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Pop star Ariana Grande has been a staple in the music scene for well over a decade. She got her start as an actor, making waves on the TV shows Victorious and Sam & Cat. Grande had her sights set on a career in music, however. After she had established herself on screen, she transitioned to becoming a pop star. While critics praised the artist’s voice right from the start, she doesn’t have a lot of love for one track. In a 2014 interview, Ariana Grande admitted she still has “nightmares” about “Put Your Hearts Up,” her debut single.

Ariana Grande’s debut single was released in 2011

ariana grande debut single
Ariana Grande visits Planet Hollywood Times Square on December 22, 2011 in New York City. | John Lamparski/WireImage

In 2011, Grande was an established actor and veteran stage star. She had been performing on Nickelodeon programs and in stage productions for years. But Grande’s true love was music, and that was the year that she decided to pursue that dream in earnest. In December 2011, Grande released her debut single, “Put Your Hearts Up.” A tune that sampled “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes, the song showcased Grande’s vocal range.

The song is in the bubblegum pop genre and takes inspiration from ’50s and ’60s musical tracks. According to Billboard, it was released with an accompanying music video that featured Grande dancing through the streets while rocking a bright pink dress.

What did Ariana Grande say about ‘Put Your Hearts Up’?

While many fans loved Grande’s debut single, the artist herself isn’t so fond of the song. In 2014, Grande opened up to Rolling Stone about “Put Your Hearts Up. According to BuzzFeed, she said the song felt “inauthentic and fake,” and that she especially hated the whole process of filming the music video. “I still have nightmares about it, and I made them hide it on my Vevo page,” Grande admitted. 

She went on to describe the music video in detail. “That was the worst moment of my life. For the video, they gave me a bad spray tan and put me in a princess dress and had me frolic around the street. The whole thing was straight out of hell.” Ultimately, while “Put Your Hearts Up” put Grande on the musical map, it wasn’t a huge hit for Grande, failing to hit the Billboard Hot 100.

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Even though Grande clearly doesn’t like “Put Your Hearts Up,” she is very fond of many of her other songs. As she grew and matured as an artist, she was able to have more input into not just the songs themselves, but into the videos and marketing that accompanied each one. By 2018, with the release of her album Sweetener, Grande wasn’t shy about her favorite tunes on the album.

In an August 2018 Twitter Q/A with fans, Grande was asked about what her current favorite songs on Sweetener were. According to Billboard, Grande said, “okay omg… currently ‘I’m in this world,’ ‘r.e.m.,’ ‘borderline,’ ‘pete davidson,’ ‘better off,’ ‘goodnight n go’….but it changes a lot..’borderline’ & ‘everytime’ i go back n forth between in this top five.” Notably, Grande’s fourth album went on to become one of her most successful, with fans responding positively to the songs featured on it and praising how much time and effort Grande put into the project.