Ariana Grande

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Ariana Grande performs on Saturday Night Live

Ariana Grande performs on Saturday Night Live

Ariana Grande made her debut on Saturday Night Live last night and she brought The Weeknd along for the ride.

For her first song, “Break Free,” Grande sported her now signature cat ears and thigh-high boots. The singer focused on singing, sitting down for the first half of the performance before joining her backup dancers for the remainder of the Zedd-produced EDM hit.

She brought out The Weekend during her second performance to perform their collaboration “Love Me Harder,” one of the standout cuts from her sophomore album My Everything.

This era’s releases and performances are definitely proving that Grande is a mainstay in pop music. Continue reading

Chris Brown and Ariana Grande in "Don't Be Gone Too Long" video

Chris Brown and Ariana Grande in “Don’t Be Gone Too Long” video

Fans first learned of a Chris Brown and Ariana Grande collaboration in February when the two singers uploaded pictures from their dance rehearsals to social media and tweeted lyrics that seemed to belong to the same song. Then, in April, Brown released a one-take clip of his dance scene for the video.

Unfortunately, fans learned the album version of the song, titled “Don’t Be Gone Too Long,” doesn’t feature Grande when Brown’s album leaked a few days ago.

That hasn’t stopped the singer from unveiling the long-awaited video featuring Grande as a ballerina-dancing princess. After falling in love with Brown, who many believe to be an improper suitor, she is locked away.

As with all fairytale endings, the two lovers are eventually reconnected.

The video is good, but I predict people will mostly talk about the fact that Grande has her hair down the entire time.

Also, the album version isn’t as good as this one.

X is out Sept. 16. Continue reading

Sevyn Streeter covers Ariana Grande's "The Way"

Sevyn Streeter covers Ariana Grande’s “The Way”

Before releasing her debut solo EP Call Me Crazy, But… last year Sevyn Streeter was writing some pretty big hits for other artists. Ariana Grande’s breakout single “The Way” is one of them. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve been waiting for Streeter to cover the song since I found out she wrote it and The Grammys finally got her to do it.

Unfortunately, Streeter’s version of the song sounds a little strained vocally. In this case, she definitely did right to give this hit away…

Or maybe I’m just setting my cover standards too high today. 

Watch the cover here.

Republic

Republic

There’s no denying the fact Ariana Grande is one of the best vocalists to come out in pop music recently. We knew that one single into her singing career and it’s become increasingly clear over the last year following the release of her debut album Yours Truly last August.

On My Everything, Grande’s teams up with the likes of Zedd, Ryan Tedder and Max Martin (versus Babyface on Yours Truly), all of whom pretty much guarantee pop hits such as the album’s lead singles “Problem” and “Break Free.” There are still quite a few hip-hop collaborations and the R&B vibe isn’t completely lost, but it’s no longer the element that holds everything together. Perhaps that’s why My Everything doesn’t feel as cohesive as Yours Truly.

Aided by the success of these singles and “Bang Bang,” a powerhouse collaboration with Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, initially intended for J’s album, but also featured on the deluxe edition of My Everything it is clear that with the right promo this album could achieve chart success. But, eventually, most of the songs on this project will be forgotten.

With Yours Truly, Grande stood out as the pop singer with the Mariah Carey-esque high notes, powerful belts, melodic melismas and the 90s R&B-inspired songs. In this regard My Everything is a less ambitious effort. Grande has already proven her talent as a singer is legit. She’s not showing of this time around. And, while she’s never been known for lyrical depth, this album is definitely more concerned with the overall feel of the music versus the meaning (see “Break Free”). Gone are moments like the powerful Nathan Styles-assisted ballad “Almost Is Never Enough,” an aching duet laced with soulful vocal runs. In its place is a simplistic solo piano ballad written by another boy band standout (One Direction’s Harry Styles)

While both albums feature different sounds, they are similar in one major way: They both feature a young powerhouse singer trying on various sounds in search of a signature style to call her own. She’s churned out quite a few hits along the way (three are currently in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100), but My Everything suggests she won’t be committing to a particular sound any time in the near future. Continue reading

Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj perform "Bang Bang" at the MTV VMAs

Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj perform “Bang Bang” at the MTV VMAs

The MTV VMAs wasn’t spectacular this year, but it wasn’t terrible either. It was fun, but not particularly memorable (Beyonce aside). Honestly, we all know that how well an awards show is received is directly related to acceptance speech antics and performances. This year, everyone kept their acceptance speeches short and shade-free and the performances, while good, weren’t instant classics, either.

Ariana Grande opened the show by coming out of a spaceship and performing her intergalactic Zedd-assisted hit single “Break Free” from her sophomore album My Everything, which is out today. Ironically, Grande’s kid friendly performance gave way to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” where the singer humped the floor and recreated the video’s chair sequence in a green two piece. Minaj ran off the stage to change as Grande joined Jessie J on the stage for their major collaboration “Bang Bang” just minutes after the product placement-heavy video debuted online. The rapper made it to the stage for her verse, but she didn’t have time to zip up her dress so she just held is shut with her hands for the end of their set. Aside from Beyonce’s 15-minute-long performance, this was the performance highlight of the night. Wardrobe malfunction and all. Sam Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer, Maroon 5, Usher and Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora all delivered solid, albeit conventional, performances, too.

