Ariana Grande is still thinking about the tragic bombing outside her concert in Manchester last year, and she can’t help but still be haunted by it. The singer opened up about it in the Next Generation Leaders issue of Time.
‘There are so many people who have suffered loss and pain. The processing part’s going to take forever. It is the absolute worst of humanity. That is why I did my best to react the way I did. The last thing I’d ever want is for my fans to see something like that happen and think it won,’ she started.
The singer goes on: ‘Music is supposed to be the safest thing in the world. I think that is why it is still so heavy on my heart every single day. I wish there was more I could fix. You think with time it will become easier to talk about. Or you will make peace with it. But every day I wait for that peace to come and it is still very painful.’
@arianagrande is happy, and it’s important to her that people know that. At 24, Grande is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and she’s coming out with new music two years after her last album, the blockbuster Dangerous Woman. Her latest single is called “No Tears Left to Cry,” a triumphant, ’90s-house-inflected pop confection, part breathy vocals and part spunky, spoken-word playfulness. She chose it carefully: “The intro is slow, and then it picks up,” she says. “And it’s about picking things up.” Grande made a song about resilience because she has had to be resilient, in ways that are difficult to imagine, after a terrorist detonated a bomb outside her May 22, 2017, concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people and leaving more than 500 injured. What happened is part of the song, but the song is not about what happened. Instead of being elegiac, it’s joyful and lush, and Grande is proud of it, and of herself. “When I started to take care of myself more, then came balance, and freedom, and joy,” she says. “It poured out into the music.” In the video for the song, she’s upside-down, the way life used to feel. “We’ve messed with the idea of not being able to find the ground again,” she says, “because I feel like I’m finally landing back on my feet now.” #ArianaGrande is one of three International covers showcasing the Next Generation Leaders. Read more about the rising activists, artists and athletes who are reshaping music, sports, fashion, politics and more on TIME.com. Photograph by @jimmymarble for TIME
After the terrorist attack, Grande heartbreakingly told Scooter Braun, her manager, that ‘I can never sing these songs again. I cannot put on these outfits. Do not put me in this position.’
However, a couple of days after, she realized she had to do something, so she put together the One Love Manchester concert which featured fellow stars such as Coldplay, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber.
‘We put a lot on her shoulders. And she took over. For the rest of her life, she can say she is exactly who she claims to be,’ Braun said about Ariana.
The singer even titled her album Sweetener because, ‘When you are handed a trial instead of complaining, why not try to make something beautiful?’