Pint-sized pop singer Ariana Grande is the reason why the phrase "cutie patootie" exists, even at age 21. But did you know that lurking deep down that adorable, quinceañera-frequenting exterior, below even the demons she speaks freely about, may be the cold-blooded heart of a serial killer? It's true, she said it to Billboard in a tossed-off aside that the industry mag then blared on its cover, as a pull quote on a photo within the accompanying story, and in a press release announcing the article last week.
From the cover story:
Grande, who now lives in Los Angeles, says she was "a very weird little girl" growing up in Boca Raton, Fla.: "Dark and deranged. I always wanted to have skeleton face paint on or be wearing a Freddy Krueger mask, and I would carry a hockey stick around. I was like a mini-Helena Bonham Carter." Sitting in the cavelike lounge we've retreated to in downtown L.A., she looses a throaty, almost maniacal laugh. "For my fifth birthday party we had a Jaws theme and all my friends left crying. I mean, I still am that way. But when I was little it was more concerning. There was a stage, when I was 3 or 4, where my mom thought I might grow up to be a serial killer."
Ariana is a very young person in the grand scheme of things; she still might.
However, let's not get too worried too quickly— A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger didn't carry around a hockey stick. She's probably thinking of Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees, who also didn't carry a hockey stick, but wore a hockey mask starting with 1982's Friday the 13th Part III. Serial-killing: you're doing it wrong, Ariana. What are we gonna do with you? I'm not entirely sure...but here comes the Tickle Monster!
What else is up with this ball of energy, melisma, and cooing ad-libs who describes herself as "literally the most sardonic person you've ever met?" Well, she practices Kabbalah, the religion created by her idol, old Jewish mystic and global superstar Madonna, for one thing!
But her most towering influence may be Madonna. After hearing Grande easily harmonize to Madonna albums all afternoon, I half joke that the two should do a song together. "Oh my God, my heart would stop," she gushes. "She is strength, she is freedom, she is wisdom beyond anybody's comprehension." Grande was raised Catholic but "departed from that and started practicing my own things when I was around 12 years old," she says. Now, like Madonna, Grande practices Kabbalah. "As a fellow Kabbalist, I know how hard it is to exercise those tools in your everyday life," says Grande. "Especially in a world where everything is so egocentric and all you do is talk about yourself and promote yourself."
Now this is a kid who knows how to stay grounded, right?
"When I was 14, I wanted to make a straight-up, like, India Arie record," remembers Grande, laughing. "Something really soulful." Is it her inner Bonham Carter that pulls Grande toward what she calls "the bittersweetness" of soul music? "Maybe," she says, sighing. "I honestly think it could be a past-life thing. You know those things where you love something but you don't know why, or you're scared of something but you don't know why? I feel like all of those things are from another life."
Grande gets compared to Mariah Carey a lot, and sometimes this doesn't yet seem justified. However, she is serving, like, Glitter levels of eccentricity before the release of her sophomore album. Ariana Grande, you're doing this pop-music thing right. Ariana Grande, you are a STAH!
[ Image via Getty]