At 8, South Florida-born pop and rhythm-and-blues star Ariana Grande was a professional singer. At 13, she was on Broadway. At 22, she’s headlining arenas throughout the world.
Grande’s “Honeymoon Tour” comes to the Smoothie King Center on Friday. The tour follows the many hits the 5-foot-tall singer released in the past two years. They include “The Way” (with Mac Miller), “Baby I,” “Right There,” “Problem” (featuring Iggy Azalea) and a collaboration with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, the quintuple-platinum “Bang Bang.”
While still a child, Grande sang with symphony orchestras in her home state. She made her national TV debut belting out “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Florida Panthers hockey game.
Grande’s star rose when she played Charlotte in the Broadway musical “13.” She loved theater.
“I remember saying, ‘Mommy, I never want this to end,’ ” Grande told British newspaper The Telegraph in 2014. “I loved playing a character. It was sort of just taking a vacation from myself.”
After appearing in the 2010 Desmond Child musical “Cuba Libre,” Grande moved to Los Angeles and played Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon TV series “Victorious.” Her Cat character segued into the spinoff series “Sam & Cat.”
Grande pursued her music career as she continued her TV work. She signed a record deal at 17, but her early recordings disappointed her. She rebounded with the more mature sound of pop anthem “The Way,” a Top 10 hit.
Grande’s album debut, “Yours Truly,” showing the influence of Mariah Carey and Imogen Heap, followed. Bloggers, noting her smooth R&B style and Carey influence, named her “Mini-Mariah.” The album hit No. 1.
Grande became a huge social presence. Billboard named her the most influential person to watch online. She currently has 32 million Twitter followers.
Between her first and second album, Grande released the holiday EP “Christmas Kisses.” The full-length album “My Everything” appeared in August 2014. It debuted at No. 1 throughout the world.
Naturally, reports of diva behavior surfaced.
“It’s funny how a certain amount of success comes with a certain amount of weird, inaccurate depictions of you,” Grande told The Telegraph. “Things can only last so long when there’s little truth to them. So that’s why I don’t trip over it.”
The singer told Billboard in 2014 that making hit records always was her goal.
“I remember when I first came to L.A. to meet with my managers. I was like, ‘I want to make an R&B album,’ ” Grande said. “They were like, ‘Who is going to buy a 14-year-old’s R&B album?’”
Grande was 20 by the time “Yours Truly” appeared in 2013. Sales of her R&B-inflected pop, starting with the hit singles that preceded “Yours Truly,” have been massive.
Grande won the music stardom she wanted. Cat-ear-wearing fans by the thousands, for instance, shrieked through her Sept. 26 show at Brooklyn, New York’s Barclays Center. The singer’s “signature diva-in-training runs and wails,” Billboard reported, brought the house down.