Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next is one of the most commercially successful and critically praised albums of 2019, and that can be partially credited to how emotionally raw it is. The record was made during a time when Grande had a lot of heavy things on her mind, whether it was the aftermath of the Manchester bombing or the death of Mac Miller. Grande is the cover star of the upcoming August issue of Vogue, and in the piece, she spoke about making the album, saying that she doesn’t really remember it well.
Grande said that she was “so drunk” and “so sad” while making the album that the process was a blur:
“My friends know how much solace music brings me, so I think it was an all-around, let’s-get-her-there type situation. 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. 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 sh*t.'”
Early during the conversation, Grande also cried at the mention of Coachella, because the festival reminds her of Mac Miller. She said, “I never thought I’d even go to Coachella. I was always a person who never went to festivals and never went out and had fun like that. But the first time I went was to see Malcolm perform, and it was such an incredible experience. I went the second year as well, and I associate… heavily… it was just kind of a mindf*ck, processing how much has happened in such a brief period.”
She also spoke about her public perception, saying that she values having a distinct persona for multiple reasons:
“I like having my funny character that I play that feels like this exaggerated version of myself. It protects me. But also I love disrupting it for the sake of my fans and making clear that I’m a person — because that’s something I enjoy fighting for. I can’t help disrupt it. I’m incredibly impulsive and passionate and emotional and just reckless. The music is very personal and very real, but yes, if you can be me for Halloween, if drag queens can dress up as me, then I’m a character. Go to your local drag bar, and you’ll see it. That’s, like, the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s better than winning a Grammy.”