“My brother Frankie is obsessed with it and wearing it everywhere,” said Grande in a phone interview with WWD, taking a break from her 88-show “Honeymoon” tour. “He’s always like, ‘I need a new bottle.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t have a bottle! I need one for myself!’ He keeps stealing mine!”
This story first appeared in the September 12, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The singer and actress, who starred in Nickelodeon shows such as “Victorious” and “Winx Club: Enchantix” before rocketing to fame as a singer with her 2013 album, “Yours Truly,” was taking a short but enforced break from her tour earlier this week, having had to cancel a gig in Sacramento, Calif., due to a strained throat.
“One of my big fears is something happening to my voice, because vocal chords are fragile little things, and it is so easy for something to go wrong when you’re singing as much as I do every night,” she said. “The good news is I went to the doctor yesterday to have my [vocal] chords looked at. So he scopes me — and it turns out they were even in better shape than they were before the show, which means that I’m singing properly.”
After a Friday concert in Los Angeles, Grande’s got a video shoot scheduled. “We’re starting the creative process for the next album, and we’re going to be shooting a whole bunch of stuff,” she said. “But it’s the best music I’ve ever made. I feel like I’m always attached to every album as I’m making it, so I’m probably going to say that about every album, but this one feels really special.”
Speaking of making things she’s attached to, Grande is eager to get her first scent on counters this week. “I wanted it to be personal, especially if I’m going to call it Ari,” said Grande. “I’ve been obsessed with smells my whole life. One year I got a gift basket [with fragrances]. I’d put the lotion on every day, the body spray every day — I would walk around my house literally smelling like a bakeshop. I’m not just slapping my name on some perfume I think smells OK. I am genuinely obsessed with it. I can’t walk past the bottle in my room without spraying on me 14,000 times.”
Ari by Ariana Grande, which Grande concocted with Firmenich’s Frank Voelkl, has top notes of crispy pear, pink grapefruit and juicy raspberry; a heart of soft muguet, rosebuds and vanilla orchid, and a drydown of marshmallow, creamy musk and blonde woods. (No, there are no doughnut notes.)
“I learned a lot about what notes work together,” she said. “[I found that] a lot of my favorite fragrances have juicy raspberry and marshmallow in them, just like mine. I like fruity and sweet fragrances.”
Eaux de parfum in four sizes — 1 oz. for $39, 1.7 oz. for $49, 3.4 oz. for $59 and a .34-oz. rollerball for $20 — will be sold, as will a 6.8-oz. body lotion, $20; a 5-oz. hair mist, $20, and a 5.3-oz. coffee scrub, $20.
Grande noted that she was intrigued with how the scent smells different on different people, given their body chemistry. “One of my best friends, Tyler, was wearing it, and walked past me. I was like, ‘What’s that? That smells good,’ and he was like, ‘It’s your perfume!’”
Grande’s favorite color is purple, which is reflected both in the bottle and the carton (the latter features images of Grande on a lavender background.) For a whimsical touch, Grande chose a removable white pompom to hang around the bottle’s neck.
“I wanted the bottle itself to look really old school, like something you would see in an old movie,” said Grande.
Luxe Brands partnered with Los Angeles-based creative agency BBH to create a multifaceted marketing program, which includes a significant digital campaign as well as print advertising in October fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. The digital campaign breaks Sept. 12.
“The cool thing about the fragrance is that it’s hand in hand with the ‘Be You’ campaign, using #BeYou,” said Grande. “I want to inspire my fans to be unapologetically themselves, celebrating our differences, boosting each other up rather than tearing each other down and meeting society’s ridiculous standard of beauty and perfection. It’s really nice now and then to be reminded that being yourself is more than enough. You’re totally perfect. That’s so cheesy to say, but it’s true.”
The line will be sold in about 4,200 department and specialty store doors in North America, including Macy’s, Ulta, Bon Ton, Lord & Taylor and Stage in the U.S., and Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada.
It will simultaneously launch in the U.K., Germany and Australia. “This deal will help us secure our position in the fragrance industry,” said Tony Bajaj, president and chief executive officer of Luxe Brands, Grande’s fragrance licensee. Bajaj founded Luxe Brands in 2014.
Grande will make a personal appearance supporting the fragrance at Macy’s Herald Square on Wednesday. She lamented the fact hat she wouldn’t be able to hit New York Fashion Week. “I’ve never gone, and always wanted to,” she said. “But I’ve got so much prep to do for this next album, so not this season.”
Next up for Grande is Fox’s “Scream Queens,” coming out on Sept. 22. “It’s really funny and it’s really dark and scary at the same time,” she said. “Comedy and horror are my two favorite genres, so the combination was great.” She’s also said to be filming Zoolander 2, tentatively scheduled for a 2016 release. She also has a single coming out. “I haven’t announced the date yet, but it’s called ‘Focus on Me,’ and my album will follow shortly thereafter. I’ve been working on it while I’m on tour, because I’ve felt really inspired. I’m pretty honest [on this one].”