Ariana Grande-Butera was born on June 26, 1993, in Boca Raton, Florida. She is the daughter of Joan Grande, the Brooklyn-born CEO of Hose-McCann Communications, a manufacturer of communications and safety equipment, and Edward Butera, a graphic design firm owner in Boca Raton. Grande is of Italian descent, and she refers to herself as an Italian American, "half Sicilian and half Abruzzese". Her name was inspired by Princess Oriana from Felix the Cat: The Movie. She has an older half-brother, Frankie Grande, an entertainer and producer, and she has a close relationship with her maternal grandmother, Marjorie Grande. Grande's family moved from New York to Florida when her mother was pregnant with her, and her parents separated when she was around 8 or 9 years old.
By age 13, she became serious about pursuing a music career, though she still concentrated on theater. When she first arrived in Los Angeles to meet with her managers, she expressed a desire to record an R&B album: "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?!'" In 2008, Grande was cast in the supporting role of cheerleader Charlotte in the musical 13 on Broadway, for which she won a National Youth Theatre Association Award. When she joined the musical, Grande left North Broward Preparatory School, but continued to be enrolled; the school sent materials to her so she could study with tutors. She also sang various times at the New York City jazz club Birdland.
2009–2012: Breakthrough on Nickelodeon
Grande in July 2011
Grande was cast in the Nickelodeon television show Victorious along with 13 co-star Elizabeth Gillies in 2009. In this sitcom, set in a performing arts high school, Grande played the "adorably dimwitted" Cat Valentine. She had to dye her hair red every other week for the role because the executive producer, Dan Schneider, did not want all the cast members to be brunettes, and the red hair was also a feature that the network felt would fit the personality of Cat. The show premiered in March 2010 to the second largest audience for a live-action series in Nickelodeon history with 5.7 million viewers. 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." Her character was compared to "Brittany Murphy's performance as the hapless Tai in Clueless" (1995) and described as being "very impressionable and easily swayed" but "generally sweet". The second season premiered in April 2011 to 6.2 million viewers, becoming the highest rated episode of Victorious. In 2010, she played the role of Miriam in the musical Cuba Libre, written and produced by songwriter Desmond Child.
After the first season of Victorious wrapped, Grande wanted to focus on her music career and began working on her debut album in August 2010. To strengthen her vocal range, she began working with vocal coach Eric Vetro. 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 songs by Adele, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, and uploaded them to YouTube. A friend of Monte Lipman, CEO of Republic Records, came across one of Grande's videos. Impressed by her vocals, he sent the links to Lipman, who signed her to a recording contract. She released her first single, "Put Your Hearts Up", in December 2011, which was recorded for a teen-oriented pop album that was not issued. She later disowned the track for its bubblegum pop sound, saying that she had no interest in recording music of that genre. The song was later certified gold by the RIAA. Also in 2011, she voiced the fairy Princess Diaspro in 13 episodes of the Nickelodeon version of the Italian animated television seriesWinx Club, appeared in Greyson Chance's music video for a song called "Unfriend You" from his album Hold On 'til the Night, portraying Chance's ex-girlfriend, and voiced the title role in the English dub of the Spanish-language animated film Snowflake, the White Gorilla.
Meanwhile, Nickelodeon created Sam & Cat, an iCarly and Victorious spin-off starring Jennette McCurdy and Grande. Grande and McCurdy reprised their respective roles as Cat Valentine and Sam Puckett on the buddy sitcom, which paired the characters as roommates who form an after-school babysitting business. The pilot aired on June 8, 2013, and the show was immediately picked up by the network. The following month, Nickelodeon doubled Sam & Cat's original 20-episode order for season one, making it a 40-episode season. Despite its success in the ratings, the series was canceled after 36 episodes. The final episode aired on July 17, 2014.
