America’s newest sweetheart, Ariana Grande, is gearing up for the release of her anticipated sophomore album My Everything, and the Pop diva in the making flew out of her “Break Free” video and landed on the cover of Billboard’s latest issue.
Currently preceded by three huge singles (“Problem,” “Break Free” and “Bang Bang”), the 21-year-olds second effort appears to be a slight shift away from the soft urban influences of singles from her debut Yours Truly.
Speaking with Billboard in Los Angeles, Grande opened up about her odd interests as a child. “[I was] a very weird little girl” growing up in Boca Raton, Fla.: “Dark and deranged. I always wanted to have skeleton face paint on or be wearing a Freddy Krueger mask, and I would carry a hockey stick around. I was like a mini-Helena Bonham Carter,” she revealed. “For my fifth birthday party we had a Jaws theme and all my friends left crying. I mean, I still am that way. But when I was little it was more concerning. There was a stage, when I was 3 or 4, where my mom thought I might grow up to be a serial killer.”
Grande also spoke about her goals with her first album. “I remember when I first came to L.A. to meet with my managers, I was like, ‘I want to make an R&B album,’ ” she recalls. “They were like [dropping her voice a few registers], ‘Um, that’s a helluva goal! Who is going to buy a 14-year-old’s R&B album?!'”
She has a natural connection to music with real heart and soul. “When I was 14, I wanted to make a straight-up, like, India Arie record,” remembers Grande. “Something really soulful. I honestly think it could be a past-life thing. You know those things where you love something but you don’t know why, or you’re scared of something but you don’t know why? I feel like all of those things are from another life.”
On the other hand she is obsessed with Madonna and gushed about being able to collaborate with her one day. “Oh my God, my heart would stop,” she said. “She is strength, she is freedom, she is wisdom beyond anybody’s comprehension.”
Ariana wasn’t exactly sold on her new album’s lead single “Problem” though. “I loved the idea of it, but the chorus, the whisper was so shocking to me,” she says referring to the restrained Big Sean chorus.
Read the full cover story here, and you can pick up the issue now.
Ariana’s new album My Everything will hit stores on August 25.