida Georgia Line 
Camila Cabello – “Havana” feat. Young Thug 
Drake – “God’s Plan” 
Post Malone – “Rockstar” feat. 21 Savage

Best Pop 
Ariana Grande
Camila Hair 
Dua Lipa 
Hailee Steinfeld 
Shawn Mendes

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

Voting ends on November 12th, 2018!

The 2018 MTV EMAs will be held at the Bizkaia Arena (Bilbao Exhibition Centre) in Barakaldo, near Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain, on November 4th 2018.

Ariana Grande performs at BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge

On September 5th, Ariana Grande went to perform at BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge in London. Along with performing God Is A Woman and R.E.M., she performed a cover of Them Changes by Thundercat. Check out the performances below!

Ariana Grande performs at Capital FM’s Up Close

On September 4th, Ariana performed at Capital Up Close at the KOKO Camden in London, England, a showcase concert hosted by Capital FM for fans to see their favourite artist perform. Check out photos and videos below!

Backstage

Performance

Ariana Grande invited to perform at Aretha Franklin’s funeral

On August 28th, it was announced that Ariana Grande will be among the performers who will pay tribute to Aretha Franklin at her funeral Friday.

Grande will be among entertainers Steve Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Faith Hill, Shirley Caesar, Chaka Khan and more. Franklin’s rep, Gwendolyn Quinn, says Franklin met Grande when the two performed at the White House in 2014 for then President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as part of the “Women of Soul” concert. Quinn says Franklin enjoyed meeting Grande at the time. Franklin’s family was moved by Grande’s performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” after Franklin’s Aug. 16 death.

Grande performed the song with The Roots on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Besides performers, speakers include former President Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson.

Source: billboard.com

Ariana Grande talks Sweetener and performs “God Is A Woman” on Good Morning America

On August 22nd, Ariana Grande had an interview with Good Morning America. She also performed an acoustic version of God Is A Woman! Ariana talks about her newest album Sweetener, her engagement with Pete Davidson, and how she plans on going on tour in the beginning of next year.

Check out the videos below!

5 Years Of Ariana Today!

5 Years. Half a decade.

The whole year running this site has been the biggest year for Ariana Today, and Ariana herself. It has been another amazing year updating as the #1 Ariana Grande fansite, and we couldn’t have done it without all of you.

It’s been 5 years, and I have never grown out of the endless support that you’ve all shown. With all of the success Sweetener has accomplished, I’ve never been more proud of Ariana especially with all that she’s been through.

Throughout all of the darkness and failures, she fought with kindness and light, and thus conquered against evil, making one of the biggest steps in the world and showing us how strong love is. This is another testament of why I’ve made a fansite for this woman 5 years ago.

A big shoutout to my good friends Marie (@bemybabydlx) and Darius (@tattooedreams) and our newest member and long time friend Matt (@shookgrande) for helping me run the fan page with nearly 200,000 followers, as these updates would be non-existent without their contributions.

Thank you Savan, Ariana’s team, family and friends (yes you too Kiyan, if you’re reading this), for showing love and acknowledging us. Lastly, thank you Ariana for constantly stalking our tweets and noticing us. We love all of you!

Can’t wait to enjoy another year with y’all. Don’t forget to stream Sweetener! 😉

Ryan

Ariana Grande performs at the Sweetener Sessions in Los Angeles, CA (08/25)

On August 25th, Ariana performed at the third Sweetener Sessions in Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel Theatre! Check out the photos and videos below!

Backstage/Meet & Greet

Show

Breathin
Only 1
Sweetener
Successful
Blazed
Goodnight N Go
Be My Baby
Everytime
R.E.M.
Borderline
Better Off
Pete Davidson
God Is A Woman
No Tears Left To Cry
Get Well Soon
Raindrops

Ariana Grande performs at the Sweetener Sessions in Chicago, IL (08/22)

On August 22nd, Ariana performed at the first Sweetener Sessions in Chicago, IL at the Vic Theatre! Check out the photos and videos below!