Grande recorded her first studio album Yours Truly, originally titled Daydreamin', over a three-year period. It was released on August 30, 2013 and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 albums chart, with 138,000 copies sold in its first week.Yours Truly also debuted in the top ten in several other countries, including Australia, the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. The lead single "The Way", featuring Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller, debuted at number ten on the US Billboard Hot 100, eventually peaking at number nine for two weeks. Grande was later 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. The album's second single, "Baby I", was released in July. Its third single, "Right There", featuring Detroit rapper Big Sean, was released in August. They respectively peaked at number 21 and 84 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Grande released her second studio album My Everything on August 25, 2014 and debuted atop the Billboard 200. Its lead single "Problem" features Australian rapper Iggy Azalea and premiered at the 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards on April 27. The song debuted at number three (eventually climbing to number two) on the Billboard Hot 100, and debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Grande's first number one single in the United Kingdom. The album's second single, "Break Free", featuring German musician and producer Zedd, peaked at number four in the United States. She performed the song as the opening of the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, and won Best Pop Video for "Problem". Grande and Nicki Minaj provided guest vocals on "Bang Bang", the lead single from Jessie J's album Sweet Talker, which peaked at number one in the UK and reached number three in the US. With the singles "Problem", "Break Free", and "Bang Bang", Grande joined Adele as the only female artist with three top ten singles simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 as a lead artist.
Grande began recording songs for her third studio album, Dangerous Woman, originally titled Moonlight, in 2015. In October of that year, she released the single "Focus", initially intended as the lead single from the album; the song debuted at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. In January 2016, she launched collaborated makeup collection with MAC Cosmetics, donating 100% of proceeds to the MAC AIDS Fund, and launched a fashion line in collaboration with Lipsy London. The following month, Grande made a cameo appearance in the comedy film Zoolander 2 starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
In March 2016, Grande released "Dangerous Woman" as the lead single from the retitled album of the same name. The single debuted at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first person in the history of the Billboard charts to have the lead single from each of her first three albums debut in the top ten. The same month, Grande appeared as host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live, where she performed "Dangerous Woman" and debuted the promotional single "Be Alright", which charted at number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100. Grande garnered positive reviews for her appearance on the show, including praise for her impressions of various singers, some of which she had done on The Tonight Show. Grande won an online voting poll on Entertainment Weekly as the "best host of the season". In May 2016, Grande appeared on The Voice season 10 finale, performing the second single from the album, "Into You", which peaked at number 13 in the United States, and duetted with Christina Aguilera on "Dangerous Woman".
Grande released Dangerous Woman on May 20, 2016 and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. It also debuted at number two in Japan, and at number one in several other markets, including Australia, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and UK. Mark Savage, writing for BBC News, called the album "a mature, confident record". At the Summertime Ball at London's Wembley Stadium in June, Grande performed three songs from the album as part of her set. In August, Grande released a third single from the album, "Side to Side", featuring rapper Nicki Minaj, her eighth top ten entry on the Hot 100, which peaked at number four on that chart.Dangerous Woman was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album and the title track for Best Pop Solo Performance.
Grande began working on songs for her fourth studio album, Sweetener, with Pharrell Williams in 2016, but "the events in Manchester gave a hard reset to the project's expectations". Grande released "No Tears Left to Cry" as the lead single from Sweetener on April 20, 2018. The song debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and made Grande the only artist to have debuted the first single from each of her first four albums in the top ten of the Hot 100.Sweetener was made available for pre-order on June 20, 2018, along with the promotional single "The Light Is Coming", featuring rapper Nicki Minaj. The second single, "God Is a Woman", peaked at number 8 on the Hot 100 and became Grande's tenth top ten single in the US.
In November 2018, Grande announced that her fifth studio album would be titled Thank U, Next. The lead single, "Thank U, Next", was released on November 3, 2018. The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Grande's first number one single in the United States. It was quickly certified platinum in the United States, and the song's music video broke records for most-watched music video on YouTube within 24 hours of release and fastest Vevo video to reach 100 million views on YouTube. On Spotify, the song became the fastest song to reach 100 million streams in 11 days and most-streamed song by a female artist in a 24-hour period with 9.6 million streams, before surpassed with her own song "7 Rings" with nearly 15 million streams. Later the same month, Grande released, in collaboration with YouTube, a four-part docuseries titled Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries. It shows behind the scenes and concert footage from Grande's Dangerous Woman Tour, including moments from the One Love Manchester concert, and follows her professional life during the tour and the making of Sweetener. The series debuted on November 29, 2018.
