By Michelle Lu Tian

“Okay, we get it, you love Ariana Grande.”

I’m a huge Ariana Grande fan or, as we like to call ourselves, I’m an “Arianator.” You can call me basic all you want, but it’s not going to change the way I feel about her and her music.

I’ve always heard stories about how music can heal peoples’ emotional wounds. I could understand why, but I’ve never experienced it myself. Lizzo hypes me up, Harry Styles makes me want to sing along and Billie Eilish gives me some serious chills. However, I’ve never truly connected with the music.

That is, until I discovered Ariana Grande.

I’ve been a fan since the hit song “Problem (ft. Iggy Azalea)” came out in 2014. It’s been six years since I started stanning Ariana, and I fall in love with her music every single day. 

April 27, 2019 was the day I saw her in concert and one of the best days of my life. I had never felt so free, so happy, so me. And going with my best friend made it a hundred times better. It’s a moment I’ll cherish forever and I can only thank Ari for giving me that. 

The variety of her songs is what really stands out to me, from sexy tunes like “Side To Side” to “breathin,” a song about coping with anxiety. Whatever mood I’m in, Ariana has a song for it. 

Aside from her records, Ariana has made herself the queen of pop due to her unbelievable stage presence. If you don’t believe me, just watch the live versions of “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” or “7 rings.” She owns that stage and just slays it.

I think the most pivotal year for me, though, was 2017. So much happened with Ariana that made me stan her even harder than before. The Dangerous Woman Tour was her superior tour to date, and though I’m salty I couldn’t go. I still watched all her live performances and she KILLED IT. 

And of course, if I’m going to fangirl about Ariana, I have to talk about One Love Manchester. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but if you haven’t, I’ll explain: on May 22, 2017, an Ariana Grande concert fell victim to a suicide bombing in Manchester Arena. 22 people died, while dozens were injured. In response, Ari hosted a benefit concert to honor the victims and raise money. Other artists including Miley Cyrus, Imogen Heap and Justin Bieber participated in the event, ultimately raising about $3 million. 

Ever since that day, I’ve looked at Ari in a different light. I’ve always loved and admired her, but One Love Manchester gave me and countless other people around the world a new level of respect for her. I watched a live stream of the entire three-hour-long concert and cried my eyes out. 

After the tragedy, Ariana began releasing songs like that’s themes focused on mental health, taking her fans along on her journey of trying to recover from such a traumatic event. Although I love many other artists, I will never have a connection stronger than the one I feel like I have with Ari.