Meet & Greet

Show


Raindrops
Blazed
Goodnight N Go
Honeymoon Avenue
Everytime
Sweetener
Successful
Pete Davidson
Better Off
Breathin
God Is A Woman
Scooter announcing Sweetener’s #1
God Is A Woman
R.E.M
Get Well Soon
No Tears Left To Cry
Be Alright
Right There
Tattooed Heart
Be My Baby
Best Mistake
Break Your Heart Right Back
One Last Time

Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ debuts at #1 on the Billboard 200

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 1-dated chart (where Sweetener launches at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s websites on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Grande’s Third No. 1: Sweetener is Grande’s third leader on the Billboard 200, following the chart-topping debuts of her second album, My Everything (Sept. 13, 2014), and her debut effort, Yours Truly (Sept. 21, 2013). Of her four full-length studio sets, only her third release, Dangerous Woman, missed the top. It debuted and peaked at No. 2 on June 11, 2016 (stuck behind Grande’s labelmate, Drake, with his blockbuster album Views, which was in its fourth of 14 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1).

‘Sweetener’ Surpasses ‘Dangerous’: With Sweetener’s start of 231,000 units, it beats the bow of Grande’s last album, Dangerous Woman. The latter entered the chart at No. 2 with 175,000 units.

Second Biggest Week of 2018 for a Woman: Sweetener secures the second-largest week for an album by a woman in 2018. Only Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy launched with a larger figure: 255,000 units (No. 1, April 21-dated chart). Thus, Sweetener also has the biggest week for a pop album by a woman. Speaking of pop albums by women…

Largest Streaming Week Ever for a Pop Album by a Woman: Sweetener’s songs collected 126.7 million on-demand audio streams in its debut frame — the largest streaming week for a pop album by a woman. It’s also the biggest streaming week for any non-hip-hop effort by a womanSweetener is the rare pop album that performed strongly on streaming services — generally rap albums post big streaming numbers in comparison to other genres.

Source: Billboard.com

Ariana Grande talks “Sweetener” with Troye Sivan for PAPER Magazine

On August 23rd, Ariana and Troye Sivan had a conversation with PAPER Magazine totalk about Sweetener and their lives as musicians Check it out below!


PAPER: How do you view Sweetener in relation to 2016’s Dangerous Woman, which felt like such a liberated, sexually powerful, feminist album?

Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman is a part of who I am, and of course, there’s a still a little bit of her in Sweetener, with “God Is a Woman,” and with “Borderline” — definitely with those two records. But this record is way more feel-good, and I wanted to make people feel really good when they listen to this. The thing that my friends say when they listen to this album is, “This feels like the girl we hang out with.” When they listen they’re like, “This is our friend.” You know what I mean?

Troye Sivan: Yeah, well, I want to just mention one specific song. The one… what’s it’s fucking called? It’s the one with all of the vocal layers [sings].

AG: “Get Well Soon”?

TS: Okay, so that shook me to my core. You did that one with Pharrell [Williams], right? And I had never heard you sing like something that… that I think is the most personal thing I’ve ever heard you sing. It just felt so real and… I don’t know, just like really really, really personal and down to earth.

AG: Really?

TS: I feel like that song is going to mean so much to so many people. And so, what do you think that shift to writing something as personal as that means? Did you have more of a hand in the writing room or was it with Pharrell? How did you arrive to something as vulnerable as that? Because that’s scary in a writing room to be that vulnerable.

AG: First of all, thank you and I love you so much with my whole heart. But overall, [Pharrell] kind of forced it out of me, because I was in a really bad place mentally. I’ve always had anxiety, I’ve had anxiety for years. But when I got home from tour it reached a very different, intense peak. It became physical and I was not going out at all, and I felt like I was outside my body. I’d have these spells every now and then where I felt like I was having déjà vu, but like 24/7 for three months at a time. It was really weird, and all that was on my mind. [Pharrell] was like, “You have to write about it. You need to make this into music and get this shit out, and I promise it will heal you.” And it definitely helped. It still took me a few weeks to feel better, but looking back at it now from a healthier place, it’s probably one of the most important songs I’ll ever write.

TS: Damn. Well, you should be so proud of that song. I feel like it punched me in the gut. As far as some of the other tracks, you went back and you worked with the whole Max [Martin] crew, like Savan Kotecha and everyone. Why? What attracted you to them? I know they’re like family, but what do you think makes them so good?