In January 2019, it was announced that Grande will be headlining the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Grande will make history by becoming the youngest artist ever to headline and just the fourth female headliner of the festival. It is set to take place from April 12–14 and April 19–21. Grande's second single from Thank U, Next, "7 Rings", was released on January 18, 2019, and debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of February 2, becoming her second single in a row (and overall) to top the charts. It also made Grande the third female artist with multiple number-one debuts after Mariah Carey (3) and Britney Spears (2) and fifth artist overall after Justin Bieber and Drake The song broke several streaming and recording industry records.
Musical style and genres
Grande's music is generally described as pop and R&B with elements of EDM and hip hop. Grande said she grew up mainly listening to urban pop and 90s music. Grande's debut album, Yours Truly was complimented for recreating the R&B "vibe and feel of the 90s" with the help of songwriter and producer Babyface. The follow-up, My Everything, has been described as an evolution from her first album with a new sound exploring EDM and electropop genres. The Los Angeles Times review of her third album, Dangerous Woman, commented that it is "impressive how fully she inhabits the emotional environment of each song here, even when one directly contradicts another. ... She's ... deft [at] adapting to different styles".
Grande has cited Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey as her major vocal influences, saying: "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." She describes 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. She has also cited Fergie,Destiny's Child, Beyoncé,India.Arie and Brandy as influences or inspirations. She has praised Imogen Heap's "intricate" song structure and cited Judy Garland as being a childhood influence, admiring Garland's ability to tell "a story when she sings".
Grande has a four octavesopranovocal range, and the whistle register. With the release of Yours Truly, critics compared Grande with Mariah Carey because of her wide vocal range, sound and musical material. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd of Billboard wrote that both Carey and Grande have "the talent to let their vocals do the talking ... that's not where the similarities end. ... Grande is subverting it with cute, comfortable, and on-trend dresses with a feminine slant." Grande responded to the comparisons, "[I]t's a huge compliment, but when you hear my entire album, you'll see that Mariah's sound is much different than mine." Steven J. Horowitz of Billboard wrote in 2014, "With her sophomore album, the "Problem" singer no longer resembles [Carey] – and that's okay."
Grande's vocals have gained praise from Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga and Chris Martin.Katy Perry said that Grande delivers "the best female vocal in pop music today. She has literally ... the best voice live." Mark Savage commented in BBC News: "Ariana Grande is one of pop's most intriguing and gifted singers. A magnetic performer with unrivalled vocal control". In The New York Times, Jon Pareles wrote that Grande's voice "can be silky, breathy or cutting, swooping through long melismas or jabbing out short R&B phrases; it's always supple and airborne, never forced." Composer and playwright Jason Robert Brown addressed Grande in a 2016 Time magazine article:
[N]o matter how much you are underestimated ... you are going to open your mouth and that unbelievable sound is going to come out. That extraordinary, versatile, limitless instrument that allows you to shut down every objection and every obstacle. That voice – powered by nothing but your remarkable empathy, your ravenous intelligence, your cool discipline and your voracious ambition.
Grande's modest look early in her career was described as "age appropriate", compared with other pop stars who grew up in the public eye. Jim Farber of New York Daily News wrote in 2014 that Grande received less attention "for how little she wears or how graphically she moves than for how she sings." That year, she began to wear short skirts and crop tops with knee-high boots in performances and on red carpets. After years of dyeing her hair red to play Cat Valentine, Grande wore extensions. Anne T. Donahue of MTV News argued that her iconic ponytail receives more attention than her bold fashion choices.
