The profile of US pop star and actress Ariana Grande has rocketed recently for the most terrible and heartbreaking reasons imaginable following the horrific attack on her young fans at one of her concerts in Manchester.
Grande's European tour, which visited Dublin recently, was rescheduled after an atrocity that hit at the very heart of an evening dedicated to joy and celebration.
Fans, some of them as young at eight years old and attending their first gig, were filing out of the Manchester Arena when a bomb was detonated in the foyer of the venue to cause maximum death and destruction.
Tragically, Grande’s name may now forever be associated with a night of terror and carnage. It is a terrible thought which is completely at odds with her brand of positive pop and sheer self-belief.
The 23-year-old from Palm Beach County in Florida is not quite a household name here in Ireland but she can command huge audiences in concert, as she did in Dublin’s 3Arena earlier this month. 21,000 fans had thronged the Manchester Arena on Monday to see her in action.
Grande’s career trajectory has been an almost textbook transition from teen TV to pop stardom and her hugely impressive voice and pop smarts have not only won her a very young fan base but also plaudits from normally supercilious critics.
She started her career in the Broadway musical 13 and went on to play Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon television series Victorious. The success of that show almost inevitably led to her signing a record deal in 2009 and releasing her debut studio album in 2013.
broken.— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words.
Entitled Yours Truly, it shot straight to No. 1 in the US and since then Grande has enjoyed a massively successful career in the US with a string of hits including Problem, Break Free, Bang Bang and Love Me Harder. Her most recent album, Dangerous Woman, was a No 1 hit in Ireland and attracted the most favourable reviews of her career.
Grande's image has remained sassy but sweet, an un-threatening, parent-approved kind of pop star when compared to older and more subversive contemporaries such as Rihanna.
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No doubt her decision on Wednesday to suspend the rest of her European tour was taken after much heartache and soul searching.
Grande is a young woman with an indomitable spirit whose positive message has connected deeply with her young fan base. This almost too perfect pop star will be back with a renewed vigour.
Alan Corr @corralan