Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Maya Rose – Ariana Grande, Dangerous Woman
Dear Dangerous Woman,
I was so excited for you to be released. It was 2016, and I was in year 12 when you came out. I said to myself I could buy you as a reward for the hard work I’d been putting in at school. I listened to you, a lot! I was obsessed with discovering every musical moment within you. You became the soundtrack that got me through everything. But you were so much more than that.
Ariana Grande has been such an inspiration to me since the time I discovered her in 2014 and I wished I caught on sooner. I love all her albums but Dangerous Woman, you are one of those albums where I love every single song. Each one empowers me in a different way. I found myself gaining a new sense of strength through it. ‘Moonlight’ and ‘I Don’t Care’ make me feel emotional, ‘Dangerous Woman’ and ‘Leave Me Lonely’ makes me feel powerful, ‘Be Alright’ makes me feel hopeful, ‘Into You’ and ‘Let Me Love You’ makes me feel sexy, ‘Greedy’ and ‘Side to Side’ makes me feel sassy, ‘Touch It’ and ‘Thinking Bout You’ makes me feel vulnerable, ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Knew Better_Forever Boy’ makes me feel in love. I loved ‘Into You’ so much I posted a cover of it on my YouTube channel and made it into a medley with Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’.
Ariana mixes pop and R&B so beautifully, something I strive to do. The level of production is flawless. You don’t limit yourself to one sound. You incorporate different exciting genres – doo-wop, reggae, deep house and disco funk, yet there is an undercurrent of R&B and Pop throughout which makes me feel very comfortable listening to you. I feel driven and inspired by you musically. There are contrasting moments between songs that feel dark and moody, to tracks that uplift and make me feel like dancing. Whenever I put you on there is always something there for me to connect with no matter how I’m feeling.
In 2017, I went to the Dangerous Woman Tour in Melbourne. It was one of the best nights of my life. I sung every word with passion. I was blown away by Ariana’s live vocals. I cried when she sung ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ a tribute to the bombing at her Manchester concert. She cried too. We cried with her.
Sometimes I think, Dangerous Woman, you could have gone deeper, let us see the real Ariana Grande or look outside at the bigger world around you. But it’s okay, I don’t think that was your moment to do that. I can relate to this. Being about the same age Ariana was when she wrote you, I’m working out how to be truly honest in my lyrics. I need to write about the bigger issues as well. But you are a fun album; not too serious. You’re about love, you’re flirty, independent and grown up, but at the same time, still finding yourself. For that reason, you don’t get old. Ariana Grande has grown in herself and been through so much since you, Dangerous Woman. I can hear how she has opened up to broader topics but also delved deeper into herself in her album Thank U, Next. She’s grown up and not afraid to say how she feels now. I look forward to finding this in myself on my own journey. Thank you.
Over time, with more experience, I can relate to you even more. Some of the songs have become even more significant to me. You are more real now. Years later, I still love listening to you. You hold a special place in my heart. There’s something bout you that makes me feel like a Dangerous Woman, too.
Maya Rose’s debut single ‘See You Again’ is out now. Listen here. She is currently launching her new single with shows throughout Victoria this month.