AG: They’re very different to me and we’ve had a great history together. We’ve had a lot of really dope experiences together. And I knew that they would be down for the challenge of making songs for Sweetener. So when I finished up everything with Pharrell, and we had discovered this new delicious world that is Sweetener, I brought everything over to them and was like, “Yo, I would love to have you guys be a part of this, but it has to feel this fresh.” And we challenged each other. I think my favorite part about working with them is that they’re open to me being like, “Try this weird thing,” or, “Why don’t we modulate it,” or, “Try this weird ’90s chord progression that you probably haven’t played since ’98 Max Martin.”

TS: Right.

AG: But you know, I think them being so open and willing to experiment with me is what made this so special and kind of like, me being in the middle with Pharrell and two of the best producers in the world, who are both so successful in their own right, and seeing them, having both of them involved in my project is the craziest thing in the world to me. I feel like a princess. I feel like a true pop princess.

TS: It’s literally the coolest thing. I swear I’m not just saying this, but I feel like everything I’ve heard from the album feels really uniquely you. Like, there’s some like kooky stuff on there and then there’s like old stuff which is so good, and then the Pharrell stuff is so incredible.

AG: [Laughs] That’s so funny, you know me…

TS: Like “The Light Is Coming” is the kookiest song.

AG: It’s such a kooky song.

TS: And so are you! And I love that and I feel like I can feel that in the music. It’s like, I love albums where I can hear the artist’s perspective not only in the voice but… it’s just so unique. Like those ’90s chord progressions are so you in my head. Or like, “No Tears” to me, it’s a pop song with such perspective and again, not just vocally, but production-wise. it just really, really works, so well done.

AG: Yay! thank you.

PAPER: Ariana, do you think this record is more personal than anything you’ve released before?

AG: It’s definitely more personal. You know, I feel like Dangerous Woman was a grown-up My Everything, and this is a grown-up Yours Truly. And with all due respect to My Everything and Dangerous Woman, I feel like I played the game a lot on those two albums. I wanted to make dope records that would put me in a place where I could then make whatever the fuck I wanted. I kind of played the game a little bit. All my favorite songs from those two albums are not the singles, like they aren’t at all. Like literally.

TS: [Laughs] I need to play that game.

AG: [Laughs] I love you so much, no you don’t. You’re perfect, you’re killing it, you’re crushing it. But, I feel like this is a more grown up Yours Truly. If that makes sense. Whereas like…

TS: Totally.

AG: I don’t know if that makes any sense, am I insulting my own work? I don’t think so, because I really like it all. But this just feels closer to home, you know what I mean? It feels like now the mask is off, let’s talk.

TS: When people ask me about you, by the way I’m doing so much promo, and everyone just wants to know everything about you and —

AG: That’s so cute.

TS: And of course I always tell them that you’re incredible. But one thing that I always tell people is that you love your fans — like you’re obsessed with your fans. And it feels like you guys have a really special relationship and especially with your LGBTQ fans. And then when we hang out, I notice that your crew and everything, your family, who you keep around you feels really queer to me in a really cool way.

AG: They are!

TS: And I wanted to ask about your relationship with the LGBTQ community, like where that comes from, cause you get it. I don’t know, it just feels very genuine. Where did that come from? Is that because of Frankie [Grande] or have you always been like that? Is that from being in the theater.

AG: I don’t know! Because I’ve always been attracted to and I guess, brought joy by very gay things. I always have, even before I knew my brother was gay, and I thought — this is probably the most ridiculous thing you’ll ever hear — but there was a time in my life when I thought Frankie might be straight and during that time, my favorite movie was To Wong Foo, you know what I mean? I don’t know where it comes from, but the movies my mom played in the house when I was a little girl, or the music we listened to, or the artists my mom idolized… I grew up in a very eccentric, interesting household, and I guess it was super gay even before we knew Frankie was gay.

TS: Right.

AG: I mean when Frankie came out, everyone was like, “Okay, you wanna go to dinner?”

TS: What does it mean to you now, as far as your relationship with [the LGBTQ] community? All of my friends, who are almost all gay, are really obsessed with you. “Be Alright” was one of the gayest songs I’ve ever heard —

AG: Well thank you, it’s an honor and it makes me so happy. There’s nothing, I swear to god, honest to god, knock me out, I swear on my life, more rewarding than seeing sweet little gays in the audience moving along to my choreography, or a drag queen coming into my meet-and-greet with like a 40 pound ponytail and thigh-high boots. It’s the most fulfilling, like it makes my heart scream. It’s the best reward.

