Ariana Grande’s anticipated fourth album Sweetener will be out this summer (July 20), and in a new interview, she discusses the symbolism of her album’s name.
The 24-year-old performer chose the title Sweetener to show fans that there can be triumph in the face of difficult situations, as she tells TIME. “When you’re handed a challenge, instead of sitting there and complaining about it, why not try to make something beautiful?” she says. The album and its lead single “No Tears Left to Cry” represent resilience following the tragic bombing during Grande’s concert in Manchester last May.
The video for “No Tears Left to Cry” paid homage to the victims with an image of a bee, a symbol for Manchester. Following the attack, Grande helped organize a benefit concert for the victims and survivors. She talked briefly about the May 22 incident, but refrained from going in-depth to avoid “giving it that much power.”
According to the interview, making peace with the situation has been a daily process for the star, but Grande told TIME that she is currently in a good place. “I’m happy. I’m crying, but I’m happy,” she said.
Grande will also be opening the Billboard Music Awards as a performer on May 20.
@arianagrande is happy, and it’s important to her that people know that. At 24, Grande is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and she’s coming out with new music two years after her last album, the blockbuster Dangerous Woman. Her latest single is called “No Tears Left to Cry,” a triumphant, ’90s-house-inflected pop confection, part breathy vocals and part spunky, spoken-word playfulness. She chose it carefully: “The intro is slow, and then it picks up,” she says. “And it’s about picking things up.” Grande made a song about resilience because she has had to be resilient, in ways that are difficult to imagine, after a terrorist detonated a bomb outside her May 22, 2017, concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people and leaving more than 500 injured. What happened is part of the song, but the song is not about what happened. Instead of being elegiac, it’s joyful and lush, and Grande is proud of it, and of herself. “When I started to take care of myself more, then came balance, and freedom, and joy,” she says. “It poured out into the music.” In the video for the song, she’s upside-down, the way life used to feel. “We’ve messed with the idea of not being able to find the ground again,” she says, “because I feel like I’m finally landing back on my feet now.” #ArianaGrande is one of three International covers showcasing the Next Generation Leaders. Read more about the rising activists, artists and athletes who are reshaping music, sports, fashion, politics and more on TIME.com. Photograph by @jimmymarble for TIME