Date: July 24
Earlier this week, a cutie by the name of Ariana Grande was on Big Boy's Neighborhood (BIG BOOOY!) on Power 106.1 in L.A., rapping along to Big Sean's "Guap." We imagine some of you are saying, “Who the hell is Ariana Grande?” While others may be on some, “Who cares if shorty from Nickelodeon was on the radio spitting Big Sean rhymes?”
We’ll explain the former and hopefully you’ll join us in caring about the latter.
Ariana Grande, a 20-year-old actress and singer from Boca Raton, Fla., has spent the last five years entertaining a number of different crowds. She won a National Youth Theatre Association Award for her portrayal of Charlotte in the Broadway production of 13, and played the role of Miriam in the play Cuba Libre, before hitting the bright lights of Hollywood as Cat Valentine, the innocent ditz with the amazing voice on Nickelodeon’s Victorious. That was one of many shows that a man named Dan Schneider has created for Nickelodeon. Dan was a former actor who might be best known as playing Dennis Blunden in Head of the Class, although his work as a television producer has included a string of hits for Nickelodeon that includes All That, Keenan & Kel, The Amanda Show, and iCarly. Ariana Grande played Cat until Victorious’ run ended in in February of 2013, but she was never just an actress.
It was always known that Ariana had a great singing voice. She’s a soprano who has a four-octave range and can hit that glass-piercing “whistle register." She's frequently compared to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. In 2012, she and Victorious star Tori Vega sang “LA Boyz,” which was the first single from the third Victorious soundtrack. In the next logical move, it was announced that Ariana would be releasing her own album, Yours Truly, in September of 2013. Her sound dwells in that Mariah Carey pop/R&B lane, and has so far done well for her; the album’s first single, “The Way,” featured Mac Miller and sold 219,000 copies in its first week—making it the second best-selling first week of 2013, right behind Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie”—and has gone on to crack the million mark. Her follow-up single, “Baby I,” released earlier this week, features writing and production from legendary R&B producer/artist Babyface. It's another great summer record with some back-to-the-future Mariah flavor.
She’s still a Nickelodeon star, reprising her Cat Valentine role on Sam & Cat, where she joins former iCarly star Jennette McCurdy in a new Dan Schneider-produced comedy. So, with a hot new single and a hot new show on her current resume, it makes sense that Ariana’s radio promo run ended up on Power 106, where she showed Big Boy that she could spit a Big Sean verse with (relative) ease. Sure she messed up a line, but she didn’t kick it like a drunken poseur, either. Ariana has a clear love for the song, and we can only imagine how far her love of hip-hop goes. Fact of the matter is, the multi-talented shorty is a problem musically. Are we looking at the next Nicki Minaj? —Khal