TS: I also want to touch on the thigh-high boots and the ponytail.

AG: You’re really good at this!

TS: [Laughs] Right, how good am I? So I was with you right before you did your British Vogue shoot, which is my favorite photoshoot of yours ever. And you were pretty nervous, why? Now that your fashion and your personal style has changed, do you feel more confident to mess around with stuff this time? Where are you at with personal style and fashion?

AG: I’m down to mess around and try on things. I love fashion, but I hate it. Like I think it’s really cool and really dope, but then as soon as someone’s trying to put me in something weird I’m like, “Alright relax, calm down, this is extra.” [Laughs] Like I have my things I love, I have my comfort zone. I think that fashion should be more of a self-expression thing as opposed to a trend thing. To me, when I feel really dope and I have an outfit on that makes me really happy that’s so much better.

TS: I also wanted to ask about Nicki Minaj. Because I have never met her, and I want to know what she’s like!

AG: She is my sister, and I have so much respect for that woman because she puts up with a lot of shit. And I think she is one of the greatest rappers of all time, male or female. It’s kind of wild that people still try to discredit her and question what she’s done and accomplished. Everything that she does is spectacular. You can’t listen to a Nicki Minaj verse and be like, “Eh.” You just can’t. She has a gift and she is a spectacular artist. But I think as a human being, there is the most beautiful soul underneath this really badass exterior. And it’s really an honor to know that girl, cause she’s really tight and I love her.

TS: She is so, so talented. I still know every single word to Pink Friday. I had a moment where I was really, really obsessed.

PAPER: Speaking of collaborations, what was it like collaborating on “Dance To This” off Troye’s new album, Bloom?

AG: Wait, can I start?

TS: Yeah, go for it.

AG: Okay cool. I am obsessed with you. I think you are everything that pop music needs and I think your stage presence and your voice and your aesthetic and literally everything about your artistry is so divine, and I have been the biggest fan of you since forever. When you asked me to be on “Dance To This,” before I’d even listened I was like, “I know it’s already going to be tight.” I was so excited and so honored. But artistry aside, you’re literally my favorite little bean. You’re the cutest. I wish we could hang out more, but you’re always doing promo and you’re never home for more than like three seconds. But I love you a lot, and that’s all. Okay bye.

TS: I feel like we’re literally doing wedding vows. That is so sweet, thank you so much.

AG: [Laughs] My bad.

TS: Obviously I feel like your voice speaks for itself, but musically it’s a no-brainer that I think that you’re literally a legend in the making and I feel like you have nothing to worried about, you’re going to be remembered for the rest of time. So that’s totally chill and cool and awesome. But the thing that gets me about — and I’m gonna stop speaking directly to you because I’m showering you with compliments and I’m sure it’s making you uncomfortable — the thing that gets me about Ariana Grande is that I feel like you are so real. I’ve had a really hard time — real talk — making friends in America, because I feel like people do things differently than in Australia. And I’ve had a hard time adjusting, and to me, you are one of the only people that I have met, where I feel like I get this girl, and she gets me. As a friend, I totally, totally cherish that and am so thankful to know you and so thankful that you’re on my song. And it’s just wild, it’s crazy.

AG: Wow! That’s so sweet.

TS: [Laughs] So I feel like literally we just got married.

AG: We did!

PAPER: Since you’re talking about the LGBTQ community, do you both feel like you’re connected to a movement of young people who are pushing for social change?

AG: I think both of us are. The thing that I think is so dope about Troye is that you say something. I feel like we’re both in a position where we don’t have to say shit, if we don’t want to really? We could just perform and entertain and that’s it, and take a bow, and on to Portugal or wherever. But you know, it’s really dope to see my friend not only killing it musically and on the stage, but also you make people feel so good and accepted, and you say something.

TS: With everything that’s going on in the world, I just feel like it’s more important than ever that — we can’t make political change necessarily, or anything like that, all we can really do as artists is make people feel heard and understood. I think that we’re both trying our very best to do that, and I know that you’re doing an incredible job of doing that and I’m just trying my best and I think that’s really, really important.

PAPER: Earlier, Ariana, you were saying how you previously played the game and Troye joked that he needs to do that too. What advice would you give Troye to achieve the level of success that you have?

