After two rollercoaster years, the light is coming for Ariana Grande.
It’s no secret to the world at this point what the Grammy-winning songstress has faced in recent months—the tragic Manchester bombing, the untimely death of her ex Mac Miller, a broken engagement with Pete Davidson and two blockbuster albums (released just six months apart), to briefly summarize. And, while the public has watched on with endless curiosity and concern over the superstar, the 26-year-old has been one to pour out her heart in melody rather than on the page or screen.
However, as Vogue‘s August 2019 issue cover star, the songstress revisited those monumental moments in an interview for the issue, though as she acknowledged to the magazine, “I’m a person who’s been through a lot and doesn’t know what to say about any of it to myself, let alone the world.”
The star candidly continued, “I see myself onstage as this perfectly polished, great-at-my-job entertainer, and then in situations like this I’m just this little basket-case puddle of figuring it out…I have to be the luckiest girl in the world, and the unluckiest, for sure.”
Grande elaborated, “I’m walking this fine line between healing myself and not letting the things that I’ve gone through be picked at before I’m ready, and also celebrating the beautiful things that have happened in my life and not feeling scared that they’ll be taken away from me because trauma tells me that they will be, you know what I mean?”
Some trauma she’s less inclined to talk about, including that of the Manchester Bombing. “It’s not my trauma,” she told Vogue. “It’s those families’. It’s their losses, and so it’s hard to just let it all out without thinking about them reading this and reopening the memory for them.”
Grande explained, “I’m proud that we were able to raise a lot of money with the intention of giving people a feeling of love or unity, but at the end of the day, it didn’t bring anyone back. Everyone was like, Wow, look at this amazing thing, and I was like, What the f–k are you guys talking about? We did the best we could, but on a totally real level we did nothing. I’m sorry. I have a lot to say that could probably help people that I do want to share, but I have a lot that I still need to process myself and will probably never be ready to talk about.”
As she told the magazine, the star used work to avoid focusing on reality. Such was the case after 26-year-old Miller‘s untimely passing, later revealed to be the result of accidental mixed drug toxicity. “My friends know how much solace music brings me, so I think it was an all-around, let’s-get-her-there type situation,” she said of going to a recording studio close to her apartment.
“But if I’m completely honest, I don’t remember those months of my life because I was (a) so drunk and (b) so sad. I don’t really remember how it started or how it finished, or how all of a sudden there were 10 songs on the board,” Grande told Vogue.
“I think that this is the first album and also the first year of my life where I’m realizing that I can no longer put off spending time with myself, just as me. I’ve been boo’d up my entire adult life. I’ve always had someone to say goodnight to. So Thank U, Next was this moment of self-realization. It was this scary moment of ‘Wow, you have to face all this stuff now. No more distractions. You have to heal all this s–t.'”
After calling it quits with Miller in the spring of 2018, fans were shocked to learn she had gotten engaged to SNL comedian Pete Davidson. “My friends were like, ‘Come! We’re gonna have a fun summer.’ And then I met Pete, and it was an amazing distraction,” she told Vogue. “It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him. I’m like an infant when it comes to real life and this old soul, been-around-the-block-a-million-times artist. I still don’t trust myself with the life stuff.”
The pair called off their engagement and split a month after Miller’s death. The performer later sang about, in her words, “feeling badly for the person you’re with because you love somebody else” on her track “Ghostin.'”
“It’s pretty all-consuming,” she told Vogue about her grief over the late rapper. “By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, f–k. He was the best person ever, and he didn’t deserve the demons he had. I was the glue for such a long time, and I found myself becoming…less and less sticky. The pieces just started to float away.”
Vogue‘s August 2019 issue is available on newsstands nationwide on July 23.