Who Is Ariana Grande?
Ariana Grande was born in Boca Raton, Florida, in 1993 and began performing onstage when she as a child. A role in a Broadway play at age 15, followed by some small TV roles, helped her land the role of Cat on TV's Victorious. She followed that with the spinoff Sam & Cat and then dove headfirst into a chart-topping musical career, releasing three albums Yours Truly (2013), My Everything (2014) and Dangerous Woman (2016). Her popularity has been fueled by a strong social media presence on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Ariana Grande was born on June 26, 1993, in Boca Raton, Florida, to Edward Butera, a graphic designer, and Joan Grande, a businesswoman. She took to singing and acting at a young age and made her way onto the local theater scene before she was a teenager. Her first big break came in 2008, when the 15-year-old landed the role of Charlotte in the Broadway production of 13, a play focusing on life growing up in New York City. The early role led to accolades, and Grande won a National Youth Theatre Association Award.
Two years later, she appeared in the musical Cuba Libre and had a small role on a TV show called The Battery’s Down. But Grande landed her breakout role in the Nickelodeon series Victorious.
Victorious was set at a performing arts high school, and Grande was cast as a goofy aspiring singer-actress named Cat Valentine. While busy with the show, Grande nevertheless pursued a musical career, making her first appearance on a record with the Victorious soundtrack. And in 2011, Grande released the single "Put Your Hearts Up," a pop song aimed at the hearts of her young Victorious audience. The show's devoted fan base voted Victorious Favorite TV Show at the 2012 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
When Victorious went off the air in 2012, Grande's character Cat Valentine survived. She went to star in the Nick spin-off Sam & Cat, co-starring iCarly’s Jennette McCurdy. Sam & Cat wasn’t on long when rumors began to swirl that Grande wasn’t particularly enjoying the experience, and the show came to an abrupt end after 35 episodes (2013-14). Meanwhile, Grande’s 2013 single “The Way” made it into the top 10 in the United States and went triple platinum.
'Yours Truly' & 'My Everything'
“The Way” was the first single from Grande’s debut album, Yours Truly, a record that also featured the hits "Baby I" and "Right There." The album, produced by super-producer Babyface, showed a maturing Grande, and 1990s soul influences from by pop diva Mariah Carey. The 2014 release My Everything sold 169,000 copies in its first week, debuting at No. 1. The single “Problem,” featuring Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, preceded the album release and debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100, selling more than 400,000 copies upon its release. “Break Free” with Zedd and “Love Me Harder” with The Weeknd followed, each climbing toward the top of the charts.
During the summer of 2014, Grande teamed up with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj on the single “Bang Bang,” a track that debuted at No. 6 and peaked at No. 3 in the United States. The album spawned another hit single “One Last Time,” which reached number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Grande had three hit singles from My Everything on the Billboard chart at the same time.
In 2015, Grande released Christmas & Chill, a holiday album, and the single "Focus," which debuted at number seven on the Billboard's Hot 100. In February 2016, she released her third album Dangerous Woman, and the title track debuted at number 10 on the Hot 100 that March. She made music history with the track's success, becoming the first artist to have the lead singles from her first three albums debut in the Top 10. Dangerous Woman, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, also features collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Macy Gray and Future.
Grande has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, won three American Music Awards, including Artist of the Year in 2016, and an MTV Video Music Award.
Bombing at 'Dangerous Woman' Tour
In 2017, Grande performed the title track for the soundtrack of the live action movie Beauty and the Beast. In February of that year, she began her Dangerous Woman tour across North America and then Europe. On May 22, 2017, tragedy struck after Grande finished a concert in Manchester, England and a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at the exit of the concert hall, killing 22 people and wounding 116, including many young adults and children. "All acts of terrorism are cowardly...but this attack stands out for its appalling sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives," British Prime Minister Theresa May said after the attack.
The pop star responded to the horrific act on Twitter.
Less than a day after the attack, Grande suspended her Dangerous Woman tour. She returned to Manchester 13 days after the attack to perform a benefit concert on June 4 for the bombing victims, enlisting friends and fellow superstars to perform including Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Liam Gallagher, Chris Martin, and Pharrell Williams. Before the concert, Grande visited fans who had been injured in the attack, and she also offered 14,000 free tickets to people who had been at the May 22 concert.
Grande resumed her tour on June 7th in Paris, posting in Instagram: "First show back tonight. Thinking of our angels every step of the way. I love you with all my heart. Grateful for and incredibly proud of my band, dancers and entire crew. I love you. I love you."
One year later, the singer revealed that she was still feeling the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder from the event. "It's hard to talk about because so many people have suffered such severe, tremendous loss," she told British Vogue. "I don't think I'll ever know how to talk about it and not cry."
Acting & 'SNL'
The pop diva returned to television with a guest appearance on Scream Queens in 2015, and she hit the big screen in a cameo appearance in Zoolander 2 in 2016. She also starred as Penny Pingleton, Tracy Turnblad's best friend, in NBC's Hairspray Live! in December 2016.
Grande has also become a popular host of Saturday Night Live, bringing her musical and acting talents to the show, including uncanny impersonations of fellow pop divas Britney Spears, Shakira, Rihanna, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston in a skit spoofing the streaming service Tidal.
In addition to her musical and acting projects, Grande has launched two fragrances "Ari by Ariana Grande" and "Frankie by Ariana Grande" with her brother Frankie Grande.
When she is not performing, the pop superstar supports various charitable causes including Kids Who Care, a group she co-founded that raises money for charities in the South Florida region. She also has cultivated a massive social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, and landed on Time magazine's list of "The 100 Most Influential People" in 2016.
Grande went public with her romance with her "The Way" collaborator Mac Miller in August 2016. The pair split in May 2018 after almost two years of dating. "I respect and adore him endlessly and am grateful to have him in my life in any form, at all times regardless of how our relationship changes or what the universe holds for each of us!" Grande posted on Instragram.
On June 11, 2018, People magazine confirmed that the singer is engaged to her boyfriend of several weeks, Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson.
(Photo, top left: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
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