Talent Recap

You Won’t Believe How Ariana Grande Actually Began Her Career

Ariana GrandeInstagram/NBC

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Ariana Grande has practically been a household name since her Nickelodeon role of Cat Valentine on Victorious, but did you know this wasn’t her first claim to fame? Before this pop star ever stepped foot on the Nickelodeon sound stage, she was already known and loved by some in New York City from her time on Broadway.

Grande was born in Boca Raton, Florida and began her musical career at the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater. At this theater, she earned her first lead role of the title character in the musical Annie. At only 15 years-old, Grande went to New York City for her Broadway debut in the musical 13.

After her time on Broadway, Grande was cast as the iconic role of Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon series, Victorious. Cat Valentine is a fire-truck-red headed bubbly teen who is known for her ditziness and odd sense of humor. In this role, Grande had to dye her hair bright red every other week to stay in character.


The CEO of Republic Records Offered Her a Record Deal from YouTube Cover Songs

When the first season of Victorious wrapped, Grande began working on her debut album. To prepare for this album’s release, she began seeing vocal coach Eric Vetro. During this time, Grande made her first Hollywood music appearance on the Victorious soundtrack for the song “Give it Up.”

From there, she couldn’t stop singing. Between takes she would film herself singing covers of Adele, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey and upload them to YouTube. As a result of those videos, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Republic Records offered the singer a record deal. 

In December of 2011, Grande released her first single “Put Your Hearts Up.” This song was the dictionary definition of bubble gum pop and is said to have been a part of a teen-oriented album that was never released. She has since hidden the song on her Vevo page.

Grande remained in the role of Cat Valentine from 2010 to 2014. Victorious sadly only lasted until 2013, but Nickelodeon created a spin-off series that featured Grande’s character. Sam and Cat remained on Nickelodeon for one year before it was cancelled.

On August 30, 2013 Grande released her first album, Yours Truly. This album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums Chart. This album did extremely well as a first release, selling 138,000 copies in its first week.

Amid her new found fame, Grande joined Justin Bieber for three shows of his “Believe” Tour, from there she kicked off her own mini tour “The Listening Sessions.” Within her breakthrough year, she was nominated for numerous awards given the success of her album.

Grande’s Music Career Takes Off

In August of 2014, Grande released her second album, My Everything. The Billboard chart ratings, awards and recognitions kept rolling in for this singer. Some of the biggest songs from this album are, “Problem” featuring Iggy Azalea, “Bang Bang” featuring Nicki Minaj and Jessie J, and “Love me Harder,” which features The Weeknd. This was really the era of music where she was becoming the singer we know and love her as today.

In 2015, Grande embarked on her first worldwide tour, The Honeymoon Tour. During that same year she also guest starred on episodes of FOX’s series, Scream Queens and released her second Christmas EP Christmas and Chill.

Next up came Grande’s album Dangerous Woman in 2016. At this time the 22 year-old premiered a new and improved sexy sound. Her music video for “Dangerous Woman” was actually one of the first times her fans had seen her naturally colored hair without any type of ponytail.


Everything was going great for Grande until May 22, 2017 when her concert in the Manchester Arena was the target of a suicide bombing. This bombing left 23 people killed with hundreds injured. Immediately after the incident, the singer cancelled the rest of the tour and held a benefit concert for the families in need. Grande raised $23 million at the concert. The Manchester concert still haunts the singer, but she credits therapy for helping her through the coping process.

Her Healing Journey and What Brought Today’s Hits

Grande released her next album, Sweetener, in 2018, which was almost an instant hit. Her fans were so excited to hear her put out new music after the tragedy. Sweetener was loved by Ariana fans and the academy, this album won the singer her first Grammy Award.

During this same year, Grande’s world was rocked once again. In September of 2018, Mac Miller, her ex-boyfriend tragically passed away from a drug overdose. The couple remained friends after their split, so Grande was heartbroken over his tragic passing and took some time away from the public eye.

She returned to the public eye in early 2019 with her next single “7 Rings.” This single debuted at No. 1 and broke both streaming and recording industry records. This made Grande the third female artist with multiple No. 1 debuts after Mariah Carey and Britney Spears.

The Thank U Next album premiered in February 2019 and became an empire for the popstar. This album is a fun and meaningful look at what it’s like to date young.


To this day, Ariana Grande is a household name. Her last album Positions came out a year ago on October 30, 2020, and she has won her second Grammy Award for a collaboration with Lady Gaga.

This singer is now one of our celebrity coaches on The Voice and is merely days away from releasing her makeup line, R.E.M. Beauty. Ariana skyrocketed to fame and has stayed up there since the beginning. Her days on Victorious were truly only the beginning of her career.

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