Ariana Grande first appeared in this magazine in June 2013 as an “Up n’ Comin’” artist, where we talked about her incredible vocal range and cute “little girl” looks. Well, just a little over a year later, Ariana has become the most in-demand artist since Pitbull, boasting three songs in the Billboard 100 top ten. A #4 position for “Break Free,” featuring Zedd, at #7 her hit “Problem,” featuring Iggy Azalea that peaked at #2, and finally a #10 single, “Bang Bang,” with co-stars Jessie J and the always controversial Nicki Minaj. That kind of chart action is the very definition of hot! Things kicked off pretty well for Grande when she released her first single, “The Way,” which debuted at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April 2013, marking the first top ten arrival for a lead female artist making her first Hot 100 appearance since 2008. The single has since sold two million copies in the United States and has been certified double platinum by the RIAA. Grande’s debut album, “Yours Truly,” entered atop the Billboard 200 albums chart with 138,000 copies sold in its first week, becoming Grande’s first #1 album as a solo artist. This made her the 15th female artist to have their first album debut on top of the charts, and the first since Kesha with “Animal” in 2010. “Yours Truly” reached the top 10 in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands. Following the release of the album, Grande was ranked number four on the Billboard list of “Music’s Hottest Minors” in 2013. Hottest minor is right, earlier this year in March, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama invited Grande to sing at the White House concert, “Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House.” Grande’s second studio LP, “My Everything,” has already spawned two hit singles with “Problem,” which has been a hit internationally, topping the charts in five other countries including Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and Scotland, while “Break Free” is currently racing up the charts around the world. You think about all of this good fortune coming her way and she hasn’t been able to pop the champagne and celebrate, at least not legally… Ariana just turned 21 years old in June, let the champagne flow!
Musically, Norwegians are best known for producing folk music, although they have produced a one-hit-wonder group from the 80s called “A-ha” with a song called, “Take On Me.” Well, the world has just been introduced to their second Norwegian pop act known as “Nico & Vinz.” They are riding the success of the hot single “Am I Wrong” across the ocean to the United States where it has become a top five single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery changed their name from “Envy” to Nico & Vinz after the international success of “Am I Wrong” to avoid being confused with other artists having a similar name. After experiencing modest success in their native country with the release of their debut single “One Song,” they signed to Warner Brothers Records in America who picked up distribution of the single which had already become a hit on the Norwegian Singles Chart at #2, also peaking at #2 on the Danish Singles Chart and the Swedish Singles Chart. When asked about the meaning of the song and what inspired them to make it during an interview on “Good Morning America,” Nico Sereba said, “Inspiration is coming from a small country, but having huge dreams and people telling you, man, that’s not realistic, come on, you can’t be on the top of America or the top of the world or whatever we dream of.” I guess the duo didn’t listen to the naysayers because the song has sold over one million copies in the U.S., and in New Zealand it has been certified Platinum, while in the United Kingdom, the song rose to #1. By July 22, 2014, “Am I Wrong” was the most “Shazammed” song in the world and had been streamed 100 million streams on Spotify. I guess the duo had confidence and a strong belief in themselves when they wondered aloud lyrically and said, “Am I wrong / for trying to reach the things that I can’t see?” All things considered, they’re definitely not wrong.