20-year-old Ariana Grande, who is a singer/actress most notable for her role on Nickelodeon sitcom, Victorious, has released her debut studio album, Yours Truly. Fusing elements of R&B, soul and pop music within the album, Grande called upon top hitmakers Harmony Samuels, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Patrick “J. Que” Smith to handle production for the 12 tracks. The 20 year old star describes her debut offering as part homage to 90’s R&B music, while the second half of the album displays more of Grande’s unique and original sound. She notes her influences on the record as childhood idols Mariah Carey, Amy Winehouse, Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston.
The album was promoted initially by Grande’s summer tour, The Listening Sessions, in which she played live renditions of songs featured on the album. In addition to her concert tour, Grande released the album’s official lead single, “The Way” featuring Mac Miller, in early 2013. “The Way” was both a critical and commercial success, debuting at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and eventually earning double Platinum certification from the RIAA. Grande followed up her lead debut with two more charting singles over the summer, the “…Mariah Carey gone retro” pop ballad, “Baby I” as well as “Right There,” featuring American rapper Big Sean.
Upon release, Yours Truly was well received by critics. Lewis Corner from Digital Spy commented that “…the production feels fresh, the lyrics are relatable and the melodies are as cool and sweet as a dollop of raspberry ripple.” The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica praised Grande for becoming the first “identifiable pop star” who used the …”Glee/Idol template as a jumping-off point to make modern pop-R&B with a sturdy vintage backbone” adding that stars have risen from these shows but unlike Grande, “haven’t left much of a mark on pop.” Critics universally agreed that the singer delivered even with such high expectations. Matt Collar of Allmusic echoed this sentiment, noting that the album was “surprisingly sophisticated and unique” and “makes the most of her talent.”
Along with its positive critical reviews, Yours Truly was successful commercially as well. Although an initial Billboard report projected the album to sell around 110,000 units in its first week, Grande’s debut sold 138,000 copies, charting atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. To date, the album has reported sales of 170,o00 units.
While the pop star has already been busy working on her second album due to be released in February 2014, she has recently gotten back into acting. Grande currently stars on the Nickelodeon teen sitcom, Sam & Cat, a crossover spin-off/sequel of both iCarly and Victorious.
Ariana currently boasts nearly 12MM Twitter followers.