Ariana Grande – break free (swt live)
Ariana Grande is perhaps the quintessential pop star of the last half of the 2010s, capturing the era’s spirit and style. Emerging in 2013 with the hit single “The Way,” Grande initially appeared to be the heir to the throne of Mariah Carey, due in part to her powerhouse vocals. With its Babyface production, her debut Yours Truly underscored her debt to ’90s R&B, but Grande quickly incorporated hip-hop and EDM into her music. “Problem,” a 2014 smash duet with Iggy Azalea, was the first indication of her development, an evolution underscored by the hits “Bang Bang” and “Love Me Harder,” which featured Jessie J & Nicki Minaj and the Weeknd, respectively. Grande maintained her popularity with 2016’s Dangerous Woman, then really hit her stride with 2018’s Sweetener and its swift sequel Thank U, Next, whose title track became her first number one pop hit. That achievement was quickly equaled by “7 Rings,” a glitzy anthem for the Instagram age that consolidated her stardom and artistry, as well as “Positions,” the lead single from 2020’s R&B-heavy album of the same name.
A native of Boca Raton, Florida, where she was born in 1993 to graphic designer Edward Butera and Joan Grande (the CEO of Hose-McCann Communications), Grande began singing and acting at an early age, appearing in local theater productions. In 2008, when she was 15 years old, she landed the role of Charlotte in the Broadway production of 13; her performance was well-received, winning a National Youth Theatre Association Award. Following an appearance in the 2010 Desmond Child-written musical Cuba Libre, Grande was cast as Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon television program Victorious. The show ran until 2012, at which time Grande’s Cat Valentine was spun off into a show called Sam & Cat, which also starred Jennette McCurdy of iCarly.
Three months after the release of Sweetener, Grande returned with the non-LP single “Thank U, Next.” Quickly becoming an internet sensation, “Thank U, Next” shot to number one throughout the world, as did Grande’s next single, “7 Rings.” Both songs were featured on the full-length album Thank U, Next, which appeared in February 2019. Her fourth U.S. number one, the set also topped the charts in over a dozen countries, further buoyed by third single “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored.” Mere months after the release of Thank U, Next, Grande moved on with a series of collaborations, including “Monopoly” with Victoria Monet, “Boyfriend” with Social House, and the Charlie’s Angels reboot theme “Don’t Call Me Angel” with Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey. Capping off the year, Grande was nominated for five Grammy Awards: Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Thank U, Next, Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “7 Rings,” and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Boyfriend.”
Grande had duets reach the top of the Billboard charts in early 2020 — first it was “Stuck with U” with Justin Bieber, then it was “Rain on Me” with Lady Gaga — before she launched her next album, Positions, with the release of its title track. The single reached number one just before the October 30 release of the album, which crowned the Billboard 200.