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A Grande Evolution: From Child Star To Dangerous Woman

Friday, 21 December 2018 Written by Helen Payne

With the announcement of a world tour in support of her new album 'Sweetener’, there’s no better time to get to know the real Ariana Grande. If puppy dog eyes and pleasing R&B-influenced pop songs are anything to go by, she couldn’t be sweeter—see what we did there? Let us take you on a trip down memory lane to see what made the singer the woman she is today, and the path that led to the release of what could be her most successful album to date.


Every superstar has to start somewhere, right? Back when she was a teenager in Florida, musical theatre was Grande’s chosen path, having performed in various productions before she was eight years old. By the time she’d hit 13, while most kids can’t even get to school on time, the singer had already decided to pursue a career in music. In 2008 she was cast in the supporting role of cheerleader Charlotte in Broadway’s 13: the story of a young boy who moves from New York City to a small town in Indiana, navigating those dastardly school social circles *shudders*.

The production launched the careers of both Grande and Elizabeth Gillies. They would later go on to star together on Nickelodeon. Your gal Ari‘s in the stripes.

The Nickelodeon Years

If you were a tweenager during the late 2000s you’ll find it nearly impossible to separate Grande the pop icon and her charmingly dimwitted character Cat Valentine, whom she played in the Nickelodeon series Victorious between 2010 and 2013. It was a teen sitcom based in a performing arts high school, with Grande playing the impossibly-nice, childlike redhead. Sometimes, if you listen closely, you can still hear a whisper of that innocent voice.

‘Yours Truly’

Despite the role of Valentine propelling Grande’s acting career, she was set on making music, and began recording her debut album. ‘Yours Truly’ was released in September 2013, hitting number one on the Billboard chart and the top 10 in the UK and Ireland. This was just the beginning, as it was the first of three platinum selling albums—she'll be hoping ‘Sweetener’ makes it four!

A record of pure, unadulterated pop, her huge vocal range blew away listeners on opener Honeymoon Avenue and ballad Tattooed Heart, as well as club banger Better Left Unsaid, and don’t forget those impressive collaborations with Big Sean, Mac Miller, Nathan Sykes, and MIKA.

‘Dangerous Woman’

In 2014 ‘My Everything’ dropped, and it again had big name collabs (Childish Gambino, Iggy Azalea, the Weeknd, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J for starters) and swooped into the top 10 of various charts. Oh, and that same year spawned an inescapable Christmas single: Santa Tell Me.

Though it was its follow up that was the real game changer. 2016’s ‘Dangerous Woman’ shook up Grande’s image and was better received than ‘My Everything’ due its personality and bite. No longer the doe-eyed sweetheart of Nickelodeon teen fame, the reinvention saw Ari turn into an adult: sexy lingerie, come-hither glances and bold close-ups, as well as that all-important first number one in the UK. Cat Valentine was nowhere to be found. It was time to take Grande seriously.

Just Keep Breathin'

Grande’s maturity was further shown in the graceful handling of the attack at Manchester Arena during her Dangerous Woman tour in 2017. This year she also demonstrated great resilience and strength following the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, who died from a drug overdose in September.

Thank U, What Next?

Back to the present day. Despite 'Sweetener' only being released in August the singer has announced a world tour to support it and put out more new material. Grande’s recent single Thank U, Next is a super catchy synth-pop track namechecking a string of exes and advocating self love. It went straight to number one pretty much everywhere, and came accompanied by a Mean Girls-inspired music video. YAASSS. Then Imagine arrived, a more mellow, trap-influenced song that, like all of her tracks, showcases the pop star’s massive, jealousy-inducing voice.

Both are set to feature on a new album due for release in early 2019, so it’s clear that Ari’s got a busy year ahead. 

