Boca Raton native Ariana Grande is on the rise.
The 19-year-old sped closer to stardom last week, as her catchy Mariah Careyesque single The Way, which features Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller, went platinum, with more than a million copies sold.
Grande has already made appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallo n, even singing Payphone alongside Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.
“Since I performed it [ The Way] live on Ellen, the nicest thing people are saying is that they’re excited I’m a real singer, that I don’t fake my singing,” Grande said.
The song bears a strong resemblance to R&B diva Carey, as Grande’s poppy vocals pair nicely with Miller’s raps, giving the song a ’90s R&B crossover vibe. Carey embraced that role throughout her career.
Grande even did a cover of Carey’s 1991 hit single Emotions last year, paying tribute to a “queen,” in her words. She said the comparisons are “the biggest compliment in the world,” but she wants to be her own artist.
“I try to just sing how I sing,” Grande said. “As a new female artist who is viewed in the industry, you always have to be compared to somebody. . . . It comes with the territory.”
Grande’s new Nickelodeon television show, Sam & Cat, has a similar take on the past. Grande reprises her role as Cat Valentine from Victorious, while iCarly’s Jennette McCurdy continues as Sam Puckett.
In the series, which premiered June 8, the two girls live together as roommates. But their day jobs as babysitters provide for plenty of unique situations that play out like a modern-day Laverne & Shirley.
Despite the newfound success, Grande remains humbled.
“I’m really proud. I don’t like to speak too heavy about my own work,” she said.
Still, history will be an important element of Grande’s new album, which she describes as “cool, soulful, groovy, feel good” music. Due out in early August, the yet-to-be-named album will also have some ’60s moments and ’50s style duets, according to Grande.
“It’s surreal,” she said. “I’m very, very excited.”
And do not think Grande has forgotten her South Florida ties. She recorded a Spanglish version of The Way, despite considering herself only 70 percent fluent. Grande said it was something she “always” wanted to do.
The album was about three years in the making. Grande calls the music side of her life a “passion.” She even sang the National Anthem before a Florida Panthers game at age 8.
“I think I’ve finally found what I’ve meant to be doing,” Grande said. “I hope my Florida fans will be proud of me.”
Oh, and she also has a summer tour in the works, with one particular stop in mind.
“[I’m] definitely making it to Florida,” she said.