This week I found myself reflecting upon the time and circumstances in which I started publishing Weekly Music Commentary. I had a very good idea of what I wanted to write about, and the criteria for the subjects of each feature. Moreover, with all the music blogs in the world today I believe that my message is unique. When I thought about my background, being born and raised in Chicago, my college and professional music career, and my years experience in print media; all are factors in my life that provide me with a distinctive approach to analyzing music and musicians. At one time I felt that Weekly Music Commentary would be much better if I was headquartered in New York or Los Angeles, but my residence in South Florida is another factor that adds to the “common person” feel of each article. After 142 posts there are now readers of Weekly Music Commentary from every corner of the world, and I take this moment to thank you all for coming along on my journey week by week and I will continue to write stories with you, the entire international audience in mind. With that being said, I am always fascinated when my search for talent, especially young and new talented musicians in the industry, leads me to someone in my own backyard of South Florida. This week I found another young, up and coming star from Boca Raton, Florida: Ariana Grande.
I am amazed at the path that led Ariana Grande to where she is today, an artist with a new album released earlier this month entitled Yours Truly, and platinum Top 40 hit song The Way. In order to appreciate Ariana Grande today, we need to look back at her beginning in the year 2008.
Grande played the role of Charlotte in the musical 13 on Broadway, for which she won a National Youth Theatre Association Award. When she joined the musical, Grande left her high school, North Broward Preparatory School, but continued to be enrolled. The school sent materials to her so she could study with tutors. In 2010, she created the original role of Miriam in the reading of the new musical, Cuba Libre, written and produced by Desmond Child.
Not too many young artists come from the Broadway stage to record popular music. However, it can happen and usually we gain an artist who is ready for live performances which most likely leads to career longevity. Ariana Grande found her way to the small screen before endeavoring on the musical recording part of her entertainment career. Grande played the character Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon television show Victorious, which premiered in March 2010 and ended on February 2, 2013. It was announced during the Nickelodeon network’s presentation at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on August 3, 2012 that Sam & Cat, which would pair Grande from Victorious and Jennette McCurdy from iCarly together in a traditional “buddy sitcom” setting, where they would reprise their roles as Cat Valentine and Sam Puckett. Sam & Cat was picked up by Nickelodeon on November 29, 2012. On July 11, 2013, Nickelodeon doubled Sam & Cat’s season one twenty episode order, leading to season one having forty episodes.
Grande also had several public singing performances such as South Florida’s Philharmonic, Pops and Symphonic Orchestras, various performances in NYC’s Birdland, and her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the first-ever broadcast of the national anthem for the Florida Panthers hockey game. All the aforementioned performances made the decision for Ariana to record an album very easy, and now we have an exceptional first album in Yours Truly.
Ariana Grande is an intelligent, pretty, diminutive twenty year old singer who happens to possess a four octave vocal range complete with a whistle register. This natural ability makes comparisons to Mariah Carey inevitable. However, Ariana seemingly is creating her own musical identity. Regarding the songs on her new album, Ariana was quoted recently in SheKnows.com. “They can expect a lot of honesty. It’s like a direct… you know, it’s like it used to be pages from my diary, instead of keeping diary, I would write songs about what was happening in my life. So it’s really personal. It’s a Motown throwback and pop at the same time, so it’s ’50s and ’60s inspiration mixed with today.” With her start in Broadway and television, young Ariana Grande is poised to give us something more, something personal…..her diary of music. Yours Truly!