In Billboard's "Women in Music 2018" feature, Grande showed off the inside of the New York studio she's been working in — decked out with white flowers, a candle and water ripple-effect lighting. That's where she wrote thank u, next in about a week and recorded it in just two weeks.
She worked on the album with Tommy Brown, Social House, Victoria Monét, Tayla Parx and Doug Middlebrook, before enlisting Max Martin and his team for finishing touches.
Grande described the new songs as the result of lots of "feminine energy and champagne and music and laughter and crying," and although she described the music as sounding "upbeat," the lyrics and motivation stem from "a super sad chapter."
It will mark her first album since the passing of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and her breakup with former fiancé Pete Davidson, though she also hinted at a brighter tune that's included on the album called "7 Rings" — inspired by a shopping trip to Tiffany's with her friends.
The upcoming record also finds Grande pulling away from the typical pop music trajectory, and shifting towards putting out music "the way that a rapper does."
"I feel like there are certain standards that pop women are held to that men aren't," she told Billboard. "We have to do the teaser before the single, then do the single, and wait to do the pre-order, and radio has to impact before the video, and we have to do the discount on this day, and all this shit. It's just like, 'Bruh, I just want to fucking talk to my fans and sing and write music and drop it the way these boys do. Why do they get to make records like that and I don't?' So I do and I did and I am, and I will continue to."
There's still no official release date for thank u, next, but from the sounds of things, we probably won't be getting much lead time.
See her upcoming "Sweetener World Tour" dates here.
Below, see Grande's latest album updates via Twitter.
hi from the booth. finishin up.— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) December 4, 2018
i dunno when still but it's beautiful and waiting for u— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) December 4, 2018
hello i'm crying and i'm one too many glasses in to be reading this rn tbh. love and appreciate u sm. thank u for encouraging my honesty & inspiring me to be a braver writer. 🌱 i feel so dreamy and grateful rn. hurry yo ass up @republicrecords. https://t.co/fhQ8cPxK5T— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) December 5, 2018