Ariana Grande is on fire. Her smash single "Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea)" soared to the top of the Billboard charts this summer, and she followed it up with another banger, "Break Free (feat. Zedd). And at midnight Thursday, Jessie J released the surefire hit song "Bang Bang (feat. Grande and Nicki Minaj)."
Though her Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat was canceled in July 2014 after just one season, Grande has never been more popular. She's definitely enjoying the fruits of her labor, but the 21-year-old singer has also been facing some tough times in her personal life. In the September 2014 issue of Seventeen magazine, Grande reveals that the hardest thing she's ever had to deal with is "falling out of touch with my dad."
"It's private, but it happened last year. It took me so long to be okay with it. The thing that got me there was embracing the fact that that I am made up of half my dad, and a lot of my traits come from him," she admits. "So much of me comes from my father, and for so long, I didn't like that about myself."
"I had to accept that it's okay not to get along with somebody and still love them," Grande says.
The biggest lesson Grande has learned in the past few years, she reveals, is "being okay with not having the answers to everything. I feel like for the first time in my life, I'm really okay. I used to freak out about everything all the time. I used to be like, 'Oh my God, somebody said this!'" she recalls. "Everything used to be such a big deal! But now, I feel I can handle everything that comes my way with a calm energy."
With success comes scrutiny, and Grande must learn to ignore her haters.
"It's tough to spend some of the most important years of your life in front of so many strangers who want to pick you apart," she admits. "Insecurity has been the hardest thing I've had to overcome. I think everyone my age struggles with that because everyone strives for approval and wants to feel loved."
How does she overcome her fears? "I focus on what's important. My grandpa is sick, so I focus on him every day," she says. "I'm having the biggest song of my career so far, and all I can think about is my grandpa, because that's what's important to me." After losing her loved one, she issued a statement about the cover story: "This interview took place before I lost my grandfather," Grande explained. "Reading it back now is, of course, very hard but I'm so grateful that I spoke briefly about some of the wisdom he shared with me in this interview. I hope the Seventeen readers find it helpful and can relate."
Seventeen's September 2014 issue hits newsstands Aug. 5.