Ariana Grande has done little press since the May 2017 terrorist attack at her Manchester concert that killed 22 people. Now she has opened up in a Time cover story about her mental health in the aftermath of the tragedy, and described how her tribute concert came together. Her manager Scooter Braun tells the latter story for her, explaining that Grande flew to Florida to stay with her grandmother immediately after the attack, where he joined her and told her that her fans would need her to perform again. “She looked at me like I was insane,” he recalls. “She said, ‘I can never sing these songs again. I can’t put on these outfits. Don’t put me in this position.’” Her response prompted the suspension of her tour, but two days later, Braun said he received a flood of texts from Grande saying she’d had a change of heart about doing a charity show. “If I don’t do something, these people died in vain,” she wrote.
Though Ariana does not wish to address the attack directly (“I don’t want to give it that much power”), she says she has sought therapy, revealing her past battle with anxiety:
“I never opened up about it, because I thought that was how life was supposed to feel … There are so many people who have suffered such loss and pain. The processing part is going to take forever … Music is supposed to be the safest thing in the world. I think that’s why it’s still so heavy on my heart every single day. I wish there was more that I could fix. You think with time it’ll become easier to talk about. Or you’ll make peace with it. But every day I wait for that peace to come and it’s still very painful.”
She says of the attack, “It’s the absolute worst of humanity. That’s why I did my best to react the way I did. The last thing I would ever want is for my fans to see something like that happen and think it won.”