AG: Oh god, I don’t know! That’s such a hard question, because I wouldn’t do anything any differently. I’m obsessed with your work, and you’re killing it. Like you’re doing all the promo, you’re going to be exhausted for the next two years, you’re going to be doing the whole thing and traveling everywhere, you’re not going to know what day it is, you’re not going to know where you are, and you’ll wake up in a strange country. Everything you’re doing right now is exactly what you should be doing. You’re making the best music you could possibly be making, you’re kind to your fans. People don’t realize how exhausting what Troye’s doing right now is. It’s what I did two years ago or three years ago when I put out My Everything and Yours Truly. Those first two album cycles might as well kill you. It’s pretty much as close to dead as you’ll ever be, and I think a lot of people don’t realize how tough it is.

So I think the fact that every time I FaceTime Troye and he’s not crying or having a mental breakdown speaks to how dope and resilient you are and how long you’re going to stick around. Because when I was you, doing what you’re doing right now, I didn’t know where I was, what day it was, just onto the next city. Like, I don’t know what I’m wearing today, I don’t know what version of “Problem” I’m singing today, but my ass is here and I’m tired, I don’t know when the last time I ate was. So I think you’re killing it and I think you’re doing everything perfectly. And I can’t wait for you to be home for more than 10 minutes at a time. It’s going to be really dope and we’re going to have a lot of fun.

What would you both do career-wise if you weren’t performers or musicians?

TS: I often thought that I would love to be a graphic designer, or I would want to be maybe a drugs and alcohol counselor.

AG: That’s so dope. I’m obsessed with you.

TS: What about you?

AG: My remaining two [dream Broadway roles] are Elfie in Wicked and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. But I think I would either be on Broadway or I’d be writing songs for other people or producing, doing vocal producing or vocal arranging. I love harmonies. But if it had to be nothing in music or entertainment whatsoever, I’d probably be running my mom’s company.

TS: Slay, yes. I want to ask about the move to New York! What’s that been like?

AG: It’s been really, really, really, really fun and I’m really happy. I think the people who are closest to me are blown away because everyday they see pictures of me walking around with my friends and using the front door and walking around New York City and smiling and I seem okay, and that’s really different. I’ve only been in hotels and venues for the past, I guess three or four years, or at my house. So, yeah that’s been crazy. It’s either house, studio, like there was one sushi restaurant I would go to in LA, and then I’ve been touring and in hotels for the past four years. So going out and not having any anxiety — well, less anxiety — but living closer to all my friends and being in love and having a new dope place and being close to my family… I love New York. I thought I hated New York, but I actually love it.

TS: Obviously, I’m personally bummed because I live in LA, and that means we don’t get to see each other as often but I come to New York like once a month so I’ll see you.

AG: Yeah, but you’re never home! So it doesn’t matter. We can have this conversation when you’re not on tour for like 70 years.

TS: [Laughs] Fair enough.

PAPER: Ariana, you’re now engaged, which is a huge life-change. Do you feel very different? How will this be reflected in your work?

AG: I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I guess the only way it would reflect in my work is like, when I write songs about [Pete]. I have an interlude in my album called “Pete Davidson” because I didn’t know what else to call it. I played it for Tyler, the Creator and he was like, “I guess that title makes sense because if I wrote a song about how much I loved waffles and syrup I’d call it ‘Waffles and Syrup.'” But I don’t think it’s gonna affect my work. He’s really supportive and just a positive thing all around in my life.

PAPER: Both of you are such sensations on the Internet. Do you follow all that madness?

AS: Not really, because I don’t want to see things that my fans didn’t make cause I get nervous. Sometimes I’ll scare myself when I see myself somewhere I’m not expecting to see myself. But some of them are really funny.

TS: Actually in general, you’re super caught up with Internet culture though. You’re so fucking funny online, I love it.

PAPER: Do you think that how you are on the Internet is the same as how you are in real life?

AG: It’s hard because I have to walk this line between being 100% myself and authentic with my fans, and being real, upfront and truthful with them. Because they, to me, are my friends, like I have grown up with them, I know their faces and names, I know stories about them, I know conversations we’ve had. And that’s a really real thing to me. I take our relationship super seriously and I cherish them. But also, I’m reminded all the time that everything I say will make waves, and people will make it into ridiculous stories and it’s kind of bullshit because I really want to be able to have that friendship with them. There are people who try to twist it, and then my fans get upset at that and it’s just this chain of things. I have to be careful, but I would say that what you see is what you get, I’m pretty honest, I’m pretty authentic. I try to keep it real, because who the fuck cares?

