Many have called her the Mariah Carey of the 2020s, but who really is Ariana Grande? We all know her by her signature high ponytail and even higher singing voice, but there’s probably a lot you didn’t know about her. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and have a look at how the young girl from Florida grew into the ‘God Is A Woman’ icon we know of today.
Grande was born in June 1993 in Florida to Joan and Edward Grande-Butera, an Italian family who celebrate their Sicilian and Abaruzzese roots. Her parents moved to Florida from New York not long before she was born, and as a child she loved musical theatre and performing.
At just 8, she was first on television singing the national anthem at a Florida Panthers game but wouldn’t start becoming popular for a few years yet. Ariana began her career in show business at just 15 when she was in 13 the Musical on Broadway. It was on Victorious though, that she started to make a name for herself where she played the kooky and lovable redhead Cat Valentine. The kid’s TV show ran on Nickelodeon from 2010 to 2013, and Grande featured on a short spin-off series after the last season.
In later years, she would talk about the struggles she faced as a young child star; working in high stress and fast-paced environment is tough for any teen, particularly so for those on a show who at its height was reaching over 5 million viewers. Her role in the show helped to propel her into superstardom and was just the first step on her way towards becoming a teen idol.
It was around this time that Ariana Grande was signed by Republic Records and her first album Yours Truly dropped, featuring chart-topping hit The Way, which charted in the Billboard top 100s. Since her youth, she had dreamed of making an R&B album and was ecstatic by how successful it was right off the bat. The sales of the album would continue to grow when she went on Justin Bieber’s Believe tour in 2013, and as such, she was awarded Breakthrough Artist of the Year by the MBA. Her second album My Everything would bring even more accolades and fame, giving us the iconic numbers Problem, One Last Time, Break Free and Bang Bang, which featured Jessie J and Nicki Minaj. The success of the album meant that Grande embarked on her first worldwide tour in 2015, and it was at this point where she really came into her own and grew in both fame and confidence.
Her third studio album brought about the Dangerous Woman era, during which she was nominated for her first grammy. In 2016, she performed a moving tribute to the late Whitney Houston whom she had previously been likened to. In the same year, she also went back to her roots of musical theatre, playing the role of Penny Pingleton in the NBC Broadcast of Hairspray Live.
2017 would be a defining year for Grande as it was the year where her Manchester concert was the target of a suicide bombing which tragically caused 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries. Around this time, Grande became very vocal and open about her struggles with mental health and her charity benefit concert One Love Manchester which raised $23 million dollars would be the solidification of the artist as an activist and an advocate. As a result of her efforts, Manchester recognised her as an honorary citizen and celebrated her strength and grace in giving back to the community. She was already known as an artist who cared a great deal for her audience, but it was during this time where she really demonstrated just how grateful she was to all those who had supported her over the years.
The release and writing of her fourth album, Sweetener, was put on hold by the events in Manchester, and Grande took some time to work on her own mental health and to further try to raise money and awareness for what had happened to her and her fans. The lead single No Tears Left To Cry debuted in 2018 to great success. The album’s success meant that Grande simultaneously held 9 chart positions in the top 100, one of only 4 female artists to do so. Later in the year she released her fifth album Thank You Next who’s titular single’s music video blew through records becoming the video with the most views amassed in 24 hours at the time. The success of both the albums meant that in 2019 she became the youngest artist to ever be chosen to headline Coachella festival, her set receiving critical acclaim. By the end of the year, Billboard named Grande the most accomplished artist to debut in the 2010s, and NME cited her as being one of the most iconic and defining artists of the decade.
Present day and net worth
Over the last year and a half, she released her sixth album Positions which featured her 18th top 10 single 34+35. She also got married earlier this year, a private ceremony at her home in California where she wore a beautiful custom dress designed by Vera Wang. It is a joy to see her happy in love after a long period of tumultuous and high profile relationships. It was announced in April of this year that she would become the newest judge to join the panel of the 21st series of The Voice in America, replacing co child star Nick Jonas. Despite the global pandemic, Grande appears to have some exciting plans in the pipeline, along with a net worth of $180 million. There has also been speculation of the newlyweds thinking about a child; however, at only 28 years old, Grande still has a lot of her career in front of her, and we can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes!