By NICOLE LOSEK, A&E Editor
From starting off her career as the bright red headed sweetheart, Cat, on Nickelodeon’s show Victorious, Ariana Grande has worked to surprise the world with her Mariah Carey vocals and and big heart.
The 24-year-old singer/actress grew up in Boca Raton, Florida and started her artistic career at a young age. Grande started off acting at her community theater and found herself landing her first role as Annie at the age of 8. She also performed in musicals like The Wizard of Oz and Beauty and the Beast. By the age of 13, Grande started taking her acting and singing more seriously.
At the age of 14, Grande moved to L.A. to meet her managers and begin her music career. First, she found herself moving to New York after being cast in the supporting role of a cheerleader in the Broadway musical 13. She credits this musical for her wide range of vocals.
“My favorite thing about doing 13 was that Jason Robert Brown, who wrote the score, loved to push people to their limits vocally and I loved that. My range expanded because of 13,” she tells Complex in a 2013 interview.
After 13, Grande packed up and moved back to L.A. She auditioned for the Nickelodeon series Victorious and landed the role as Cat. Before her staple high pony, Grande rocked bright red hair for the role, which fit perfectly with the adorable/ditzy personality of Cat.
During the second season of Victorious, Grande started to focus on her musical career and began working on her first album, in August of 2010.
Originally, Grande wanted to make an R&B album, but her managers told her that was a big goal, but there wasn’t exactly a market for a 14 year old’s R&B album.
“It took me so long to find my sound, or settle on something that I wanted to do because I want to be able to sing, and sing that the way that I love to sing. But when I was doing bubble gum-pop music, I wasn’t really allowed to do that. I was like ‘You know what, screw this, I’m gonna do what I’ve loved to do since I was a little girl and I’m gonna make R&B, happy music’ and I love that,” she said.
Grande’s debut album, Yours Truly, was released in September of 2013 and hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart and later became her first platinum album.
Grande jumped back in the studio and began working on her next album in 2014, which dropped in August of that year. My Everything, was Grande’s second studio album which also debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. The sound of her second album was more mature and felt like the then 21-year-old’s break from her Nickelodeon image.
In 2016, Grande’s third studio album, Dangerous Woman, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart.
The following year in February, Grande hit the road for the “Dangerous Woman Tour.”
During her show in Manchester, a suicide bomber struck at the end of her show, taking around 25 lives and injuring hundreds.
Ariana Grande proved her strength and big heart by returning to Manchester weeks later to hold a benefit concert, “One Love Manchester.”
The concert was televised and artists including Mac Miller, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus came out to show their support and contribute to the $23 million raised for the victims of the attack.
After putting the tour on hold after the attack, Grande returned days after the benefit concert to finish the last leg.
In September of this year, Grande also participated in “A Concert for Charlottesville” to benefit the victims of the Charlottesville rally from the previous month.
The heart of this young artist is warming and I think she will continue to prove so. From following the beautiful pop star on social media I see no signs of letting up in her work ethic. Recently dropping her own emojis, “Arimojie,” and teaming up with Reebok, the star continues keep fans intrigued. Hopefully we’ll see some new music from her too.