PAPER: Troye, is this giving you any ideas? Will this be a double wedding?

TS: Oh god no, not for another like 10 years. For the longest time I thought marriage wasn’t something for me, because I’m gay. And so it’s taking a second to readjust my mindset where it’s something that could happen one day.

PAPER: Ariana, might Troye be a flowergirl or a bridesmaid?

AG: Oh, I mean absolutely. Troye, you can choose your role. I would love for you to be a bridesmaid, though.

TS: Can I just say, Ariana’s birthday party was this very mellow, chill dinner that got so fucking crazy and lit that I think this wedding is going to be the craziest thing in the entire world, it’s going to be so much fun.

AG: [Laughs] At that restaurant and there were like four people…

TS: Oh my god, I’m going to get down with your mum.

AG: We literally turned this tiny Japanese restaurant that’s the size of a closet into a fucking bar mitzvah. Funniest shit in the world.

PAPER: Ariana, do you think you’ll be able to party at your wedding? Will you be worried that everything’s going right, or will you be able to have the best time of your life?

AG: Oh, I have no idea. All I know is that I’m happy with Pete, that’s all I really care about.

Source: PaperMag.com

Songwriter Savan Kotecha talks about the making of “Sweetener”

On August 23rd, Ariana’s songwriter Savan Kotecha’s interview with Vulture was posted! He talks about the making of Sweetener. Check it out below!


In his impressive career as a pop songwriter and producer, Savan Kotecha has helped craft some of the biggest radio hits of the last decade. The bulk of One Direction’s discography, including their career-making debut “What Makes You Beautiful?” was written by Kotecha. The Weeknd’s groovy 2015 signature “Can’t Feel My Face?” Kotecha helped write that one too. Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling in Love,” Maroon 5’s “One More Night” and Demi Lovato’s “Cool for the Summer?” He was part of those too. But Kotecha has perhaps worked most closely with Ariana Grande, helping concoct a string of her hits: “Problem,” “Love Me Harder,” “One Last Time,” “Into You” and “Break Free,” just to name a few. So it stands to reason that Grande would call on Kotecha to help concoct the songs for what would become her fourth album, Sweetener. Alongside the legendary pop mastermind Max Martin and producer Ilya, the team crafted four of the album’s standout tracks, including recent singles “No Tears Left to Cry” and the anthem “God Is a Woman.” Here, Kotecha breaks down the stories behind the songs: including studio therapy sessions, fruitful 11th-hour additions, and how working with Grande creatively reinvigorated him.

You recently posted on Instagram about how, just a year ago, you were in a total funk and felt like just moving on from songwriting. Why you were feeling that way?
There’s some internal business stuff that got me uninspired, as it can do to creative people. I was just being really hard on myself, looking at my life and how much time I spend away from my kids, not just physically but mentally. I was searching and searching and felt like things weren’t working. I wasn’t meeting that many artists I was inspired by. I can’t do the hip-hop thing, so if that’s where it is now, it isn’t for me. Streaming is also a tricky thing because songwriters don’t get paid a lot for those royalties. I have some of the biggest songs on Spotify and when I see the streaming income on the checks, it’s barely minimum wage, and I spend so much time on every song. I was feeling that maybe my process and my way of doing things — where I do so few songs a year and spend so much time on them — wasn’t working anymore. It’s an insecurity thing. For the first time I can remember since I was 15, I woke up not feeling like going to the studio. I thought, Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s a young guy’s game.

Is that when you heard from Ariana?
I think she’d agree we have a great bond, so we’re in touch all the time. She’s been an important part of the last five years, and I think vice versa, and we had spoken earlier about how she wanted to go in a different direction and try working with other people which I was totally fine with. I was like, “Yeah, you should. You should branch out as an artist, do what you feel is right, challenge your audience and expand sonically.” That was around the time when I was not feeling good anyway. But randomly she texted me and said, “Hey, I really wanna go back in.” So she came to the studio with me and Max [Martin] for a little bit. That day, me and her sat and just listened to music, and it was something about that day and her energy and excitement lit the spark again. I used to have ideas popping up all the time, like the idea for “Problem” came from an airplane bathroom. That stuff wasn’t happening for a big chunk of last year, but after that meeting she lit the fuse again.

