Ariana Grande is Vogue Magazine‘s latest cover star.
The songbird, who has made an enviable habit of nesting at the top of the charts, glows in the Annie Leibovitz lensed shoot for the August issue of the fashion bible.
And while her photos make for an arresting sight, her candid interview proved equally engaging.
During the frank feature, the 26-year-old opened up about the “character” she channels as she navigates Pop stardom, her more adult lyrics, Manchester, and being bold enough to make (and release) the music she truly wants. For, as relates to the latter, she cites earlier offerings as lacking “substance.”
Quotes, including words from Patti Labelle, below…
On The “Ariana Grande” Character:
“I like having my funny character that I play that feels like this exaggerated version of myself. It protects me. But also I love disrupting it for the sake of my fans and making clear that I’m a person—because that’s something I enjoy fighting for. I can’t help disrupt it. I’m incredibly impulsive and passionate and emotional and just reckless. The music is very personal and very real, but yes, if you can be me for Halloween, if drag queens can dress up as me, then I’m a character. Go to your local drag bar, and you’ll see it. That’s, like, the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s better than winning a Grammy.”
On Now Making The Music She Wants, After A Period Of Not:
“There was a two-album period where I was doing half the songs for me and half the songs to solidify my spot in pop music. A lot of my singles have been hilariously lacking in substance. You’re talking to someone who put ‘Side to Side’ out as a single. I love that song, but it’s just a fun song about sex.”
On Singing Raunchy Lyrics With A Primarily Young Audience:
“They’re for sure gonna have it. I promise. I promise that your kid’s gonna have sex. So if she asks you what the song’s about, talk about it.”
On The Manchester Attack:
“It’s not my trauma. It’s those families’. It’s their losses, and so it’s hard to just let it all out without thinking about them reading this and reopening the memory for them.
I’m proud that we were able to raise a lot of money with the intention of giving people a feeling of love or unity, but at the end of the day, it didn’t bring anyone back. Everyone was like, Wow, look at this amazing thing, and I was like, What the f*ck are you guys talking about? We did the best we could, but on a totally real level we did nothing. I’m sorry.
I have a lot to say that could probably help people that I do want to share, but I have a lot that I still need to process myself and will probably never be ready to talk about. For a long time I didn’t want to talk to anyone about anything, because I didn’t want to think about anything. I kind of just wanted to bury myself in work and not focus on the real stuff, because I couldn’t believe it was real. I loved going back into the studio with Pharrell because he just has this magical outlook on everything. He truly believes that the light is coming. And I’m like, Bruh, is it, though?”
If one aspect of Grande’s career has been immune to critique, it’s her singing. Patti LaBelle came to know her several years ago, when Grande asked the R&B icon to perform at her birthday party. They have become friends. “She’s surpassed her peers,” LaBelle says. “And she does everything herself, which is not always the way with the young baby girls. She doesn’t need any machines. She’s a baby who’s able to sing like an older black woman.” LaBelle, whose four-year-old granddaughter, Gia, wears an Ariana ponytail, recalls the time when both singers performed for the Obamas at the Women of Soul concert at the White House. Grande was extremely nervous. “I said, ‘Girl, you’re a beast. Go up there and sing like that white-black woman you are.’ Ariana can sing me under the table—and listen, I can sing.”
While we’re still awaiting that undeniable opus from Ms. Grande (one we know she has in her), we’ve long loved her talent and are here for how she’s coming into her own – both as a star and as an artist.