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HOW ARIANA’S
SWEETENER
GOT GRANDE

This week’s #1 bow by Republic’s Ariana Grande will mark her biggest chart debut yet. What’s more, the events of the last year or so have seen the diminutive diva transform from a successful pop singer into an artist with real gravitas—and one who’s emerged as not only a contender but a frontrunner for the next round of Grammy noms.

All in all, it reflects the effective, supportive partnership between the artist, manager Scooter Braun, label boss Monte Lipman and teams.

What’s caused Ariana’s new set, Sweetener, to overperform so sweetly?

It starts with a couple of bona fide hits, led by “No Tears Left to Cry” a #1 Pop radio missile that quickly went platinum and has racked up 170m streams, and followed by “God is a woman” (59m streams), which just breached the Top 15 at Pop. Another track, “breathin,” is performing strongly at all metrics.

“No Tears” was Grande’s musical distillation of the tragic events at Manchester and the uplifting response of her fans and community in its wake. Like much of Sweetener, it presents a vision of positivity, love and inclusion against the darkness.

As the release neared, Ariana turned in a handful of memorable TV performances, including a terrific Carpool Karaoke and a playful Titanic-themed medley with Corden and an emotional, gorgeously sung tribute to the late Aretha Franklin—arranged at the last minute—on Fallon. On 8/22 she turned in an intimate “God is a woman” on Good Morning America.

Fan ardor was further fueled by tantalizing merch bundles—ranging in price from $10 to $75 and encompassing vinyl, cassettes, enamel pins, T-shirts, sweatshirts, socks, backpacks, fanny packs and Cloud Fragrance “rollerballs,” among other items, along with ticket access. (We like to think we look very fetching wearing only the fanny pack and socks, and it was unfair of you to call the police.)

Sweetener zoomed to #1 at iTunes upon release and “God” was essentially the only song to get an appreciable boost from the lackluster VMA show, moving to #1 on the singles side of the digital sales emporium.

Each of her albums has been bigger than its predecessor. Ariana's 2016 set, Dangerous Woman, bowed at #2 with 176k after a squeaker of a chart battle with Drake. She scored #1 bows with 2013 debut Yours Truly (135k) and 2014 follow-up My Everything (168k).

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