On March 18th, pop sensation Ariana Grande began her fourth world tour, The Sweetener World Tour, with smashing success in Albany, NY. Former Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei opened the show with fiery dance moves that took fans by surprise. With a set list incorporating songs from both Sweetener and Thank U, Next albums, Grande’s performance was fueled with electrifying hits that had the crowd roaring with excitement. When news about Grande’s tour made its way to the spotlight, Rolling Stone was quick to praise the superstar’s success.
“As much as this tour is a victory lap, it’s also a proof of life. If Grande wanted to sit this touring cycle out, her fans would’ve understood. But she chose not to, and that speaks volumes to the strength she’s built this show around” wrote Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone. Grande had every reason to sit back and focus on her mental health but her passion for touring fueled her resilience.
On September 7th of 2018, Mac Miller died of a tragic fentanyl and cocaine overdose in his San Fernando Valley, California home. Having dated the deceased rapper for over a year, Grande was devastated by the unfortunate news. Grande’s “Better Off,” from Sweetener, highlighted the toxicity of the relationship, justifying why she had to leave the rapper in the end despite her unwavering love for him.
This incident occurred during Grande’s engagement with Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson and it demanded that she critically analyze her life and remove herself from the spotlight of the press. Grande decided to end her engagement with Davidson, as she was unprepared to make such a significant commitment in her current state. After loving hard and losing even harder, Grande decided to assemble a team of her best friends, including singers Victoria Monet and Tayla Parx, to produce her most emotionally involved work to date.
Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with the biggest streaming week ever for a pop album, Grande’s fifth studio album, Thank U, Next closes the darkest chapter of the artist’s life while showing gratitude for the lessons she learned about love and relationships. With songs “7 Rings,” “Breakup With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored,” and “Thank U, Next” holding the number one, two, and three positions on the Billboard Hot 100 in that order, Grande broke a record that had been held since 1964 by the Beatles.
With such monumental success, Grande’s Thank U, Next was celebrated worldwide for its authenticity and unapologetic honesty about real life events that shaped the singer into the confident woman she is today.