“There are so many people who have suffered such loss and pain,” Grande said of the May 2017 attack, which killed 22 people. “The processing part is going to take forever.”
Nearly a year after the attack, Grande is still reluctant to talk about the attack itself. “I don’t want to give it that much power,” Grande told Time. “Something so negative. 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.”
The cover story also touches on the immediate aftermath of the bombing, when the shellshocked Grande canceled her European tour to recover emotionally in her native Boca Raton, Florida. While her manager Scooter Braun encouraged her to get back on the road, Grande was reticent before deciding to spearhead the One Manchester benefit concert. “If I don’t do something, these people died in vain,” she told Braun.
Grande’s healing process included the recording of her new LP Sweetener, with the singer co-writing all of the album’s tracks. “I was never as involved,” Grande said. “I felt more inclined to tap into my feelings because I was spending more time with them. I was talking about them more. I was in therapy more.”
The bee, a symbol of industrious Manchester, appears toward the end of Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry” video, and that honey-producing insect also inspired the title of Sweetener. “When you’re handed a challenge, instead of sitting there and complaining about it, why not try to make something beautiful?” Grande said of the album, which arrives this summer.