Scooter Braun recalls a time when his client Ariana Grande tried to “Break Free” and fire him as a manager.
The 37-year-old entertainment executive, who has worked with Grande, Justin Bieber, and at times Kanye West, opened up about the incident, which he says took place in early 2016.
"With Ariana, I could have said a lot of stuff, and in fact my team wanted me to, because they were so pi**ed. But I said, ‘We’re not gonna say a word, and this is gonna come back around,’” Braun said during a talk as part of Fast Company’s Innovation Festival on Tuesday. "They were like, ‘Never take her back!,’ and I just said, ‘Let’s stay quiet and let our truth be our actions.’”
Braun joked that the reasoning behind Grande firing him was due to one of her former flings. "And when the s**ty boyfriends leave, she starts to see the light on some stuff, and one day I got a phone call," he continued. "She said, ‘Can I see you tomorrow?’ and I said, ‘No, I’m busy’ — I actually couldn’t, so I said, ‘I could see you Thursday’ or whatever and I went over there and we had a very honest conversation.”
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It’s unclear if Braun was referring to one of Grande’s high-profile romances or someone else. She has dated rapper Big Sean and late rapper, Mac Miller, as well as her recent whirlwind engagement and split from comedian, Pete Davidson, though this incident happened long before she was seeing the Saturday Night Live star.
Braun went on to note that being fired changed his relationship with Grande, which proved important in 2017 when a bomb went off at her Manchester, England, concert, killing 22 people.
"That relationship we had, from being fired and getting back together, really gave us the strength for what we never imagined would come that following year,” he said.
Braun believes the incident also made him a better manager.
“It allowed me know that I can be fired — I had never been fired before,” he said. "It made me know that as much as you give to people in a service business — we do a lot of asset business, but this is a service business — you can never expect anyone to reciprocate. You have to do it for the right reasons, and if you get screwed over in the end, so be it, and hope you had a hell of a ride along the way.”
Grande is currently working through a difficult split from Davidson, but has continued to perform. For more on the ups and downs of her year, watch the video: