If you’ve asked yourself “Who is this new girl on the scene with the great, booming voice who looks like an Olympic figure skater?” anytime in the last few weeks, we’d like to introduce you to Ariana Grande. The teeny tiny pop starlet has made a humungous splash on the charts this summer, earning comparisons to a one Ms. Mariah Carey and abundant praise for her pristine form of pop.
At 20, she’s the same age as Miley Cyrus, yet is worlds away from twerking up on married men and having to defend her tongue activity. Instead, she’d rather teach the masses how to make the best use of one’s whistle register and remind us of a time when holding hands could send hearts racing. With her debut album, Yours Truly, out this week and music video for “Baby I” premiering today, here are some friendly talking points about the Mini Mariah to get you through the weekend.
1. SHE’S THEATER-TRAINED WITH A TELEVISION PEDIGREE
The Florida native made her Broadway debut in 2008’s 13. From there she went on to star as Cat Valentine in Nickelodeon’s Victorious, as well as its subsequent spinoff, Sam & Cat, which premiered in June. Experience with performing eight shows a week likely helped with television’s notoriously grueling work schedule, and Ariana’s four-octave range, plus the aforementioned yet brilliant whistle tone, was undoubtedly honed on the stage.
2. SHE HANGS OUT WITH RAPPERS
Of the 12 tracks on Yours Truly, two boast guest verses from some of the most in-demand hip-hop acts in the game: “Right There” features Big Sean, who wisely steers clear of his ass obsession and tones it down for his underage collaborator’s young fan base with an unoffensive (and largely forgettable) offering, and “The Way,” which samples Big Pun’s hit “Still Not a Player.” This would be enough to reinforce Ariana’s old-school blend of pop and R&B, but the song also features Pittsburgh-bred Mac Miller who got to get up close and personal with his Viacom compatriot in the video. After premiering in March, their collaboration cracked the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and has sold over two million copies to date.
3. SHE IS MANAGED BY ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SVENGALIS IN THE BIZ
Scooter Braun was smart to sign this one. Along with being credited for pulling Justin Bieber out of Canada and off of YouTube, Braun currently manages Ariana, Asher Roth, Cody Simpson, Carly Rae Jepsen, Psy, and the Wanted. If you need further convincing of his pop prowess, he had the sense to snatch up CRJ just as “Call Me Maybe” was about to explode, and signed South Korean act Psy while everyone from famous actors to world leaders was giving the “Gangnam Style” dance a whirl.
Being shepherded by Braun and the Schoolboy family puts Ariana in close proximity with Bieber, his rabid fan base, and their social media powers, for which she’s more than happy to return the favor. Yours Truly includes “Almost Is Never Enough” a cut from the Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone soundtrack, featuring Nathan Sykes of the Wanted (whom she’s rumored to be dating). Romancing another super-cute and commercially viable pop star? Yep, right on target.
4. SHE LIVES EVERY DAY LIKE IT’S #THROWBACKTHURSDAY
Ariana is partial to full skirts, high pumps, and a long, curly ponytail reminiscent of your favorite Pink Ladies, which goes perfectly with her refreshingly vintage lyrical choices (who else says “going steady” these days?). She looks and dresses like someone her age, and has an endearingly cheerleader-next-door kind of vibe. Always exceptionally glam, she’s also making her own attempt to establish her own Taylor Swift surprise face…
5. HER DEBUT ALBUM IS GETTING GREAT REVIEWS
Entertainment Weekly calls Yours Truly “one of the most purely enjoyable albums of the year,” while Billboard applauds Ariana’s musical ability as “too magnetic to be contained to one radio hit.” She may have hitched herself to a teen audience, but her carefree brand of pop is too fun for adults not to take notice.
What’s next for Ariana? She just wrapped a headlining tour and is currently basking the glow of her first LP. While there will likely be performances at large venues (she just hit the Today stage) in the near future, we’ll be waiting patiently for a live duet with Mariah Carey… whenever it should come.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]