What did you listen to during that meeting? I’m assuming it provided some sort of musical bedrock for what Sweetener would become.
We listened to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I think Max brought up Brandy’s “I Want to Be Down.” We just listened to great songs that I loved growing up, and I know Ariana does too. We talked and she had amazing ideas which were inspiring and we just got going. I woke up the next morning wanting to create again.

It’s interesting because you usually you hear how a producer or writer inspires an artist, but this time was the opposite.
For me, absolutely. Also what she went through after Manchester; just as a friend the toll that took and how strong a person has to be to come back from that was inspiring.

Sweetener’s first single was “No Tears Left to Cry,” which sounds kind of like a throwback, but also very of the moment. Was that the goal? Did you have artists in mind that you were inspired by? You mentioned Lauryn Hill …
Well, we started talking when we were listening to Lauryn Hill about chord changes and why we stick to four chords all the time. She wanted to go back to when the verses and the chorus had different chord changes. I was also listening to a lot of En Vogue [like “Don’t Let Go”] and the changes in a few others. She was also very insistent on starting a song as a ballad and then just becoming an up-tempo [track]. I think it was Max who started singing that melody of the chorus, which was fantastic and magical, so we just took it from there. Ari made it clear that she didn’t want to dwell on what happened [in Manchester]. She wanted to touch on it, but at the same time wanted this album to be positive, about light and sharing love. It was really important to her that whatever the first thing she did coming back had to be hopeful. At one point she said something like, “I don’t have any tears anymore, I don’t have any tears left to cry.” We were like, that’s it! That’s it. That’s the line. And we went from there.

So that fake-out where the first ten seconds or so sounds like a ballad, and then it launches into something up-tempo — was the initial idea to build on that?
Yeah, that was all Ariana’s vision. It was important to her to start as a ballad and Max and Ilya started playing those chords and it just fit; it was magical. It all came together and had this flow. One thing that was super challenging was the pre-chorus, we spent a lot of time on it. We tend to spend a lot of time on pre-choruses if I’m involved in the song. “Side to Side” took two weeks, for example. Then Ilya made the groove super tight and knocking in the right way.

Tell me about the lyrical architecture here. It sound very simple, but that’s also deceiving because I’m sure this was plotted out painstakingly. Ariana sings, “I’m pickin’ it up, I’m pickin’ it up, I’m lovin’, I’m livin’, I’m pickin’ it up.” How long does a line like that take to put together?
I think it’s just instinctual flow. It’s already quite a complicated song, chord-wise, and the audience right now is so used to hearing a loop of a beat or a loop of chords. Keep in mind that when we were writing, [Post Malone’s] “Rockstar” was the biggest song on the radio, and that’s just one melody repeating itself over and over. Compared to that, this song is very complicated. You want things to be digestible, but when it gets too complicated with the chord changes and the melodic shifts, the lyrics need to be easier to grasp.

Ariana recently told Jimmy Fallon that “Breathin” came to fruition when she was having an anxiety attack. How does an episode like that become a pop song?
I think we started that day with her saying she wanted to do a song that had a specific vibe. Ilya started coming up with an instrumental hook and she went in and started singing melodies. Even before she started feeling that way I started singing “breathing and breathing” as a hook. I collect titles and I was using “breathing” [as a placeholder]; sometimes we’ll use bullshit words just for the sake of filler for the moment. It sounded so magical when she sang it, but she had to take pauses because she was having a tough day. We were concerned, and she was talking it out. We’re all friends and the studio is a therapy session for us all; whether I’m going through something or Ilya’s going through something or she’s going through something. It was quite impressive because sometimes artists don’t wanna say what’s really there and she was willing to put it in the lyrics. The melodies make it a pop song, but it’s the lyrics that make it an artist’s song.

