By Amanda Wicks
Ariana Grande’s voice may have drawn comparisons to Mariah Carey when she released her debut studio album Yours Truly in 2013, but she’s proven over time that she doesn’t deserve to be in anybody’s shadow. That much became abundantly clear when she released her third studio album Dangerous Woman in 2016, and showed off a much more mature side, lyrically and vocally.
Besides standing out on her own songs, though, Grande’s got a strong history of collaborating with big names in hip-hop, EDM and more. Here are five great Grande collaborations to remind listeners that she can do it alone, but it’s always fun when she’s got company.
“Break Free” with Zedd
Although Grande tends to stick to more standard pop fare, her collaboration with Zedd showed that she could absolutely venture into EDM territory if she ever chose. Appearing on her 2014 album My Everything, the song builds into a big explosion on the chorus that shows off Grande’s register. But besides showcasing her pipes, the song offers an important message about finding strength and saying goodbye to toxic relationships.
“Problem” with Iggy Azalea
No one could have anticipated how big “Problem” was going to be. It remained in the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100 for sixteen weeks. The song marked the first single off Grande’s sophomore studio album My Everything, and partnered her with Australian rapper Azalea who had previously enjoyed success with her own single “Fancy.” The two women kick scrubby boys to the side in the song, and deliver an empowering anthem.
“Over and Over Again” with Nathan Sykes
Grande can do catchy pop tunes or gritty hip-hop tracks, but when it comes to ballads she’s got the vocal range and clarity to build an emotionally moving performance that doesn’t feel saccharine. Case in point: Her duet with The Wanted’s Nathan Sykes on the remix of his song “Over and Over Again.” The tune pairs their voices into a sweet, brooding harmony, and shows that Grande will always defy expectations.
“Side to Side” with Nicki Minaj
Grande and Minaj have collaborated together in the past on the hit single “Bang Bang,” but it’s their latest work together that is such a stand out. Not only for the slight reggae beat that peppers the song or Grande’s vocal runs on the chorus, but for the wink-wink song title that even caught Lena Dunham by surprise. It’s a fun song that gets listeners moving. Plus Minaj’s contribution towards the end lights the match and fully sets the track on fire.
“The Way” with Mac Miller
Before they were a couple, Grande and Miller partnered up to do her 2013 single “The Way.” It showed off a more innocent side to Grande at the time, and is a sweet pop tune to remind fans about how it all started. Grande recently returned the favor and collaborated with Mac (now her beau) for his new album The Divine Feminine.