'She is one of the brightest pop stars of our era': Live Nation previews Ariana Grande's return to the UK

'She is one of the brightest pop stars of our era': Live Nation previews Ariana Grande's return to the UK

Live Nation's Kelly Chappel and Anna-Sophie Mertens have spoken to Music Week about Ariana Grande's Sweetener world tour, which arrives in the UK this weekend. 

The tour is in support of Grande's fourth and fifth studio albums Sweetener (266,944 sales, OCC) and Thank U, Next (242,472 sales), which were released in August 2018 and February 2019, respectively.

The US superstar, who features on the cover of this week's issue, begins a three-show run at The O2 tomorrow (August 17, 19-20) and will return for two additional nights from October 15-16. 

"The plan was always to add more dates and to show that she is one of the biggest artists in the world right now," said Chappel, Live Nation’s EVP, European touring. "The demand was huge across the whole of Europe."

We definitely want to go into stadiums at some point

Kelly Chappel

Live Nation

Live Nation has worked with Grande since her 2015 Honeymoon tour and the promoter has even bigger ambitions for the singer in the coming years.  

"We definitely want to go into stadiums at some point," said Chappel. "This is a young talented woman with a big future ahead of her.

"As a performer her confidence has grown over recent years, and her voice is sensational and sounding better than ever. She really is a worldwide star."

Grande's last tour of the UK was tragically cut short due to the Manchester attack, which took place outside Manchester Arena after the singer's concert on the evening of May 22, 2017, and claimed 22 lives.

Grande headlines Manchester Pride on August 25 – her first concert in the city since 2017's One Love Manchester benefit concert, with further gigs lined up at Arena Birmingham (September 14-15), Glasgow's SSE Hydro (September 17) and FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield (September 19), along with a three-night stand at 3Arena in Dublin (September 22-23, 25).

Support comes from Grammy Award-winning English singer/songwriter Ella Mai and US pop duo Social House, who collaborated with Grande on her current hit Boyfriend. 

"The setlist is promising to be a tour de force of her latest records, fan favourites, and the biggest pop songs of recent times," said Mertens. "She is one of the brightest pop stars of our era." 

Booked by CAA, the Sweetener tour placed 19th in Pollstar’s mid-year rankings, grossing $37.9 million (£31.2m) from 24 shows up to May 22.

"The Sweetener World Tour is set to be one of the biggest tours we’ve worked on this year," added Mertens. "Everything from stellar visuals and state of the art production, to Ariana’s phenomenal vocals, this tour will be a real spectacle for fans."

Subscribers can read the full Ariana Grande cover story here.

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