Who Is Ariana Grande? Inside the Life of an American Singer

Ariana Grande started performing onstage as a child. Her participation in a Broadway play at the age of 15, followed by some minor TV roles, helped her land the role of Cat on TV’s Victorious. She then embarked on a chart-topping musical career, releasing five albums: Yours Truly (2013), My Everything (2014), Dangerous Woman (2016), Sweetener (2018), and Thank U, Next (2019).

Early Years

Grande was born on June 26, 1993, in Boca Raton, Florida, to graphic designer Edward Butera and businesswoman Joan Grande. She began singing and acting at a young age and quickly rose through the ranks of the local theater scene. Her big break came in 2008, when she was 15 years old and landed the role of Charlotte in the Broadway production of 13, a play about growing up in New York City. Grande won a National Youth Theatre Association Award for her early role.

Two years later, she appeared in the musical Cuba Libre and in a minor role on the television show The Battery’s Down.

Television Roles

Grande made her television debut in the Nickelodeon series Victorious. Victorious was set at a performing arts high school, and Grande played Cat Valentine, a goofy aspiring singer-actress. Despite being preoccupied with the show, Grande pursued a musical career, making her first appearance on a record with the Victorious soundtrack. In 2011, Grande released the single “Put Your Hearts Up,” a pop song aimed at her young Victorious fans’ hearts. At the 2012 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, the show’s devoted fan base voted Victorious Favorite TV Show.

Cat Valentine, Grande’s character, survived the cancellation of Victorious in 2012. She went on to star in the Nick spin-off Sam & Cat, alongside Jennette McCurdy from iCarly. Sam & Cat hadn’t been on long when rumors circulated that Grande wasn’t having a good time, and the show was canceled after 35 episodes (2013-14).

Albums and Songs

‘Yours Truly’ & ‘My Everything’

“The Way” was Grande’s first single from her debut album, Yours Truly, which also included the hits “Baby I” and “Right There.” The album, produced by Babyface, featured a maturing Grande as well as 1990s soul influences from pop diva Mariah Carey. My Everything, released in 2014, sold 169,000 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 1. The single “Problem,” featuring Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and sold over 400,000 copies upon its release. “Break Free” by Zedd and “Love Me Harder” by The Weeknd followed, both reaching the top of the charts.

“Bang Bang,” “One Last Time”

Grande collaborated with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj on the summer 2014 single “Bang Bang,” which debuted at No. 6 and peaked at No. 3 in the United States. Another hit single from the album was “One Last Time,” which peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Grande’s My Everything album had three hit singles on the Billboard chart at the same time.

‘Dangerous Woman’

Grande released a holiday album, Christmas & Chill, in 2015, as well as the single “Focus,” which debuted at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. Dangerous Woman, her third album, was released in February 2016, and the title track debuted at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 that March. With the success of the song, she made music history by becoming the first artist to have the lead singles from her first three albums debut in the Top 10. Dangerous Woman features collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Macy Gray, and Future, and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.


Grande returned to the charts in April 2018 with “No Tears Left to Cry,” a catchy, upbeat response to the Manchester concert bombing the previous year. In June, she released the dance track “The Light Is Coming,” which featured Minaj; in mid-July, she released the sultry “God Is a Woman,” and in September, she released “Breathin.” Her highly anticipated album Sweetener, which debuted in mid-August, included the four releases, as well as a track about her whirlwind romance with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson. Sweetener’s overall success resulted in her first Grammy win, for Best Pop Vocal Album, in February 2019.

‘Thank U, Next’

Grande quickly returned to the studio to begin work on her fifth studio album, Thank U, Next. The title track debuted in early November 2018, with another chart-topper, “7 Rings,” following in January 2019. The album was released in February to critical acclaim, along with a new single, “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored.”

In April 2019, the 25-year-old songstress proved her star power by becoming the youngest performer ever to headline Coachella and only the fourth woman to do so. Her recent collaborations include “Rule the World” with 2 Chainz, “Monopoly” with Victoria Monét, and “Boyfriend” with Social House. Later that year, Grande collaborated with Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey on the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack single “Don’t Call Me Angel.”

Grande’s collaborations continued into 2020, with her collaboration with Justin Bieber on “Stuck With U” reaching the Billboard top spot in May before she joined Lady Gaga for “Rain on Me” later that month.


Her third album in just two years, Grande released positions in October 2020 to generally positive reviews.

Bombing at Dangerous Woman Tour

Grande performed the title track for the soundtrack of the live-action film Beauty and the Beast in 2017. She began her Dangerous Woman tour across North America and then Europe in February of that year. On May 22, 2017, tragedy struck after Grande finished a concert in Manchester, England, when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at the concert hall’s exit, killing 22 people and injuring 116 others, many of whom were young adults and children. “All terrorist acts 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,” former British Prime Minister Theresa May said following the attack.

The pop star responded to the horrific act on Twitter.

Grande canceled her Dangerous Woman tour less than a day after the attack. She returned to Manchester 13 days after the attack to perform a benefit concert for the bombing victims on June 4, enlisting friends and fellow superstars such as Bieber, Cyrus, Katy Perry, Liam Gallagher, Chris Martin, and Pharrell Williams to perform. Before the concert, Grande paid visits to fans who had been injured in the attack and offered 14,000 free tickets to those who had attended 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.”

The following year, 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.”


Among her many accolades, Grande has won six iHeartRadio Music Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards and three American Music Awards. She has also earned 12 Grammy nominations and one win.


In 2015, she returned to television with a guest appearance on Scream Queens, and in 2016, she made a cameo appearance in Zoolander 2. She also appeared as Tracy Turnblad’s best friend, Penny Pingleton, in NBC’s Hairspray Live! in December 2016.

Grande has also become a popular Saturday Night Live host, 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 Tidal-spoofing skit.

Grande made a guest appearance on season 2 of Jim Carrey’s Showtime series Kidding in February 2020.

Fragrances, Charities and Social Media

In addition to her musical and acting endeavors, Grande has collaborated with her brother Frankie Grande to launch two fragrances, “Ari by Ariana Grande” and “Frankie by Ariana Grande.”

When she is not performing, the pop star contributes to a variety of charitable causes, including Kids Who Care, a group she co-founded that raises funds for South Florida charities. She has also amassed a sizable social media following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and was named to Time magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People” in 2016.

Personal Life

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 Instagram.

People magazine confirmed the singer’s engagement to SNL’s Davidson, her boyfriend of several weeks, on June 11, 2018. Following that, attention was focused on their affectionate social media posts directed at one another, but the couple found themselves in an awkward position when footage of Davidson making a joke about the Manchester concert bombing months earlier surfaced.

Grande was devastated by Miller’s death in September 2018 from an accidental drug overdose, which appeared to have impacted her relationship with Davidson. The singer and comedian divorced in October 2018.

Grande then dated Mikey Foster of Social House before starting a relationship with real estate agent Dalton Gomez. The couple got engaged in December 2020 and will marry in May 2021.

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