Who is Ariana Grande? | Music | DW | 23.05.2017
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Who is Ariana Grande?

US pop star Ariana Grande is now in the spotlight after a terror attack on the Manchester Arena, where she had just given a concert. Here's a look at the 23-year-old singer's career and youthful fan base.

Born in Florida in 1993, Ariana Grande's professional career already spans close to a decade - despite her young age. A child protégé, Grande started appearing on Broadway when she was only 13 years old. She landed a major part in the Nickelodeon hit series "Victorious" soon after, was then given her own spin-off show on the children's network, and later released her first album in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ariana Grande (picture-alliance/Geisler-Fotopress/K. Nara)

Ariana Grande (center) is particularly popular among teenage fans

Grande's impressive four-octave vocal range has led to her being compared to some of the greatest names in show biz, especially to Mariah Carey. She has also appeared numerous times in television interviews where she has been prompted to impersonate other celebrities like Britney Spears or Shakira, displaying outstanding control over her voice and an endearing sense of humor. Grande's ponytail look has become as much of a signature for the young performer as her voice.

Voice of a generation

Grande's contemporary R&B sound is popular among young people around the world. The 23-year-old singer likes to highlight her Italian heritage in her work and has cited Madonna, who's also of Italian descent, as one of her major influences growing up. Having spent her childhood in Florida, Ariana Grande also says she's taken inspiration from Cuban-American pop star Gloria Estefan.

Grande has received numerous awards, including the MTV Video Music Award, and has so far been nominated for four Grammy Awards and seven Billboard Music Awards. She supports various charitable organizations ranging from raising money for impoverished children in Mali to highlighting the problems of LGBT youths in the US.

As opposed to some of her contemporaries like Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande has worked on maintaining an unblemished image.

But she has also come under attack for a number of occasions of "rock star" behavior. In 2015, for instance, she was seen on a surveillance video at a donut shop where she licked various pastries while mouthing "I hate Americans. I hate America." Grande later apologized and clarified that she was referring to the American obesity epidemic.

Attack in Manchester

On May 22, 2017, an apparent suicide bomb exploded in the foyer of the Manchester Arena shortly after Ariana Grande had performed a concert there. Twenty-two 22 people were killed, including several children. According to the entertainment website TMZ, Grande has indefinitely suspended the rest of her tour.

She had another 35 tour dates scheduled until the end of September, including two concerts planned at the O2 arena in London later in the same week. Grande herself has given only one comment on the events in Manchester. She tweeted her reaction after the apparent terrorist attack, saying that she felt "broken. from the bottom of my heart."

DW's London correspondent Samira Shackle tweeted that "targeting children is horrific," highlighting that her nephew had been planning to go one of the upcoming Ariana Grande concerts.

Further reactions have been pouring in, with many highlighting the fact that the attack adds a new dimension to the string of assaults that have been carried out by so-called "Islamic State" (IS) sympathizers at public place since the beginning of 2015.

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