The first time Frankie Grande heard Ariana Grande’s latest single, “No Tears Left to Cry,” he knew it was something special. At the GLAAD Rising Stars Luncheon on Friday, the TV personality opened up to Billboard about watching his pop star sister make magic with songwriters Max Martin and Savan Kotecha during early writing sessions.
“I first heard it a while ago. I was in the studio when she was recording it and I was there when she was writing it,” Frankie said of the song, also co-penned by Ilya. “It was magical. I was sitting in the studio with Ariana and Max and Savan, watching them write. When you’re sitting in the studio with those three people, you know it’s going to be good.”
According to the Big Brother alum, “No Tears Left to Cry” — which blasted onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week at No. 3 — was a surefire hit before it even had words. “When I first heard it, they didn’t have any lyrics. It was just the melody. They wrote the music first,” he revealed. “The song really always had that sparkle.”
But the track shone brighter once words were added. “No Tears Left to Cry” is laced with inspiration, encouraging listeners to pick themselves up “even when it’s rainin’ down” and to make peace with past trauma by adopting a state of mind they “want to be in, like, all the time.”
Since its April 20 release, the song has quickly resonated with the LGBTQ community, prompting fervent social media praise. Asked about fans’ assertion that “No Tears Left to Cry” — the lead single from Ariana’s upcoming fourth studio album, Sweetener — is a new “gay anthem,” Frankie was quick to agree.
“It is! She’s always been so supportive of the LGBTQ community, and her songs have always said that,” the YouTube star noted. “In the new single, she says, ‘They point out the colors in you, I see ’em too, and boy, I like ’em.’ That’s her celebrating every kind of love you can imagine. Every color of the rainbow.”
Plus, “she’s got a rainbow across her face on the cover of the single,” he pointed out. “Ariana is anything but subtle. She and I support the community with every chance we get.”
Indeed, Frankie lent his support at Friday’s event, presenting the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Programming to CBS’ Survivor: Game Changers for its fair, accurate and inclusive representation of LGBTQ people and the issues that affect their lives.
Frankie — who believes LGBTQ representation on reality TV is “imperative” in today’s political climate — said he couldn’t be more appreciative of Ariana’s support. Though the 24-year-old singer has used her platform to publicly advocate for the LGBTQ community, Frankie told Billboard that she has had an open heart from a young age.
“I basically raised her. Ariana and I are 10 years apart and she grew up with a really gay brother who just loves her unconditionally, and it’s reciprocated. When I came out to her, she was 11 years old and I was like, ‘I have to tell you something.’ She was like, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I’m gay,'” he recalled. “And she was like, ‘OK, cool. Do you have a boyfriend? Great, do I get to meet him?’ It didn’t faze her at all.”
He concluded: “So very early on, Ariana embraced us. For her entire life, she has known that being gay is just part of the everyday gig. And she knows that, in a way, it makes us more special and more beautiful.”