Ariana Grande: the problem of the millionaire song that failed and gave way to the most honest popstar

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There was once a long time ago when Ariana Grande she was about to be just another singer and not a popstar. It was October 30, 2015. That day it premiered focus, the lead single from an album that was going to be decisive for his future within an industry. A convulsion that, at that time, was about to witness the decline of its most important exponents. While the music of Katy Perry, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and other stars began to falter or disappear (cheers, Riri), Ariana took a gamble: either it lived its rise to the top or it was relegated to the limbo to which those remote-controlled projects without personality fall. that do not finish curdling.

Anyone who looks back and looks at the numbers will think I’ve gone crazy. focus It debuted at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and has accumulated stratospheric figures in the streaming market: more than 300 million on Spotify and almost 1 billion on YouTube. If we look at the data, at the fight, focus was one of Ariana Grande’s most profitable lead singles. At the time, however, in the context of the artist at that time, she was a poisoned candy. There was no human being with even a little hearing who did not think that focusdespite its powerful production and Ariana’s impeccable voice, shamelessly sought to replicate the success of problem. The same structure and almost the same melody as the song with which she became known worldwide and which brought with her an album that, for many, was the consolidation of her as a top-level popstar.

Ariana Grande at the 2015 American Music Awards

Ariana Grande at the 2015 American Music Awards / Frazer Harrison/AMA2015

focus was a Issue 2.0 far-fetched, and I’m not saying that. Time magazine put her on its 2015 blacklist.. Billboard was not very compassionate either and defined the song as a replica of problem, but it worked worse. Many others repeated the refrain that Ariana Grande had not dared to leave her comfort zone in what was surely a crucial comeback for her professional future. What happened next was a smart decision. Perhaps one of the most intelligent seen within pop royalty. focus disappeared from the map. Not literally, it’s still available on Spotify, but it radically changed the strategy. What was initially going to be was loaded moonlight – working title for that third album – and became a Dangerous Womanorchestrating a more mature work endowed with personality where focus did not exist. It was a bye and if I’ve seen you I don’t remember – it is only included as a bonus track in the deluxe edition that was released in Japan -.

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Ariana Grande was smart, she tasted the candy of focus and he spat it out before it became bitter. She realized that this was not the way. When you seek success based on what worked and you don’t take risks, you don’t make your career evolve, you stake yourself out and run the risk of remaining in a showcase of hits that come and go. Dangerous Womanthe new and true version of Dangerous Woman, it was a necessary turn that put her on the right path. She put the focus on her artist self and was honest with herself.Dangerous Woman It more accurately represents where I am now. It is empowerment and strength. “Before, I was afraid to be myself and make decisions and talk about things that I am passionate about,” she said in an interview. On Air With Ryan Seacrest.

Obviously, Ariana Grande’s star would not have faded if she had decided to include focus in Dangerous Woman. However, discarding that song with millions and millions of streams – and others that were part of the original project – did give it some credibility and there is nothing like a popstar with credibility. Everything that came after, everything she did from that moment on, were correct decisions that have allowed her to be, almost ten years later, the biggest pop girl of her generation. and history in a firmament in which there are very few like her.


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.