Ariana Grande has been revealed as the second of four artists to cover The FADER’s 2018 Summer Music Issue. The print issue hits newsstands in June, but ahead of the release, the magazine has shared the cover photo as well as highlights from Grande’s interview Wednesday morning (May 30). The pop star shared details on her next album, life after the Manchester bombing, and how her fans encourage her to be vulnerable.
Grande’s fourth studio album Sweetener is due out in July, and she says fans can expect it to be more message-driven than her previous releases. “I’ve always just been like a shiny, singing, 5-6-7- 8, sexy-dance…sexy thing. But now it’s like, ‘OK … issa bop — but issa message. Issa bop but also has chunks of my soul in it,” she told The FADER.
The 24-year-old performer cited a juxtaposition between the emotionality of the tracks and some of the album’s “trap beat” production, which is evident on the album’s triumphant first single “No Tears Left to Cry.” She worked with Pharrell Williams to take her music in this newer direction, revealing that she cried many times during the writing sessions. “There’s definitely some crying-on the-dance floor stuff on this one,” Grande said.
The video for “No Tears Left to Cry” subtly featured a bee as an homage to the victims and survivors of the tragic bombing during her Manchester concert last May. Grande discussed her healing process following the incident with The FADER, stating that she still finds herself speechless: “I guess I thought with time, and therapy, and writing, and pouring my heart out, and talking to my friends and family that it would be easier to talk about, but it’s still so hard to find the words.”
Throughout the feature, Grande also speaks on her own emotional vulnerability and attributes to her fans’ willingness to be open with her. “The thing that makes me feel OK with opening up and finally allowing myself to be vulnerable is that I know [my fans] feel the same feelings. I’ve talked to them about it,” Grande said. She even shared that some fans have become her close friends and that they have bonded over similar experiences; many of those newfound friends heard her new tracks before Grande’s label did.
Grande declared that she’s never been so vulnerable with herself, which has led to a deeper connection with her own music. “I feel like I graduated almost. I feel like for a long time the songs were great, but they weren’t songs that made me feel something the way these songs do.”