WATCH | From bubbly pop tunes to sexy dance moves: Ariana Grande's music evolution

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande
Photo: David Crotty/Getty Images
  • She shot to fame as Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon's Victorious, and now Ariana Grande has rightfully taken her place as one of the biggest names in pop music.
  • With six studio albums and numerous awards to her name, Ariana has had quite the career so far. Today we take a look at her music evolution.
  • Get ready, Arianators - from tracks like The Way to 34+35, we've got them all lined up for you.


Before she was singing risqué tunes about sex positions, Ariana Grande was known for her adorably ditsy Nickelodeon character Cat Valentine.

Yes, a lot has changed since her Victorious days, but there's one thing we can always count on Ari from - great music. And that signature ponytail, of course. So, make that two things.

With six studio albums and numerous awards to her name, Ariana has had quite the career so far. Today we take a look at her music evolution, listing some of our favourite tracks from her past albums.

Ready, Arianators?

The Way - from her album, Yours Truly

In 2013, Ariana stepped away from her role as an actor and embarked on her journey to conquer the music industry. The singer released her debut single, The Way, which featured Mac Miller. The pair would eventually go on to date before Mac's tragic death in 2018.

The chemistry between Mac and Ariana is evident in the video. The star also established her signature style with this one - it was all about cute little dresses/skirts and her half-up half-down hairstyle. We would eventually find out the reason for this do was to hide the damage caused by years of dying her hair for her Nickelodeon character.

Other favourites on this album include Right There, which featured Big Sean, and Baby I.

Love Me Harder - from her album, My Everything

In 2014 Ariana released her second studio album, My Everything

Exploring more mature themes, the singer teamed up with The Weeknd on Love Me Harder. The high ponytail took a backseat for this video, and Ari traded in her youthful style for a sexier look.

But the singer made sure not to make the transition too abrupt, so before releasing the sultry Love Me Harder, we got tracks like Problem and Break Free with ponytail still intact, and her thigh-high boots still stealing the show.

Side to Side - from her album, Dangerous Woman

Dangerous Woman marked the complete transformation of Ariana from a cutesy Nickelodeon star to a sexy pop queen.

The singer teamed up with Nicki Minaj for her sexually charged track, Side to Side, and in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, revealed that the idea for the music video came from Nicki Minaj's line where she refers to riding "dick bicycle".

Oh, and did we mention that Ariana added bangs to her look for this video? Not only that, the singer wore her hair down for Into You and Dangerous Woman.

As a bonus, here's a video of Ariana singing an acapella version of Dangerous Woman:

No Tears Left to Cry - from her album, Sweetener

Ariana had been through a lot at this point, so her music was all about finding healing.

The singer released her fourth studio album Sweetener, with songs like No Tears Left to Cry, Breathin and God is a Woman.

Ari also included Get Well Soon on this album, paying tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing. The song speaks about the singer dealing with her mental health and encouraging others to do so as well.

After the track ends, there's an added 40 seconds of silence, bringing the time stamp to 5:22 - the date of the attack (22 May 2017).

Thank U, Next - from her album, Thank U, Next

Ariana was back and stronger than ever, releasing Thank U, Next in 2019. The singer owned her past and used it to fuel her music.

She paid tribute to all of her exes, including Mac Miller, in the title track of the album.

Ari also made us super nostalgic by throwing back to some of our favourite movies in this music video, including Mean Girls and 13 Going on 30.

She was a lot more versatile with her hair at this point. And while the half-up half-down style was pretty much entirely gone, we still saw that trusty high pony.

The Thank U, Next album also gave us gems like 7 Rings and NASA.

34+35 - from her album, Positions

This one's definitely not for the kids. Ariana Grande channelled the 60s when she brought us her sixth studio album in 2020.

In 34+35 the singer does not hold back, showing off sexy dance moves while singing about a sex position.

Her theme of women empowerment, which we previously saw in tracks like God is a Woman, is quite evident here too.

The singer imagines herself as the president of America in her Positions music video with a very inclusive staff, and in the 34+35 remix, turned to rappers Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion to add more spice to the track.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24