Ariana Grande established herself as one of the most exciting pop stars of her generation, but does that necessarily make her a good singer?
Ariana Grande has a four-octave soprano vocal range, and most experts agree that she can really sing. She demonstrated her vocal abilities in numerous live performances, but her talent has been questioned because many of her songs don’t fully showcase her range.
Grande’s Vocal Range
Singers with a five-octave vocal range, such as Mariah Carrey and Prince, are extremely rare in mainstream music, and Ariana Grande doesn’t fall under this category. She has a four-octave vocal range, just like Christina Aguilera and the R&B legend Whitney Houston.
Grande may not be on Mariah’s level, but her vocal talents are difficult to dismiss once you know how powerful her voice is. The classical music radio station Classic FM even praised her for having “one of the most impressive ranges of any female singer in the pop music industry.”
Despite her incredible talent, Grande has been underestimated, and musical theatre composer Jason Robert Brown addressed this issue in Time article from 2016. Grande made her professional debut in his Broadway musical 13, and he explained that many people don’t take her seriously because she’s “a white girl who wants to sing R&B” who started off as a child actress.
It’s also possible that people aren’t aware of Grande’s vocal abilities because her recent songs don’t fully showcase them. Forbes and The Harvard Crimson both analyzed this problem and came to the conclusion that “the quality of her music rarely matches her potential.”
“The Next Mariah Carrey”
It’s not uncommon for new artists to be compared to music icons with a similar sound, and Ariana Grande wasn’t immune to this. Shortly after starting her music career, she’s been hailed as “the next Mariah Carrey” and struggled to shake this image off.
The two artists have often been compared to each other due to their wide vocal range and similar musical style, but that’s not all they have in common. Carrey and Grande have both been accused of behaving like divas and making demanding requests.
Grande said it’s a huge compliment to be compared to Carrey but added she wants to celebrate her own success. The “7 Rings” singer described Carrey as “literally my favorite human being on the planet” but admitted she was more influenced by Beyoncé’s music in her youth.
“That’s where I discovered my range. I grew up listening to Destiny’s Child. I would try so hard to mimic all Beyoncé’s little runs and ad-lib things. They are so precise. It’s like math… That’s how I learned about harmonies and runs and ad-libs,” Grande told V Magazine.
The media pitted the two singers against each other since the beginning of Grande’s career, but there doesn’t seem to be any real animosity between them. Back in 2019, Grande wished Carey a happy birthday on Instagram, and the R&B legend reposted her story and captioned it with “Thank you dahhhhling!”
Some of Ariana Grande’s songs don’t fully capture her talent, but she managed to give us chills with several amazing performances.
Grande received a lot of praise for the emotional rendition of The Wizard of Oz tune “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at the benefit concert One Love Manchester. She was on the verge of tears by the end of the song, but this made her performance even more powerful.
She also delivered many great performances during talk show appearances and award ceremonies. Live renditions of “God Is a Woman” at the 2018 MTV VMAs and “No Tears Left to Cry” on Jimmy Fallon’s show are considered as her very best.
Grande has been accused of using auto-tune in her live performances but firmly denied those rumors. She defended her singing abilities writing “With all due respect, I could do this in your living room… With no sound mixing or help at all.”