Starting out on Nickelodeon’s Victorious and Sam & Cat, Grande worked her way towards becoming one of the biggest pop singers of the 21st century.
As a solo professional artist, Ariana Grande’s first official single was “Put Your Hearts Up“, that was released without an album. It sold over 100,000 copies, but did not appear on any charts in the US or worldwide.
Let’s dive deeper into Grande’s early career, why she hates her first song, and her rise to fame as an independent artist away from her beginnings on a kids TV show.
Famous For a Different Reason
Grande had always been interested in music. She performed at the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater in Annie, Beauty and the Beast, and The Wizard of Oz, sang on a cruise ship in the karaoke lounge, and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” on TV.
At 15 years old in 2008, she landed the role of Charlotte in a musical called 13, and she later won a National Youth Theatre Association Award for her performance.
Ariana was not always known for her massive hit tracks and viral music videos, as she made her start on Victorious with Victoria Justice and Elizabeth Gillies. She appeared on the series from 2010 to 2013, and played a clueless, yet sweet, character called Cat.
You can see some of her scenes from the Nickelodeon show below:
Even though she demonstrated her fierce vocals on the show, her career centred around her acting rather than her music, as she was yet to release her own songs separate from the series.
After Victorious, Grande continued with TV and starred in Sam & Cat, a short-lived spin-off series also on Nickelodeon that focused on Cat and another character from Victorious called Sam, who was played by Jennette McCurdy.
Sam and Cat was cancelled after just one season due to several reasons, including the fact that Grande and McCurdy weren’t getting along that often.
McCurdy admitted that the duo “butted heads at times, but in a very sisterly way,” and that they “both had very different ideas of where [they] wanted [their] careers to go.”
Following the shock exit of the series, Grande decided to move on as an independent artist rather than continuing an acting career on TV.
Pushing Her Solo Career
Grande’s first song was called “Put Your Hearts Up”, which came out in 2011 while she was still on Victorious. It was supposed to be released as part of a pop album geared towards children and teens, however the album was never published.
Ariana later admitted her disdain for the song, revealing her dislike for the bubblegum pop sound.
It was geared toward kids and felt so inauthentic and fake,” she explained to Rolling Stone in 2014.
“That was the worst moment of my life. For the video, they gave me a bad spray tan and put me in a princess dress and had me frolic around the street. The whole thing was straight out of hell. I still have nightmares about it, and I made them hide it on my Vevo page.”
In 2013, she was signed to the same manager as Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun. Following her clear disappointment with “Put Your Hearts Up”, she was given more control over the type of songs she wanted to create.
Her debut album, Yours Truly, came out in August 2013 and peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 charts, No. 2 in Canada, and reached within the top ten of other countries like Japan, the UK, and Australia.
Her second single following “Put Your Hearts Up” was titled “The Way” and featured rapper Mac Miller.
My Everything was her second studio album, and saw even more success than her first release. It featured the massive hit “Problem” featuring rapper Iggy Azalea, and the album nabbed the top spot on the charts in the US, Canada, and Australia.