Why Ariana Grande Says Releasing Her Mac Miller Collaboration ‘The Way’ Was ‘Freeing and Terrifying’

Ariana Grande has opened up about how her collaboration with Mac Miller, “The Way,” changed her life, eight years after the song was first released. 

Here’s what Grande had to say about the single and how it relates to her relationship with Mac Miller.

Ariana Grande and Mac Miller released ‘The Way’ in 2013

“The Way” is a song from Grande’s 2013 debut album, Yours Truly. It features Mac Miller and was released as the first single from the album. The song samples the piano melody from Brenda Russell’s 1979 song “A Little Bit of Love.”

“The Way” reached number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100, making it the first top 10 song on the chart for both Grande and Miller. 

The accompanying music video shows Grande and Miller dancing in a room filled with balloons as the rapper takes photos of the songstress. 

Mac Miller and Ariana Grande perform on stage together.
Ariana Grande and Mac Miller | Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The ‘7 Rings’ singer said releasing ‘The Way’ was both ‘freeing and terrifying’

In Oct. 2021, Grande appeared in the debut episode of her long-time friend and vocal coach Eric Vetro’s podcast. The show is called “Backstage Pass with Eric Vetro.”

Vetro has worked with Grande for over 14 years, becoming her close friend along the way. She opened up to him about what her song “The Way” meant to her. 

“Putting out ‘The Way’ was very freeing and terrifying for me because I was so convinced that I had to be one thing because people knew me from my show that I was doing from Nickelodeon, and I was playing a character that a lot of people knew me as,” Grande explained on the podcast. 

“I was kinda terrified to do what I actually wanted and make the music that I actually wanted to make,” the “Thank U, Next” singer said. “And have my brown hair, wear thigh-high boots, [and be] what I wanted to be. It was a really incredible turning point for me.”

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‘The Way’ marked a relationship milestone for Ariana Grande and Mac Miller

“The Way” wasn’t Grande and Miller’s first collaboration. They recorded the Christmas song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in 2012. 

But creating the music video for “The Way” marked a significant milestone for the couple, even though they didn’t officially start dating until 2016. 

As many fans of the famous former couple know, the musicians dated for two years until breaking up in May 2018. Grande got engaged to Pete Davidson in June 2018, and Miller died from an overdose in September of the same year. 

Miller and Grande flirt and kiss in “The Way” music video, which sparked dating rumors before they ever got together. And the kiss they shared on camera was their first kiss. 

Miller explained the kiss in an interview with MTV News in 2013. “That’s the homie. She’s got a boyfriend and everything,” Miller said (via Billboard). “Obviously, that [kiss] made everyone talk. I didn’t even know that was going to happen, and then we were shooting, and the director was like, ‘This should happen,’ and I’m like, ‘Alright.’”

But perhaps Grande and Miller felt sparks from that on-screen kiss, which led to their passionate romance years later.