'She's taken the crown': Island talks Ariana Grande's swift return

'She's taken the crown': Island talks Ariana Grande's swift return

Guillermo Ramos, VP, marketing at Island Records, has told Music Week that the UK label expects Ariana Grande to top the sales performance of last year’s album Sweetener.

Just six months since that album debuted at No.1 on sales of 44,755, the follow-up Thank U, Next is on course to top that and have the biggest opening of the year so far. Early sales flashes on Monday (February 11) had Grande on 31,302 units (47.6%) and album tracks are set to make a big impact on the singles chart.

“Our expectation, body language and support as a label is certainly that we want to keep this trajectory of growth and improving on previous results,” said Ramos. “We want to do that all the time with all our artists, but certainly with Ariana right now it’s a no-brainer.

“I don’t think at this point anyone needs convincing, but she truly is the real deal. So this is the album of an artist at her peak. To say that she’s at her peak at 25 is a little crazy, but she’s just got it, she’s got it all. I think this is going to be a huge record, a record that sticks around for the entire year, and that every single that we work is going to be as reactive and as explosive as what we’ve done to date. This is truly her time.”

Sweetener has sales to date of 220,298, according to the Official Charts Company. But Island had to adapt to Grande’s switch to a new campaign within months, which resulted in streaming records being broken for singles Thank U, Next and 7 Rings.

Thank U, Next is the album of an artist at her peak

Guillermo Ramos

Grande snubbed the Grammys ceremony at the weekend but won her first Grammy – Best Pop Vocal Album for Sweetener.

“She’s taken the crown as the biggest pop star in the world,” Ramos told Music Week. “She’s had an incredible six months breaking records, positioning herself on the highest echelon.

“If you look at the streaming records and YouTube records that she’s broken, all of the output is bang on and resonates and is shareable. It’s for the young generation and the older generation. No one has got more social media impact, no one is seen as such an influencer as her – and she’s got the most impressive vocal since Whitney Houston.”

Island Records has had limited access to Grande in the UK but has made the most of it, according to the label.

“Her footprint in the UK is really significant, underpinned by big TV moments like the BBC special that happened last year,” said Ramos. “She’s nominated for Best International Female at the BRIT Awards, it’s a great category but you look at it and Ariana is the one’s who’s had the undeniable year [of success].”

As things stand, Grande is not scheduled to perform at the BRITs next week (February 20). But Ramos said the Thank U, Next campaign would further benefit from her presence in the market during her summer/autumn UK arena tour.

“People love her in this country,” said Ramos. “She’s penetrated British culture far more than just with music. That is something that only someone who’s doing things on their own terms can really achieve.”

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