But a prominent theme in Grande’s response to fame has been sharing the limelight, whether it’s including her friends in her videos or picking up and showing off promising talent in her stable of songwriters. 7 Rings, her latest hit, comes from her forthcoming record thank u, next, and it features both old and new friends in the credits.
Each of them have impressive careers of their own, so let’s explore just how extraordinary the talent is that Grande has collected.
Tommy Brown AKA TBHits (see header image) has been with Grande since the start. He’s been responsible for several songs on every one of her records, which makes him one of Grande’s most dependable collaborators. But even before hooking up with Grande, Brown was cashing cheques from the music industry, earning a Grammy nom for his production on the Black Eyed Peas’ The Beginning album in 2010, and helping out with tracks by 2 Chainz and Victoria Monet.
When Michael “Mikey” Foster and Charles “Scootie” Anderson moved to LA from Pittsburgh, Grande was one of the first people they met. Before the release of the track thank u, next in November last year, they’d already picked up some heat for their summery breakthrough Magic In The Hamptons with Lil Yachty. That track marked Social House as ultra-posi, sincere dudes – a natural fit for two of Grande’s biggest self-love anthems. While they’ve only got a few tracks of their own – including last year’s Higher – their future looks bright. They’ll be opening for Ari on her Sweetener tour this year.
As a student of early aughts R’n’B and pop, Victoria Monét feels like a kindred spirit to Grande’s music. A killer performer in her own right (and under her own name), Monét has also written songs for Fifth Harmony (including Work From Home), B.o.B. and TI. Monét also collaborated on thank u, next (the track, and several others on the record).
Like Monét, Njomza has her own rep for slinky pop jams under her own name. She was also the one who prompted Grande to spin a real life experience – Grande buying all her friends diamond rings – into a hit single. She isn’t selfish with her hits; in addition to her work with Grande, she’s also helped pen bangers for Skrillex, Tinashe, and FKi 1st. Late last year she released her EP Vacation, a collection of sparse heartache bops.
Parx is one of the more prolific songwriters in Grande’s stable. With more than 60 songwriting credits over the past five years, Parx is a hit machine, going into the studio with Fifth Harmony, Janelle Monáe, Meghan Trainor, Beyoncé protégés Chloe x Halle, and even our own Guy Sebastian and The Presets. She’s also written with K-pop stars BTS and f(x), which probably gives Parx a unique insight into the Asian pop influences on Grande’s aesthetic lately. In addition to working with Grande, Parx’s 2019 includes a tour of her own tracks around the US in the first half of the year.
Kaydence is the most enigmatic of Grande’s 7 Rings collaborators. Growing up in Queens, Kaydence came up through gospel music and got into hip hop when she discovered Tupac. Starting off as a rapper in 2010, she later packed up her bags and moved to LA to make beats. Grande met Kaydence when the latter was working out of the same studio; when the two were introduced, Grande went through some of Kaydence’s material, and picked it up on the spot. The two have been fast friends since they started working together on Sweetener, and Grande made sure Kaydence was on board for thank u, next.
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Okay, so they obviously didn’t hit Ari up in the studio, but they do have writing credits on 7 Rings. Rodgers and Hammerstein are two of the most famous names in songwriting. Rodgers was the first person ever to EGOT, but Hammerstein got a prestigious award named after him, so who’s to say who came out on top? They’re credited thanks to 7 Rings’ liberal use of the melody from The Sound of Music’s My Favorite Things. Given that they were admirers of the human voice, it’s nice to think they probably would’ve been into Ariana Grande.
thank u, next is out February 8 via Universal.