‘I Was So Sad, So Drunk’: Ariana Grande Reveals She Doesn’t Remember Writing ‘Thank U, Next’
Plus everything else we learnt from her massive 'Vogue' cover story.
Ariana Grande has landed on the front cover of US Vogue‘s August issue, chatting candidly for a long-form profile about her trauma-filled past two years, the difficulty of performing personal songs on tour — and how her whirlwind, many-meme inspiring romance with Pete Davidson was an “amazing distraction”.
Written by Rob Haskell and featuring photographs of Grande by renowned celebrity portraiture Annie Leiboviz, the 4,500+ word feature is well worth your time. It begins with a reflection on Grande’s February — thank u, next had just arrived, and she had the #1, #2 and #3 spot in the US Billboard charts, but was struggling with the decision to go on tour.
Grande has repeatedly broken down crying on-stage during her current US tour, and can’t play ‘ghostin’ live, a song about ex Mac Miller, who overdosed last September.
“I was researching healing and PTSD and talking to therapists, and everyone was like, ‘You need a routine, a schedule,’ ” she said of her decision to tour.
“Of course because I’m an extremist, I’m like, OK, I’ll go on tour! But it’s hard to sing songs that are about wounds that are so fresh. It’s fun, it’s pop music, and I’m not trying to make it sound like anything that it’s not, but these songs to me really do represent some heavy shit.”
Grande also reflected back on the recording and writing of thank u, next, an album which arrived just five months after Sweetener. Largely celebrated as her best yet, it was made in an incredibly short time after Miller’s passing — just one month after Sweetener‘s release, an album centred on lightness, healing and new love with Pete Davidson, who she became engaged to shortly after they began dating (by October, they broke up).
“If I’m completely honest, I don’t remember those months of my life [after Miller’s death] because I was (a) so drunk and (b) so sad,” she says. “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.
“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.”
“I think that this is the first album and also the first year of my life where I’m realising 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-realisation. It was this scary moment of ‘Wow, you have to face all this stuff now. No more distractions. You have to heal all this shit.'”
One of those distractions, Grande admits, was Davidson — a way to move on after the Manchester bombings, where 23 people died at her concert in May 2017.
“It was an amazing distraction,” she said. “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.”
To coincide with the feature, Grande’s also released a music video for a slight rework of thank u, next‘s ‘in my head’, directed by frequent Vogue collaborator Bardia Zeinali. Watch it below, and read Vogue‘s full story here.