Ariana Grande has just released her new album, “Sweetener”, and she sat down with Ebro Darden on Apple Music’s Beats 1 for her first interview since the album dropped.
In the wide-ranging interview, the 25-year-old discussed early fan reactions to “Sweetener”, her whirlwind romance with Pete Davidson and how the trauma of the Manchester terror attack continues to influence her work.
“I named it ‘Sweetener’ because it’s a yummy vibe,” Grande revealed of the album’s title. Admitting it’s a bit of a departure from her earlier music, Grande described the album as feeling “more like what I listen to and what I’ve been craving to do.”
She added: “I’ve played the game. I’ve made the pop bangers, and I wanted to do something that felt more like home, and was more like me as a person.”
One of the songs on the new album is titled “Pete Davidson”, and she explained why she decided to get literal when writing a song about her fiance. “It’s called ‘Pete Davidson’ because it’s about Pete,” she revealed. “I was just like, ‘I’m going to call it ‘Pete.’ Why not?’ Just relax, it’s who it’s about, keep it real. I was literally going to call it, ’This Is About Pete Davidson’.”
She also opened up about how they met when she appeared on “Saturday Night Live”. “I jokingly said during ‘SNL’ that I’m going to marry that man. I was joking. I thought he was cutest thing, and clever and brilliant. It was a little crush… We reconnected when I was in New York and doing promo. Scooter [Braun] was going to ‘SNL’, and said he was visiting Pete. I said ‘tell him I said hi,’ and he texted me, ‘Yo, it’s Pete,’ and we were inseparable.”
Discussing the Manchester bombing, which took the lives of 22 fans and left dozens more injured, Grande says the experience left her forever changed. “When you see this s**t on the news, it affects you, but not the same way as when you’re there,” she said. “You tweet a pic, send condolences, and move on. And then Christmas comes and you think about it, and you’re like ‘f**k, I’m so sorry. People are permanently affected by this s**t.’ Perspective changes your life. You want to stay in the moment and try not to give into fear, because obviously the whole point of finishing the tour was being there for my fans. You want to set the same example and keep going.”
In fact, the final track on “Sweetener” — “Get Well Soon” — pays tribute to the victims with 40 seconds of silence, bringing the song’s running time to exactly 5-minutes, 22-seconds in order to commemorate the date of the bombing, 5/22.
Fans took to Twitter to share their feelings about the touching tribute.