Although Grande drew criticism for allegedly impolite interactions with reporters and fans in 2014, she dismissed these reports as "weird, inaccurate depictions". After considering the incidents most frequently mentioned in the press and the available evidence, PopSugar concluded that the incidents were "just normal star behavior" and "not the most ideal situation, but ... not exactly the sign of a diva".Rolling Stone wrote: "Some may cry 'diva', but it's also Grande just taking a stand to not allow others to control her image." In July 2015, Grande was seen on surveillance video in a doughnut shop licking doughnuts that were on display and saying "I hate Americans. I hate America. This is disgusting", referring to a tray of doughnuts. She apologized, writing that she is "extremely proud to be an American" and that her comments related to American obesity. She later released a video apology for "behaving poorly". The incident was parodied by The Muppets and featured in Miley Cyrus' Saturday Night Live cover of "My Way", about the regrets of the summer of 2015. Grande mocked the incident herself on Saturday Night Live in 2016, saying "A lot of kid stars end up doing drugs, or in jail, or pregnant, or get caught licking a doughnut they didn't pay for."
Journalists and celebrities, such as Taylor Swift, Rita Ora and Selena Gomez, commented favorably on Grande's "empowering" 2015 essay posted on Twitter decrying the double standard and misogyny in the focus of the press on female musicians' relationships and sex lives, instead of "their value as an individual". Grande noted that she has "more to talk about" concerning her music and accomplishments, rather than her romantic relationships. In 2016, E! writer Kendall Fisher called her "a feminist hero" in an essay examining Grande's feminist statements. The same year, Grande was listed among Time's 100 most influential people in the world. She received praise for her "grace and strength" in organizing, hosting and performing at the One Love Manchester benefit concert. Madeline Roth of MTV News wrote that the performance "bolstered courage among an audience that desperately needed it. ... Returning to the stage was a true act of bravery and resilience".New York Magazine's Vulture section ranked the event as the No. 1 concert of 2017. Also in 2017, Mitchell Harrison of Billboard magazine called Grande a "gay icon" for her LGBT-friendly lyrics, performances and "support for the LGBTQ community". The same year, Celia Almeida wrote for Miami New Times:
[O]f all of pop music's biggest stars of the past 20 years, Ariana Grande has made the most convincing and seamless transition from ingénue to independent female artist. ... She saves the celebration of the joys of liberated sexual exploration for her lyrics. ... [S]he has traversed into mainstream-pop adulthood relatively unscathed. ... Grande [wrote in 2016]: "Expressing sexuality in art is not an invitation for disrespect ... just like wearing a short skirt is not asking for assault."
Grande has a large following on social media. By December 2018, her YouTube channel had accrued more than 30 million subscribers and her music videos had been viewed a total of more than twelve billion times, her Instagram account had accumulated more than 140 million followers, ranking her as the 3rd most followed person on Instagram, her Twitter account had more than 60 million followers, making it the 11th most followed Twitter account, and her Facebook page had more than 30 million likes.
At the age of ten, Grande co-founded the South Florida youth singing group Kids Who Care, which performed for charitable fund-raising events and raised over $500,000 for charities in 2007 alone. In 2009, as a member of the charitable organization Broadway in South Africa, Grande, along with her brother Frankie, performed and taught music and dance to children in Gugulethu, South Africa.
She was featured with Bridgit Mendler and Kat Graham in Seventeen magazine in a 2013 public campaign to end online bullying called "Delete Digital Drama". After watching the film Blackfish that year, she urged fans to stop supporting SeaWorld and became a vegan. In September 2014, Grande participated at the charitable Stand Up to Cancer television program, performing her song "My Everything" in memory of her grandfather, who had died of cancer that July. Grande has adopted several rescue dogs as pets and promoted pet adoption at some of her concerts. In 2016, she launched with MAC Cosmetics a line of lip shades called "Ariana Grande's MAC Viva Glam", the profits of which benefit people affected by HIV and AIDS.
Grande met actor Graham Phillips in the cast of the musical 13 in 2008 and dated him until 2011. From December 2012 to August 2013, she dated the comedian Jai Brooks, a member of The Janoskians. In October 2014, Grande confirmed that she and rapper Big Sean were dating. In April 2015, the couple ended their relationship after eight months. She dated backup dancer Ricky Alvarez for less than a year beginning in mid-2015. After recording "The Way" with Mac Miller in 2012, the two began dating in 2016. The relationship ended by May 2018. In May 2018, Grande began dating actor and comedian Pete Davidson. The two called off their engagement and ended their relationship in October 2018. In early January 2019, Grande said she would not date anyone in 2019, and probably beyond.