Surprisingly the night’s biggest disappointment performance-wise was Taylor Swift. The good news is she didn’t twerk. The bad news is she just twisted around the stage with a bunch of men in suits to her new single “Shake It Off”. If it wasn’t for the commentary about the dancer who was bitten by a snake during Nicki Minaj’s rehearsal the day before (The anaconda boa constrictor DID…), the performance would’ve been a total snooze. Swift, you’re a full on pop star now. It’s time to step completely outside of the box.

Watch the performances below. Continue reading

Nicki Minaj, Jessie J and Ariana Grande in "Bang Bang" video

Nicki Minaj, Jessie J and Ariana Grande in “Bang Bang” video

With less than an hour to go before Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj open the VMAs with their explosive hit single “Bang Bang,” the Beats-sponsored music video has been released.

The ladies paint New York city pink in the fun video, which ends with the trio partying on a rooftop. In the visuals, Jessie J struts in the middle of the street, Ariana Grande holds court in her bedroom and Nicki Minaj travels in style.

It’s as good as a video with excessive product placement could be.

We’ll see how the performance goes…

The single will be featured on Jessie J’s forthcoming album as well as Ariana Grande’s sophomore effort, which hits stores tomorrow.

Watch the video here.

Instagram (Iggy Azalea)

Instagram (Iggy Azalea)

Who says there can’t be two reigning queens at once?

Both Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea have had amazing summers with the success of their singles “Problem” and “Fancy,” respectively. Now, the two “Problem” collaborators have reached another milestone together as both ladies have three songs each in the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Only two other female artists (Adele and Ashanti) have done the same in the past.

Grande occupies the fourth, seventh and tenth spot with “Break Free,” “Problem” and Jessie J’s “Bang Bang,” respectively, while Azalea sits pretty at numbers five (“Fancy”), seven (“Problem”) and eight (“Black Widow”).

The arrival of Azalea’s latest single “Black Widow’ in the top ten is likely a result of the video debuting in the last week. Jessie J, Grande and Nicki Minaj’s explosive collaboration could see a boost, too, after the video debuts during the MTV VMAs this Sunday (August 24). Azalea, J, Grande and Minaj have all been tapped as performers for this year’s show.

Meanwhile, Meghan Trainor’s Epic debut single “All About That Bass” is sitting pretty at the no. 2 spot, just underneath Magic!’s “Rude,” but that could all change thanks to a new(ish) pop star.

Taylor Swift released a new single, “Shake It Off,” earlier this week and it could debut at the no. 1 spot next week. The charts won’t be safe until some weeks, maybe months, after Swift’s forthcoming album 1989 drops on October 27.

And, Adele is supposed to be releasing a new album soon, too.

So, really, everyone else should just take an extended vacation well into 2015.

Head over to Billboard for the full list of this week’s top 10.

Republic

Republic

Ariana Grande’s sophomore album My Everything will be out in less than a week (August 25) and MTV is streaming four songs from the album to give fans a taste of what’s to come.

“Love Me Harder,” a collaboration with The Weeknd stands out instantly. The synth pop jam features raunchier lyrics than we’re used to hearing from a Grande record. “When I get you moaning you know it’s real. Can you feel the pressure between your hips? I’ll make it feel like the first time,” the Weeknd sings. Oh.

Elsewhere, “Be My Baby” starts off sounding like Grande is revisiting the sound she went for with “Right There,” the sweeping ballad “A Little Bit of Your Heart” immediately feels like one of the most chilling things she’s ever created and “Why Try” is a knocking midtempo kiss-off track with an irresistible refrain.

So far, including the singles (“Problem” and “Break Free”) that have been released, we’ve heard half of the 12 tracks that will be featured on the album. If the other six tracks are anywhere near as good, then this will be a solid sophomore effort for the young songstress.

Listen here.

Ariana Grande in "Break Free" video

Ariana Grande in “Break Free” video

Ariana Grande and Big Sean team up for the third time as rumors that a real-life relationship is brewing continue to spread.

Everything isn’t perfect in “Best Mistake,” though, as the lyrics touch on a relationship that probably should’ve ended a long time ago.

“You’re the best mistake I’ve ever made, but we hold on,” Grande sings over a shimmering piano melody, pings and strings.

Grande has worked with the rapper in this past for her Yours Truly single “Right There” and “Problem,” the lead single from her forthcoming followup. “Best Mistake” takes a much subtler approach sonically, but it’s still a solid cut.

The rumored couple is three for three.

My Everything will be released on August 25.

Update: Grande has released the video or her current single “Break Free.” The Zedd collaboration finds Grande playing a space warrior, fighting off all sorts of evil creatures and applying glittery lip gloss. Continue reading

Ariana Grande in “Problem” video

Ariana Grande in “Problem” video

Ariana Grande teams up with The Weeknd for My Everything album cut “Love Me Harder.”

It’s hard to judge the track based on the Intagram snippet released by Grande earlier this week, but it sounds like it will be another dance track.

In the teaser clip, which shows Grande playing the song from iTunes, the “Break Free” songstress can be heard singing the song’s title repetitively. The only hint of The Weeknd is a short riff towards the end.

My Everything will be released on August 25, less than 24 hours after Grande takes the MTV VMA stage. Continue reading

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