Ariana Grande and Troye Sivan sat down in conversation for PAPER magazine's latest issue to discuss creating Sweetener, the LGBTQ community and Grande's anxiety after the Dangerous Woman Tour.
Following the tragic bombing outside her Manchester Arena concert, Grande returned home from tour with intensified anxiety. Her new song "Get Well Soon," made with Pharrell, honors the victims the arena attack with a long pause silence and a running time 5:22 to symbolize the event's date: May 22.
"Overall, Pharrell] kind forced it out me," Grande told Sivan the emotional song. "Because I was in a really bad place mentally. I've always had anxiety, I've had anxiety for years. But when I got home from tour it reached a very different, intense peak."
The Sweetener star continued, "Pharrell] was like, 'You have to write about it. You need to make this into music and get this shit out, and I promise it will heal you.' And it definitely helped." Grande says looking back now, "Get Well Soon" is one the most important songs she'll ever write.
The "Dance to This" collaborators are mindful their influence too, both having strong ties to the LGBTQ community. "With everything that's going on in the world, I just feel like it's more important than ever that — we can't make political change necessarily, or anything like that, all we can really do as artists is make people feel heard and understood," Sivan said. "I think that we're both trying our very best to do that, and I know that you're doing an incredible job doing that and I'm just trying my best and I think that's really, really important," he told Grande.
Grande, whose brother Frankie came out when she was growing up, says her genuine connection to the LGBTQ community comes from being raised "in a very eccentric, interesting household." She continued, "There's nothing, I swear to god, honest to god, knock me out, I swear on my life, more rewarding than seeing sweet little gays in the audience moving along to my choreography, or a drag queen coming into my meet-and-greet with like a 40-pound ponytail and thigh-high boots. It's the most fulfilling, like it makes my heart scream. It's the best reward."