From Nickelodeon star to breaking Billboard records, we look at Ariana Grande's career so far

Gary Dinges

The wait is nearly over, Arianators.

Ariana Grande's sixth album, "Positions," drops Friday. Its release comes just a week after she dropped a single, also called "Positions," as a teaser of sorts.

Spotify says the title track debuted at No. 1 on its global and US streaming charts.

The album, a follow-up to 2019's "Thank U, Next," features 14 tracks, according to a post Grande made to Instagram this week that had nearly 2.7 million likes. 

"Positions," the album, includes collaborations with The Weeknd, Doja Cat and Ty Dolla $ign.  

"(T)his project is my favorite for many reasons and i really can’t wait for it to be yours," she wrote on Twitter Saturday. "(T)hank u for your love and excitement, it means the world to me."

Ahead of the album's release, we're taking a look back at some notable moments in Grande's career:

'Victorious' debut

Grande first garnered attention starring on Nickelodeon's "Victorious," where she played high school student Cat Valentine. She was 16 when the show debuted in March 2010. She later landed a role in spinoff "Sam & Cat," which premiered in 2013 and ran for a little over a year. Both shows allowed Grande to showcase her stellar vocal skills, paving the way for a bright future in the music industry.

Ariana Grande spent four seasons on Nickelodeon's "Victorious."

First album, 'Yours Truly'

Grande's first album, "Yours Truly," dropped in 2013, while she was still a Nickelodeon star. It was three years in the making and hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It included hit "The Way," a collaboration with rapper Mac Miller. (Miller, who at one time dated Grande, died of a drug overdose in 2018.) Other singles included "Baby I" and "Right There," featuring Big Sean.

Manchester Arena bombing

On May 22, 2017, Grande had just wrapped up a concert at the UK's Manchester Arena when a blast triggered by a suicide bomber rocked the venue. Twenty-three people died and hundreds more were injured. The arena holds more than 14,000 people. The singer has said she underwent therapy to help deal with trauma associated with the attack. She later returned to that same venue, performing as a tribute to the bombing's victims.   

Billboard's 2018 Woman of the Year

Only five years after getting her start in the music industry, Grande was named Billboard's 2018 Woman of the Year. Billboard executive Ross Scarano said, "Certain in her convictions, she consistently stands up for herself and her decisions in a world that often isn’t hospitable to that sort of strength in young women."

Relationship with Pete Davidson

The singer was romantically linked to "Saturday Night Live" star Pete Davidson in 2018. The two became engaged in June of that year, then split a few months later. In an interview with Vogue magazine, Grande referred to her time with Davidson as "an amazing distraction," saying, "It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him." 

First Grammy win

Grande snagged her first Grammy win at the 61st annual awards when she took Best Pop Vocal Album honors for "Sweetener," her fourth album. She wasn't at the ceremony, but did tweet her appreciation to the voters and to the musical acts she was up against.

Overcoming adversity with 'Thank U, Next'

In February 2019, following a tough year that included the concert bombing, Miller's death and the breakup with Davidson, Grande released "Thank U, Next," her fifth studio album. It debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album charts and earned her five Grammy nominations. She'd lose to Billie Eilish, who swept all four major categories that year but who said "Can I just say that Ariana deserves this?" during her acceptance speech for winning album of the year. (Grande, to her credit, waved Eilish off and blew her a kiss.)

Billboard records and decade's most-streamed female artist

Grande made history in 2020 as the first artist with four No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 debuts, as all four of her chart-topping songs ("Thank U, Next", "7 Rings", "Stuck with U" and "Rain on Me") arrived in the top spot. She passed Justin Bieber (with whom she collaborated on "Stuck With U"), Mariah Carey and Drake, each with three No. 1 debuts.

According to Spotify, Grande finished the decade as the most-streamed female artist, with more than 15 billion streams globally. Runners-up included Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Sia and Beyoncé.

New music during the pandemic 

Grande dropped a pair of collaborations this year. In May, during the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, she teamed with Justin Bieber for "Stuck With U," a duet saluting first responders working on the frontlines of the battle against the coronavirus. It won the best music video from home category at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. Her collaboration with Lady Gaga, "Rain On Me," dropped the same month and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The collaboration went on to win three times at the VMAs, including song of the year. 

Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges