Grande, 24, appeared on the cover of the magazine’s annual Next Generation Leaders issue and described the ongoing impact of the events of 22 May 2017, when a suicide bomber detonated a homemade shrapnel bomb as fans streamed out of Grande’s concert at Manchester Arena. Twenty-two people were killed and more than 800 injured.
Grande said: “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.”
Scooter Braun, Grande’s manager, discussed the immediate aftermath of the bombing. Grande had flown back to her grandmother’s house in Florida when he asked her to stage a tribute concert for the victims: “She looked at me like I was insane. She said, ‘I can never sing these songs again. I can’t put on these outfits. Don’t put me in this position.’” They cancelled the rest of the tour, but two days later Grande agreed to do the concert, telling Braun: “If I don’t do something, these people died in vain.”
The concert, One Love Manchester, was held on 4 June 2017 and featured performers including Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Liam Gallagher. More than 55,000 fans attended. Grande told Time of the importance of staging the concert: “The last thing I would ever want is for my fans to see something like that happen and think it won.”
The profile also revealed that Grande and members of her crew got bee tattoos in tribute to the Manchester worker bee, a motif adopted during the Industrial Revolution. A bee appears at the end of the video for No Tears Left to Cry, Grande’s comeback single.
The singer’s fourth album, Sweetener, is expected to arrive later this summer and feature production from Max Martin, Savan Kotecha and Pharrell Williams.