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The singer opened up about her headlining set during the 2019 Coachella music festival. During the interview, she said that her involvement with the festival gave her frequent reminders of ex-boyfriend Miller. The rapper died from an accidental overdose in September 2018 at the age of 26.
“I never thought I’d even go to Coachella,” she admitted in the profile. “I was always a person who never went to festivals and never went out and had fun like that. But the first time I went was to see Malcolm perform, and it was such an incredible experience. I went the second year as well, and I associate … heavily … it was just kind of a mindfuck, processing how much has happened in such a brief period.”
The singer also shared that she used the writing and production process of her album Thank U, Next as a coping mechanism to deal with Miller’s death and her broken engagement with Pete Davidson.
“My friends know how much solace music brings me, so I think it was an all-around, let’s-get-her-there type situation,” she said of recording the album with her friends.
Thank U, Next was quickly produced and released just a few months after her fourth studio album, Sweetener.
“But if I’m completely honest, I don’t remember those months of my life because I was (a) so drunk and (b) so sad. I don’t really remember how it started or how it finished, or how all of a sudden there were 10 songs on the board. I think that this is the first album and also the first year of my life where I’m realizing that I can no longer put off spending time with myself, just as me. I’ve been boo’d up my entire adult life. I’ve always had someone to say goodnight to,” she continued. “So Thank U, Next was this moment of self-realization. It was this scary moment of ‘Wow, you have to face all this stuff now. No more distractions. You have to heal all this shit.'”
When asked if the album is a direct response to Miller’s death, Grande tearfully responded, “It’s just hard to hear it so plainly put.”
She also explained a tweet that she posted following her breakup with Miller in May 2018. While many internet users shamed Grande for breaking up with Miller while he battled his additions, she defended herself online by tweeting, “shaming and blaming a woman for a man’s inability to keep his shit together is a very major problem. let’s please stop doing that.”
“People don’t see any of the real stuff that happens, so they are loud about what they think happened. They didn’t see the years of work and fighting and trying, or the love and exhaustion. That tweet came from a place of complete defeat, and you have no idea how many times I warned him that that would happen and fought that fight, for how many years of our friendship, of our relationship,” she said about her initial response. “You have no idea so you’re not allowed to pull that card, because you don’t fucking know. That’s where that came from.”
She added that she spent much of the relationship worrying about Miller. “It’s pretty all-consuming,” she said about her grief from his passing. “By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, fuck. He was the best person ever, and he didn’t deserve the demons he had. I was the glue for such a long time, and I found myself becoming … less and less sticky. The pieces just started to float away.”
Grande also talked to Vogue about her short-lived betrothal to Davidson. The couple were engaged in June 2018 after just a few weeks of dating. They eventually called off the engagement in October 2018.
Following her breakup with Miller, Grande’s friends convinced her to move to New York City for the summer. “And then I met Pete, and it was an amazing distraction. It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him,” she said. “I’m like an infant when it comes to real life and this old soul, been-around-the-block-a-million-times artist. I still don’t trust myself with the life stuff.”
Grande concluded the interview by sharing her hopes for the future. “I have this idea of what I’d like to be,” she said. “I can see this stronger, amazing, fearless version of myself that one day I hope to evolve into. Sometimes I try to be that for my fans before I actually am that myself. I think I’ve been avoiding putting in the work. You know how that gets: You push your therapist away at some point, but then you have to get back to it.”
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