Last month Iggy Azalea became a household name. Nearly everyone knows the words to her smash hit “Fancy.” Read the article by my fellow Badger Senator, S. Elyse Schultz – she wrote about the rise to fame of Iggy Azalea. I want to highlight an artist that has grown on the coattails of Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande. To be fair, Ariana Grande had a hit single of her own last year, “The Way,” feat. Mac Miller and launched her first album Yours Truly last year as well. After the success of her first album, Grande is making a second album, and the first single released is called “Problems.” Ironic that it features Iggy Azalea, the girl that not only a month earlier gained global recognition on her sassy summer hit, “Fancy.”
Some may say that Ariana Grande is only now truly receiving notice because she is working with the IT artist of 2014, but others claim she as already well established and simply made a smart industry move in featuring other up and coming artists on her second album. Yet I am even more interested in Ariana Grande’s beginnings before any of her studio albums or hip-hop credentials.
I am a bit of a musical theatre nerd and Ariana Grande debuted her career in 13 on Broadway in 2008. This musical featured all teenagers and followed the life of a young boy as he faces a move to a different state, a divorce in his family, and his Bar Mitzvah. After a stint on Broadway, it was obvious Grande could sing, and after a bit more acting, she landed the role that first got her noticed by me and a whole new type of audience. She originated the role of Cat Valentine in the hit Nickelodeon TV show, Victorious in 2011. This show followed a group of high school students at a performing arts school, so the show again, featured a lot of singing. The target audience, around 10-17, was a lot of the fans Grande still has now. Just like Miley Cyrus, her fans have grown with her, although maybe not to the same scale as the Miley phenomenon. Many now forget that she was on a kids show, and a fantastic kids show at that. It was one of the few young shows that was witty, interesting, and entertaining all in one, and because of that and proving her signing chops, she has only grown from there. She has many other costars who sang on the show as well, and were more prominently featured, because she was a side character, in no way the lead character, yet she is the one that has done the best since the show ended in 2012.
On the rise still, my prediction is that Ariana Grande will continue to rise and will in a very short time be an A-List star in the same ranks as Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. As much as I look down upon kid stars becoming singers, this appeared to happen organically. She took a break from acting, a lot of musical centered acting as well, where she showed she could already sing, and a pop artist arose from the ashes. I appreciate the way Ariana Grande went about her professional career, in a straightforward, right to the music, the only thing that mattered. So as I said, keep an eye on her, because she is immensely talented and has nowhere to go but up.
Written by Alaina Stevenson