By: Rachel Vadaj, ISDA Editor
Italian American phenomenon Ariana Grande was born on June 23, 1993 in Boca Raton, Fla.
She first broke into the business by singing the national anthem at a professional hockey game, nailing even the tune’s highest notes, at just 8 years old.
Realizing performing was her calling, Ariana worked her way up from regional theatre to Broadway by the time she was 15.
She made her Broadway debut in the all-teen musical called 13, where she played a cheerleader named Charlotte.
Even though it was a supporting role, her singing stood out, landing her the National Youth Theatre Association Award in 2008.
Just a year after being on stage, she landed the role of Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon’s Victorious.
Her time on the small screen featuring her larger-than-life voice helped her sign a record deal with Republic Records.
Then, her solo music career took off.
Grande has since gone on to make five albums, and go on four concert tours (three of which were worldwide).
She first broke into the Top 10 with her song “The Way” from her chart-topping debut album Yours Truly in 2013.
From those songs, she has gone on to earn six Grammy nominations.
In 2019, Ariana Grande became the first artist to hold the Number 1, 2 and 3 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, simultaneously. The last to achieve that feat was The Beatles in 1964.
Now you know more about her success, let’s talk about her Italian heritage:
The Italian American phenomenon’s full name is Ariana Grande-Butera, and her family descends from Sicily and Abruzzo.
While discussing what she would do with her last name once she got married, she first stated she’d like to be known as just “Ariana” for her professional name (rather than have a hyphenated last name once she tied the knot). Seconds later, she quickly backtracked because she couldn’t forsake her grandfather’s last name.
“I have to keep Grande because of my grandpa. I think of him with everything I do and he was so proud of our name,” she said.
In the same interview, she revealed that the pop culture pronunciation of her last name is different than how her grandfather said it.
Ariana paid tribute to her Italian heritage by collaborating with Andrea Boccelli in a beautiful duet called “E Più Ti Penso” from his album, Cinema in 2015.
(Featured photo courtesy of Emma, Flickr)