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The Ariana Affect

Mental health is an especially important part of our everyday lives, especially the lives of teenagers and young adults. Mental health is the state of well being where an individual is able to recognize their abilities and cope with everyday challenges. As a teenager, speaking from experience, this is an extremely difficult thing to keep up with. But as several studies, and personal experiences, have shown music can be a significant part of improving mental health. A specific artist by the world-renowned name of Ariana Grande contributed to this improvement of mental health, especially through her song “get well soon”. As the world has watched Grande endure a series of personal struggles made public, her album “Sweetener” that features the song “get well soon” has been an inspiration to us all to indeed, get well soon. Her song “get well soon” specifically helped the mental health of not only herself but all her fans and listeners.

Ariana Grande was formerly known as a child star from the Nickelodeon shows Victorious and Sam & Cat but she has moved on to be an award-winning pop and contemporary r&b artist. And while her fans have watched her thrive through several different accomplishments such as her 10 MTV Video Music Awards, these last few years have been especially difficult for her. An article entitled “Ariana Grande: A Timeline of Tragedy and Triumph” once again affirms this has not been an easy year for this pop star in the slightest. The article states, “From the Manchester bombing to failed relationships and the death of an ex-boyfriend, no one can argue that Grande has been through a lot” (Smeraglia 1). All these events have caused Ariana to shut out the public in several aspects. She was rarely on social media, constantly caught crying by paparazzi, and stopped releasing consistent music, and then “Sweetener” was released. The song “get well soon” was particularly pointed out as being one of the most impactful and heartfelt songs on the entire 48-minute album. Her reason for writing this song was to encourage her listeners and in several ways encourage herself to take care of their mental health. A lyric states, “This is for everybody/Babe, you gotta take care of your body, yuh yuh/ Ain't no time to deny it, that is why we talking about it” (Grande). Analysts also noticed that the moment of silence was to commemorate the 23 fatalities and 500 injuries of the bombing at her “concert on May 22, 2017, in Manchester, United Kingdom for her “Dangerous Woman Tour” (Smeraglia 1). The noted 40 seconds of silence makes the song exactly 5 minutes and 22 seconds long. After this commemoration was made public, she confirmed this was intentional. A Billboard article states, “Grande has confirmed that song is about her struggles with anxiety after the Manchester bombing, which took place on May 22, or 5/22, 2017. The song's length and period of silence are thought to be an acknowledgment of the attack” (Rincon 1). Her intentions were to both comfort herself, her audience, and the families of the people that lost their lives at her concert.

This transitions into the importance of the musical affect mental health and why “get well soon” was such an impactful piece. After these traumatic events happened to Grande she has diagnosed with a mental illness herself. “While she continued her “Dangerous Woman Tour” after the bombing, Grande dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety” (Smeraglia 1). Mental illness and health has always been a touchy subject among everyone and heightened among teenagers and young adults. Most people don’t even recognize it as a real health component or illness. But according to an article entitled “Teens and Young Adults” by the National Alliance on Mental Illness elaborates on why it should be taken as seriously as any other illness. The article states, “Mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults. 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by age 14 and 75% develop by age 24” (NAMI 1). This is why artists like Ariana Grande sharing their take on it and providing a sense of comfort is so important. Her song “get well soon” emphasizes the point that her fans are not alone in what they’re feeling inside whenever they listen to her song. The lyric “When you need someone to pull you out the bubble/I'll be right there just to hug you, I'll be there” (Grande) illuminates that.

The theory that music improves mental health through musical therapy also plays a part in what Ariana’s song was trying to accomplish. An article entitled “The Impact of Music Therapy on Mental Health” presents the aspects of musical therapy that enhances mental health. The article states A person receiving music therapy is encouraged to offer insight, alternative lyrics, and tangible tools or themes from lyrics that can apply to obstacles in their life and their treatment. We all have a song that we deeply connect to and appreciate—lyric analysis provides an opportunity for an individual to identify song lyrics that may correlate with their experience” (Warren 2). Grande’s song “get well soon” does exactly this for her fans and those that listen to her music. Another lyric that stresses this is, “You can work your way to the top/Just know that there's up and downs and there's drops/Unfollow fear and just say, "You are blocked"/Just know there is so much room at the top”(Grande). These lyrics especially leave room for listeners to internalize the fact that mental health is messy, there’s ups and downs and lefts and rights. That may be especially comforting to someone going through a “down” and “left”. And this same effect she has on her listeners she has on herself. Undoubtedly, the last years have been very difficult for Grande, but a creative outlet that is “Sweetener” gave her the opportunity to pour all that trauma and emotion for her greater good and the greater good of her fans.

To sum it up, mental health is extremely important specifically to teenagers and young adults. Given everything, teenagers have to endure on a daily basis between impossible societal standards and daily pressures music seems to be a constant they can rely on. Ariana Grande is an artist that can help ease these daily pressures with her comforting music, specifically her song “get well soon”. This song has allowed listeners to reflect on their mental health and understand it’s okay to go through ups and downs because there’s always room at the top. As well as Grande giving herself an outlet to experience her emotions and inspire others in the process. And that’s the Ariana Affect.

Works Cited

  1. “Fans Speculate Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ Track ‘Get Well Soon’ Is 5:22 Long to Honor Manchester Attack.” Billboard, . Accessed 19 Nov. 2020.

  2. “How Ariana Grande Is Overcoming Her Worst Year Yet.” E! Online, 14 Sept. 2018,

  3. Smeraglia, Gianna. “Ariana Grande: A Timeline of Tragedy and Triumph.” Medium, 19 Dec. 2018,

  4. “The Impact of Music Therapy on Mental Health.” NAMI, .

  5. “Teens & Young Adults.” NAMI, .


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