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Jordin Sparks’ Former Music Producer Says She’s The ‘Originator’ of Ariana Grande’s ‘Yours Truly’ Album

Jordin Sparks at 2023 MusiCares Persons Of The Year Honoring Berry Gordy And Smokey Robinson, Ariana Grande on 'The Voice' season 21Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage, Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Recently, Jordin Sparks’ former music producer, Harmony Samuels, spoke about his experiences working with the American Idol winner and Ariana Grande. Apparently the record producer now claims that Sparks is “the originator” of Grande’s debut album, Yours Truly.

Harmony Samuels Looks Back at Producing For Fantasia, Jordin Sparks, Ariana Grande

Looking back at 2013, Harmony Samuels revealed that he was given the task of co-executive producing two albums, Fantasia’s Side Effects of You and Ariana Grande‘s Yours Truly. Side Effects of You by Fantasia is known for tracks “Lose to Win” and “Without Me” featuring Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott. While Grande’s debut album featured hits such as “The Way” featuring Mac Miller.

“While I was doing that album for [Fantasia], I was working on those records for Ariana Grande, but they weren’t Ariana Grande records — they were Jordin Sparks records,” Samuels said.

For those who may not know, Samuels produced and co-wrote “The Way” alongside Sevyn Streeter, Malcolm McCormick and Jordin Sparks. At the time, the American Idol Season Six winner was working with Jive Records in partnership with 19 Recordings. While working with Jive Records, she released her self-titled debut album, as well as her album Battlefield.


How ‘The Way’ Became an Ariana Grande Song

Ahead of Sparks’ departure from the label, she was working on her third album. On the album was a song she wrote about her boyfriend at the time, Jason Derulo. In modern day, the song is recognized as “The Way” by Grande featuring Miller.

Even though “The Way” was originally set to be on Sparks’ album, Grande’s team fell in love with the song as soon as they heard it. As many know, this song remains a hit in present day. Arguably, Grande’s success branched off of the popularity of this song.

“Jordin Sparks is the originator of those records and the blueprint behind who Ari is now,” Samuels said. “My vision was for Jordin to be that person.”

In June 2013, “The Way” had peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. In current day, the song has been certified 3x multi-platinum. To this day, Samuels appreciates Grande for believing in him and their creative partnership.

“Kudos to Ari. She did a lot of work on that [album],” He said. “She didn’t just cut those records; [she] put Mac Miller on those records. [She] called Big Sean. [She] had those relationships. We worked extremely hard together. She deserves all the success.”

In recent years, Sparks has also opened up about her support for Grande. Clearly, there’s no bad blood between the two.

The Reason Sparks Never Released The Song

When “The Way” was originally created, Sparks was absorbed into RCA Records’ roster, following Jive Records’ shutdown. Due to the size of RCA Records, Sparks reportedly had a challenging time getting support from the label.

“Unfortunately, RCA didn’t see the value in what I was producing for Jordin, and they proceeded to go in a different direction,” he notes.

At the time, Sparks got vocal about her disappointment in the label. She “didn’t hate” the label, but was openly frustrated with their timeline. They continually delayed her third album.

“I really want to put this music out for my fans and it’s really good,” She said.

In 2014, Sparks parted way with RCA Records. In the same year she signed with Salaam Remi’s imprint Louder Than Life in conjunction with Sony Music. Then, she released her long-awaited album, Right Here Right Now.

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