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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, March 3, 2024

10 years of ‘The Way’: Ariana Grande’s career a decade later

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Ariana Grande is pictured on the Dangerous Woman Tour.

Ten years ago, the budding Nickelodeon-actress-turned-pop-star was taking the first steps toward a lucrative music career. Ariana Grande released her first lead single “The Way” featuring Mac Miller on March 25, 2013, off her debut album “Yours Truly” (2013). The single debuted within the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, securing Grande her first career entry. Grande has since continued her streak, becoming the only artist to debut the lead single off her first six studio albums in the top 10. The only music to precede “The Way?” A standalone single titled “Put Your Hearts Up” that Grande jokingly has tried to bury in the past. In an interview with MTV, Grande said, “I still have nightmares about it, and I made them hide it [the music video] on my Vevo page.”

With a decade now under her belt, let’s dive into some of Grande’s career highlights thus far that have cemented her well within the music industry.

  • “Yours Truly” (2013) – Grande’s debut album, “Yours Truly,” debuted atop the Billboard 200 with 138,000 units sold, an incredible feat for an emerging artist. “The Way” peaked at No. 9 on the Hot 100, and audiences were quickly struck by Grande’s vocal range, often citing similarities to that of the great Mariah Carey.
  • “My Everything” (2014) – Released just under a year later, “My Everything” saw Grande score four top 10 hits (the most for any artist that year), including the lead single “Problem” featuring Iggy Azalea, peaking at No. 2. She was nominated for her first two Grammy awards for her sophomore project.
  • “Dangerous Woman” (2016) – Preceded by her standalone top 10 single “Focus,” the title track and lead single of “Dangerous Woman” debuted at No. 10 and eventually peaked at No. 8. Grande’s highest-peaking song from this era? “Side To Side” featuring Nicki Minaj, coming in at No. 4. Grande would be nominated for two more Grammys during this album cycle.
  • “Sweetener” (2018) – Following the terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester, England during the Dangerous Woman Tour, Grande took some time crafting her fourth project which centered on “bringing light to a situation or to someone’s life, or somebody else brings life to your life. Sweetening the situation.” She’d earn two more top 10 hits with the lead single “no tears left to cry” peaking at No. 3. “Sweetener” earned Grande two more Grammy nominations, and she won her first award for Best Pop Vocal Album.
  • “thank u, next” (2019) – During the time preceding and shortly after the release of “Sweetener,” Grande experienced a number of life-changing events, including an engagement and subsequent breakup with comedian Pete Davidson, as well as the death of her former boyfriend and frequent collaborator Mac Miller. In response, Grande crafted her fifth album “thank u, next,” and released it less than six months after the release of “Sweetener.” Her passion shone through, and Grande earned her first two No. 1 singles with the title track and “7 rings.” Grande also became the first solo artist and second act ever (after The Beatles) to hold the entire top three spots on the Hot 100 with “7 rings,” “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” and the title track. The album went on to break multiple streaming records at the time, earning the greatest streaming debut for a female album and the largest streaming day and week in Spotify history for “7 rings.” She was nominated for four more Grammys with this album.
  • “Positions” (2020) – Her third release in three years, “Positions” debuted atop the Billboard 200 and held the spot for two weeks, tying with her previous album for the most weeks at No. 1. Led by the No. 1 debut title track and lead single, “Positions” continued to shine, earning Grande another two Grammy nods.
  • Singles and collaborations – Outside of Grande’s studio albums, she acquired another four No. 1 singles with Justin Bieber (“Stuck with U”), Lady Gaga (“Rain On Me”) and The Weeknd (“Save Your Tears” and “Die For You”), earning a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her duet with Lady Gaga. In 2020, Grande became the first and only artist to earn three No. 1 debuts in a single calendar year.

With two upcoming “Wicked” movies on the way, Grande has taken a step back from releasing studio albums for the time being. However, she has since accumulated the 10th-most No. 1s for a female act, fourth-most Hot 100 entries among women (tied with Aretha Franklin), two Grammy awards, a total of seven No. 1 singles, five No. 1 albums and is currently the female artist with the most No. 1s of the 2020s. The one thing that’s certain in Grande’s next 10 years? Success.