With three platinum records, a host of hit singles, and the release of two promising tracks in “God is a Woman” and “No Tears Left to Cry,” the excitement surrounding Arianna Grande’s fourth studio album Sweetener (out Aug. 17) is reaching a fever pitch.
Despite years of mainstream success, casual fans still might not be aware that Grande’s talent and body of work extends far beyond her popular albums and radio hits. In anticipation of Sweetener, which is sure to showcase all of Grande’s talents in new and glorious ways, here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of her best features and covers.
“Adore” – Cashmere Cat ft. Ariana Grande
This is the second of three collaborations between Grande and producer Cashmere Cat (the first being “Be My Baby” from Grande’s second album My Everything, and the third being “Quit You,” from Cashmere’s album 9). The breathy dance single puts Grande’s famous vowels to good use and the chorus references Johnny Gill’s classic R&B hit, “My, My, My.”
“All My Love” – Major Lazer ft. Ariana Grande
More proof that she can thrive in any genre, Grande’s vocals perfectly compliment the EDM track from the Lorde-curated Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I soundtrack. It has the dancey feel of many of her early tracks, and Major Lazer even made a dancehall remix of the song with Machel Montano.
“Faith” – Stevie Wonder ft. Ariana Grande
This track, from the animated movie Sing’s soundtrack, features a duet between Stevie Wonder and Grande. The song has elements of retro-soul that make it feel like a Stevie Wonder song, but Grande keeps pace with the soul icon, hitting the high notes as she sings, “I get around you and mind goes crazy / I think about you morning, noon, night and day.”
“Get On Your Knees” – Nicki Minaj ft. Ariana Grande
Grande’s latest single “God Is a Woman” has been praised for its themes of female sexual empowerment, but not to be overlooked is Grande’s feature from Nicki Minaj’s 2014 The Pinkprint, which covered similar territory, albeit with a more dominatrix-like edge. Grande and Minaj have a number of hit collabs like “Side to Side” and the recent “Bed,” but “Get On Your Knees” still stands out. Grande sings the sultry chorus of the Katy Perry-penned track as the singer and rapper explore the virtues of bossing around a male partner.
“Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Crowded House cover with Miley Cyrus
This video is a weirdly addictive watch. Cyrus and Grande both wear animal onesies and sit on a blowup couch to sing the Crowded House cover for Cyrus’ backyard series. At one point they mess up the lyrics and Cyrus says it’s because she was “flirting” with Grande. Beyond the video though, Cyrus’ smoky vocals mixed with Grande’s higher pop register makes for a perfect duet, and the pair reprised the cover with added poignancy at Grande’s benefit concert in Manchester.
“Emotions” – Mariah Carey cover
When Grande’s first hit single “The Way” came out in 2013, the singer’s range immediately drew comparisons to Mariah Carey. Grande initially welcomed the comparison, calling her “the greatest singer in the world” and even posting a flawless cover of Carey’s “Emotions” to Youtube in 2012. Mariah’s eight-octave range makes her notoriously hard to cover but Grande’s rendition of “Emotions” would fill any self-respecting diva’s heart with envy. She can even hit the whistle tones!
“Die In Your Arms” – Justin Bieber cover
This is, reportedly, the song that convinced Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun to sign Grande. And it’s not surprising. Like so many of her covers, she adds to the original rather than mimicking it. Plus, the doo-wop elements of the song foreshadowed the ’50s inspired songs from her first album, like “Honeymoon Avenue.”
Ariana Grande sings Jason Robert Brown
Here, Grande sings three songs written by Jason Robert Brown, while Brown accompanies her on the piano. Brown, among other things, wrote the Broadway musical 13, which Grande starred in when she was just 15. In the video, she sings “Lamest Place in the World” and “Brand New You” from 13, and “Getting Out” from Brown’s Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes album. Grande got her start on Broadway and this video shows that she could still thrive onstage, something that can’t be said for every modern pop star.
Perhaps the strongest of the three performances is “Getting Out,” a song about wanting to quit the music business. Brown wrote on his website that Grande wanted him to write something about the pressures of being a woman in the music industry for Dangerous Woman and the result was “Jason’s Song.”
“Just For Now” – Imogen Heap cover
Uploaded to Youtube when Grande was just 18, the singer uses a looping machine to layer her vocals as she sings through the Imogen Heap tune, making the complicated process look easy. Grande, a long time fan of Heap, got to meet the singer in 2014. She later posted a video using the Heap’s motion-sensor gloves, and even performed with them on The Honeymoon Tour.
“There’s Hope” – India Arie cover
Grande said in a 2014 interview, “When I was 14, I wanted to make a straight-up, like, India Arie record. Something really soulful.” Coming from another 14-year-old that might’ve sounded laughable, but this video shows that Grande had skills far beyond her years. Using the looping machine again, Grande sings the soul song with a surprising amount of gravitas.