Granted, it took 37 minutes for the first single—“Problem”—off her soon-to-be-released second album to reach No. 1 on iTunes after its late April release. And sure, with 438,000 downloads in its first week, the song that also features Iggy Azalea became the fourth-largest digital debut of all time for a female artist. And yes, those numbers may soon pale in comparison if, as expected, the song that she and Justin Bieber have recorded turns up on her new album, set to drop in late August or early September. But just because Ariana Grande is blowing up so fast and so furiously that Perez Hilton can barely keep up with the blog-worthy buzz doesn’t mean that our home-town pop/R&B superstar has gone Hollywood (even if she does live in Los Angeles).
Asked during a recent phone interview what she misses about the community in which she was raised—and where her grandparents still live—the diminutive singer-songwriter waxed nostalgic about Boca.
“I miss the beach, I miss Town Center, I miss Cinemark—which will always be Muvico in my heart,” says Grande, who turned 21 in late June. “I miss Boomers, I miss the Kabbalah Centre in Boca, I miss the Boca Beach Club, I miss my grandparents … I miss my home.”
For the better part of three years, starting in 2010, home for the former student at North Broward Preparatory School was on the small screen, where she developed a following as Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon show “Victorious” and, later, its spinoff “Sam & Cat.” But in the life-altering span of a few months last summer, Grande went from teen sitcom darling to worldwide pop phenom. Her debut album for Republic Records, “Yours Truly,” topped the iTunes Store charts in 30-plus countries and hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in its first week; Grande became the first female artist since Kesha in 2010 to reach No. 1 with her inaugural effort. The video for the album’s hit single, “The Way,” is approaching 150 million views on YouTube.
For our exclusive Q&A with Ariana Grande, pick up the July/August issue of Boca Raton magazine.