Ariana Grande is beginning to come to terms with the deadly bombing in Manchester that happened outside her concert in May of last year.
“There are so many people who have suffered such loss and pain. The processing part is going to take forever,” the 24-year-old singer says in the Next Generation Leaders issue of Time. "It’s the absolute worst of humanity. That’s why I did my best to react the way I did. The last thing I would ever want is for my fans to see something like that happen and think it won."
She continues: “Music is supposed to be the safest thing in the world. I think that’s why it’s still so heavy on my heart every single day. I wish there was more that I could fix. You think with time it’ll become easier to talk about. Or you’ll make peace with it. But every day I wait for that peace to come and it’s still very painful.”
In the days following the Manchester attack, Grande told her manager, Scooter Braun, "I can never sing these songs again. I can’t put on these outfits. Don’t put me in this position."
Two days later, Grande decided that she had to do something, so, along with Braun, she organized the One Love Manchester concert. The event featured such stars as Justin Bieber, Coldplay and Katy Perry.
“We put a lot on her shoulders,” Braun says. “And she took over. You know, for the rest of her life, she can say that she is exactly who she claims to be.”
When it came time for Grande to make new music, she wanted to address her feelings from the bombing, but avoid being exploitative about them.
“I felt more inclined to tap into my feelings because I was spending more time with them. I was talking about them more. I was in therapy more," she says. "... When I started to take care of myself more, then came balance, and freedom, and joy. It poured out into the music."
Grande decided to title her new album Sweetener because, “When you’re handed a challenge instead of sitting there and complaining about it, why not try to make something beautiful?”
At the Met Gala earlier this month — Grande's first red carpet since the attack — the "No Tears Left to Cry" singer exclusively told ET's Keltie Knight that she's "grateful to be back." Check out more of what she had to say below:
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