Ariana Grande reveals the secret reason she chose ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ to close One Love Manchester

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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The popstar has divulged a very emotional meaning behind her choice of closing song.

Last week marked the first anniversary of the terrorist attack that killed 22 concertgoers and injured 800 more leaving the Manchester Arena after attending Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman tour. 13 days later, Grande was back in the city, to perform at a star-studded benefit concert she had organized that saw the likes of Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Coldplay perform in an emotionally charged four-hour show that raised over £2.35 million for the British Red Cross. 

Streamed live, One Love Manchester became the UK’s most-watched event on TV in 2017 and saw Grande named as the first ever honorary citizen of Manchester for her efforts to aid the city following the bombing. Now Grande has revealed the secret meaning behind opting to close the gig with an unexpected choice of song – the iconic Wizard of Oz ballad ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ – rather than her own track  ‘One Last Time,’ which became an unofficial anthem of resilience in the days after the attack. 

Speaking during an interview with The Fader ahead of the release of her fourth album, Sweetener, Grande explained that the song holds a special place in her heart because it was her late grandfather’s favourite. 

“He would always tell me to sing it in my concerts,” said the 24-year-old of Frank Grande, who passed away in 2014. 

“He would say, ‘You know what you should end with? “Over the Rainbow. And I never did it until that moment. When I was getting ready to do it, I was thinking about him and I felt his presence so heavily around me. He was the person I was closest to in my life. He was everything I wanted to be: as a businessman, as a gentleman, as a human being, as a friend, everything. He was just perfect to me.”

Grande has spoken extensively about her struggle to come to terms with the events of 22 May 2017, recently telling Time that “processing [the attack] is going to take forever.” Now she’s also divulged how therapy – which the popstar says she’s attended her “whole life” – is helping her manage the grief she feels. 

“[Therapy] has helped me deal with so much,” she said, whilst also acknowledging it’s still difficult to discuss the attack. “I think it’s great for everybody. Especially in this regard. Therapy is the best. It really is.”

Images: Getty