Ariana Grande Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Sat December 29 2018 - LAS VEGAS Nevada - Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (USA)
Mon March 18 2019 - ALBANY New York - Times Union Center (USA)
Wed March 20 2019 - BOSTON Massachusetts - TD Garden (USA)
Fri March 22 2019 - BUFFALO New York - Keybank Center (USA)
Mon March 25 2019 - WASHINGTON District Of Columbia - Capital One Arena (USA)
Tue March 26 2019 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia (USA)
Thu March 28 2019 - CLEVELAND Ohio - Quicken Loans Arena (USA)
Sat March 30 2019 - UNCASVILLE Connecticut - Mohegan Sun Arena (USA)
Mon April 01 2019 - MONTREAL Quebec - Bell Centre (Canada)
Wed April 03 2019 - TORONTO Ontario - Scotiabank Arena (Canada)
Fri April 05 2019 - DETROIT Michigan - Little Caesars Arena (USA)
Sun April 07 2019 - CHICAGO Illinois - United Center (USA)
Mon April 08 2019 - CHICAGO Illinois - United Center (USA)
Wed April 10 2019 - COLUMBUS Ohio - Value City Arena - Schottenstein Center (USA)
Fri April 12 2019 - INDIANAPOLIS Indiana - Bankers Life Fieldhouse (USA)
Sat April 13 2019 - ST LOUIS Missouri - Enterprise Center (USA)
Mon April 15 2019 - MILWAUKEE Wisconsin - Fiserv Forum (USA)
Wed April 17 2019 - SAINT PAUL Minnesota - Xcel Energy Center (USA)
Thu April 18 2019 - OMAHA Nebraska - CHI Health Center (USA)
Sat April 20 2019 - DENVER Colorado - Pepsi Center (USA)
Mon April 22 2019 - SALT LAKE CITY Utah - Vivint Smart Home Arena (USA)
Thu April 25 2019 - EDMONTON Alberta - Rogers Place (Canada)
Sat April 27 2019 - VANCOUVER British Columbia - Rogers Arena (Canada)
Tue April 30 2019 - PORTLAND Oregon - Theater of the Clouds at Moda Center (USA)
Thu May 02 2019 - SAN JOSE California - SAP Center (USA)
Fri May 03 2019 - SACRAMENTO California - Golden 1 Center (USA)
Mon May 06 2019 - LOS ANGELES California - Staples Center (USA)
Tue May 07 2019 - LOS ANGELES California - Staples Center (USA)
Fri May 10 2019 - LOS ANGELES California - Forum Los Angeles (USA)
Tue May 14 2019 - PHOENIX Arizona - Talking Stick Resort Arena (USA)
Fri May 17 2019 - SAN ANTONIO Texas - AT&T Center (USA)
Sun May 19 2019 - HOUSTON Texas - Toyota Center (USA)
Tue May 21 2019 - DALLAS Texas - American Airlines Center (USA)
Thu May 23 2019 - OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahoma - Chesapeake Arena (USA)
Sat May 25 2019 - NEW ORLEANS Louisiana - Smoothie King Center (USA)
Tue May 28 2019 - TAMPA Florida - Amalie Arena (USA)
Wed May 29 2019 - ORLANDO Florida - Amway Center (USA)
Fri May 31 2019 - MIAMI Florida - American Airlines Arena (USA)
Sat June 01 2019 - MIAMI Florida - American Airlines Arena (USA)
Tue June 04 2019 - RALEIGH North Carolina - PNC Arena (USA)
Fri June 07 2019 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Bridgestone Arena (USA)
Sat June 08 2019 - ATLANTA Georgia - State Farm Arena (USA)
Mon June 10 2019 - CHARLOTTE North Carolina - Spectrum Center (USA)
Wed June 12 2019 - PITTSBURGH Pennsylvania - PPG Paints Arena (USA)
Fri June 14 2019 - BROOKLYN New York - Barclays Center (USA)
Sat June 15 2019 - BROOKLYN New York - Barclays Center (USA)
Tue June 18 2019 - NEW YORK New York - Madison Square Garden (USA)
Wed June 19 2019 - NEW YORK New York - Madison Square Garden (USA)
Fri June 21 2019 - WASHINGTON District Of Columbia - Capital One Arena (USA)
Sat June 22 2019 - BOSTON Massachusetts - TD Garden (USA)
Mon June 24 2019 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia (USA)
Wed June 26 2019 - TORONTO Ontario - Scotiabank Arena (Canada)
Sat August 17 2019 - LONDON O2 Arena
Mon August 19 2019 - LONDON O2 Arena
Tue August 20 2019 - LONDON O2 Arena
Fri August 23 2019 - AMSTERDAM Ziggo Dome (Netherlands)
Sat August 24 2019 - AMSTERDAM Ziggo Dome (Netherlands)
Tue August 27 2019 - PARIS AccorHotels Arena (France)
Wed August 28 2019 - PARIS AccorHotels Arena (France)
Fri August 30 2019 - ANTWERP Sportpaleis (Belgium)
Sun September 01 2019 - COLOGNE Lanxess Arena (Germany)
Tue September 03 2019 - VIENNA Stadthalle (Austria)
Thu September 05 2019 - HAMBURG Barclaycard Arena (Germany)
Sun September 08 2019 - PRAGUE O2 Arena (Czech Republic)
Mon September 09 2019 - KRAKOW Tauron Arena (Poland)
Wed September 11 2019 - AMSTERDAM Ziggo Dome (Netherlands)
Sat September 14 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Sun September 15 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Tue September 17 2019 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Thu September 19 2019 - SHEFFIELD FlyDSA Arena
Sun September 22 2019 - DUBLIN 3Arena Dublin
Mon September 23 2019 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Tue October 01 2019 - COPENHAGEN Royal Arena (Denmark)
Thu October 03 2019 - OSLO Telenor Arena (Norway)
Sat October 05 2019 - HELSINKI Hartwall Arena (Finland)
Mon October 07 2019 - STOCKHOLM Ericsson Globe (Sweden)
Thu October 10 2019 - BERLIN Mercedes Benz Arena (Germany)
Sun October 13 2019 - ZURICH Hallenstadion (Switzerland)

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