It’s fascinating to watch pop’s lyrical evolution. It wasn’t that long ago that pop songs were focused on having fun and talking about how life is carefree, but now we’re in a phase where pop stars are more relatable. The Chainsmokers had lyrics about drinking too much on “Closer,” and Shawn Mendes is singing out laying on his bathroom floor, “feeling overwhelmed and insecure,” on “In My Blood.” Is this evolution something you think about?
It’s all cyclical, right? We’re in a cycle now that culturally people want authenticity. Artists collectively want to be as authentic as possible in their music. Someone like myself and the teams I frequently collaborate with, our jobs is to help artists do that in a way that it connects to the masses. You don’t want to lose that authenticity and heart, but help shape it into something that connects. Maybe it also has to do with social media as well? Though at the same time, this is also Ariana’s fourth album [its concepts] had to do with her being determined to have more depth in her music. She’s done the [lighter] pop thing, and was determined to express herself in ways she hasn’t before. It’s a healing process for her, but to also help others. She came out of Manchester determined to make the world better.

Speaking of that, what makes for the perfect pop song? Is there a recipe?
I don’t think there’s a recipe, because it changes with culture and where music is. I always like to think of melody first, along with the right lyric or punchline. Back in the Backstreet Boys days, those songs had amazing melodies and the punchline was catchy but the lyrics made no sense. If you can get that lyric that connects that’s catchy with a melody that’s different enough and simple, that’s where your magic is, [but] it’s hard to do. Just as the best athletes in the world make it look easy, the best songwriters in the world make it seem simple too. You say, “I can write that!” And when you try and it’s pretty difficult.

Those elements kind of come together in “Everytime,” which is lyrically simple, but also an earworm.
We already had some of the melody and we were in the middle of trying to figure out if it was anything when Ariana texted to see what we were doing and came by. She heard the skeleton of the idea and said, “I love that, that’s mine, let’s finish it!” She recorded it and it was magic. She puts her voice on something and it comes alive in a way nobody can expect. All of it was based on her direction.

How about “God Is a Woman”? Did that begin with a concept, lyrics, or the instrumental?
That was the one that was unique compared to the other Sweetener tracks. I love to write from concepts and titles, and before I got in my funk I had this chorus idea. I was alone in a room and started singing into my phone … [Hums the melody to “God Is a Woman”] Rickard [Göransson] walked into the room and heard me singing this melody and he grabbed a guitar and started to figure out chords to what I was singing, which I finish with the phrase “You’ll find out God is a woman.” It was before Ariana came calling, so we didn’t know what to do with it. We played it for another artist or two and it didn’t work out. Then maybe [we were thinking] we’d get a rapper on the verses? Our big dream is always Drake. [Laughs] We had to have someone who could write the lyric for the chorus, because all I had was “You’ll believe God is a woman.” I couldn’t write the full lyrics, it had to be a girl to write it to pull the whole concept off.

Working with Ari was the most obvious thing I could ever think of, but I never thought of it. So two days before her label listening meeting when they were supposed to hear the Sweetener songs, she came to just hang in the studio. Ilya goes, “Why don’t we play Ariana ‘God Is a Woman?’” and she goes, “What? What did you just say? You play that for me right now.” She heard the hook and was like, “You guys are stupid, why would you not play that for me all this time?!” I was like, of course, there’s nobody else who could pull this off. She’s a feminist, her mom’s a feminist, and her aunt is this trailblazing feminist. Sure enough, she came back the next day with lyrics; her nonna was there, her mom was there and she recorded it. It was the last thing we did before her label meeting. She took it and owned it and was like, “This is what I wanna say and this is what I’m about.”

Source: Vulture.com

Ariana Grande performs at the Sweetener Sessions in New York City, NY (08/20)

On August 20th, Ariana performed at the first Sweetener Sessions in New York City at the Irving Plaza! Check out the photos and videos below!

raindrops (an angel cried)
r.e.m.
God is a woman
sweetener
successful
everytime
breathin
no tears left to cry
borderline (feat. Missy Elliott)
better off
goodnight n go
pete davidson
get well soon

Ariana Grande performs at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards

On August 20th, Ariana Grande attended and performed at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards! She sang God Is A Woman with 47 dancers, as she brought up her cousin, her nonna, and her mother, Joan.

Ariana walked the pink carpet with her fiance, Pete Davidson. During the night, she won Best Pop Video for No Tears Left To Cry. This is her 2nd time winning this award, making her the 2nd most awarded in that category, right behind Britney Spears with 3 awards.

Check out the photos and videos below!

Arrivals

Performance

Accepting Best Pop Video

Backstage/Audience