Grande's grand success: Collaborating, yet finding her own voice

Many teenyboppers try to use their TV success to catapult themselves into the music industry and often fall with the lack of public support. However, one artist had no problem making a bang this summer with her fresh style.

Former Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande has taken over the world of commanding vocals by dominating radios across the country this summer. Grande topped the charts and filled our summer playlists with her hits “Problem,” “Break Free” and “Bang Bang.” There’s an important commonality between these hits: They are all collaborations. Grande shows her ability to grow as an artist by working with others in the industry that share similarities and differ in taste from her own personal style.

Seven of the 12 songs on her latest album “My Everything,” which was released in late August, were recorded in collaboration with other artists. And each song sounds like collaborations should: two artists fusing their different styles in a complementary three-minute jam.

Her journey as a budding recording artist has been supported by her thousands of fans, whom she nicknamed her “Arianators.” Grande has been known to address her followers via Twitter and Instagram as herself, not through a PR agent.

“The hits clicked, the fans rallied, the tastemakers found in Grande’s revivalism something paradoxically timely … and, with just one album in the can, critics already charted Grande on a career as long as (Mariah) Carey’s,” Katherine St. Asaph of said.

Some may say that Grande has piggy-backed off of the success of other artists in her collaborations, but in truth, she has been to great lengths to triumph in finding her own individuality. Asaph uses the world “revivalism” to describe Grande’s recent success, but I disagree. She's gone through a journey.

Grande started her music career in 2011 with “Put Your Hearts Up,” a pop hit that she didn’t share the authenticity of her current hits.

The artist then fought struggles through the cast of Victorious, found success in Sam and Cat, which was later cancelled in late July 2014. She began to develop her own sound during this journey. Grande released her first album, “Yours Truly,” in August of 2013, which topped charts with her hit “The Way,” a collaboration with Mac Miller.

Here we are a year later, and Grande continues to grow from the lessons of her life as an actress and a rising pop artist. Grande seems to mature with every new single and “My Everything” acts a representation of the poise adult this 21-year-old former Nick star has become.

“Yet what's truly grown-up about 'My Everything' isn't the bedroom talk but the confidence with which Grande expresses herself, a real shift from her charmingly tentative manner on 'Yours Truly,'” Mikael Wood of the LA Times said.

Grande has developed a healthy level of confidence in her own abilities as an artist in her transition from Nick kid to chart topping music phenomenon. Her progression as an individual has been an inspiring one, proving that even through times of insecurities, success is attainable.

“But what leaves an impression is Grande herself, deeply cheerful yet with guns blazing, an innocent newcomer no more,” Wood said.

Grande has left a promising mark in the music market and will continue to rise in the industry with her successful collaborations and personal understanding of her voice. She acts as a great role model for an industry lacking in stable, uncontroversial artists like herself.

Reach the columnist at or follow her on Twitter @BeccaSmouse

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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