The Way (Ariana Grande song)

"The Way"
Ariana Grande - The Way.png
Single by Ariana Grande featuring Mac Miller
from the album Yours Truly
ReleasedMarch 26, 2013 (2013-03-26)
Format
RecordedJanuary 2013
Genre
Length
  • 3:46 (featuring Mac Miller)
  • 3:10 (solo version)
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Ariana Grande singles chronology
"Put Your Hearts Up"
(2011)
"The Way"
(2013)
"Popular Song"
(2013)
Mac Miller singles chronology
"Loud"
(2013)
"The Way"
(2013)
"S.D.S."
(2013)
Music video
"The Way" on YouTube

"The Way" is a song recorded by American singer Ariana Grande, featuring rapper Mac Miller, from Grande's debut studio album Yours Truly (2013). It was written by the song's producer Harmony Samuels, alongside Amber Streeter, Al Sherrod Lambert, Jordin Sparks, Brenda Russell, and Miller. The song's backing track is based on the piano melody from Russell's 1979 song "A Little Bit of Love", and the song has melodic and lyrical similarities to Big Pun's 1998 song "Still Not a Player", which also samples "A Little Bit of Love".[4][5]

"The Way" was released on March 26, 2013, by Republic Records as the lead single from Yours Truly. The song debuted at number 10 and peaked at number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Grande and Miller's first top ten song on the chart. This also made Grande the first top ten arrival for a lead female artist making her first Hot 100 appearance since Yael Naim, who launched with "New Soul" back in 2008. As of April 2018, "The Way" has sold 2.4 million copies in the United States and has been certified triple platinum.[6]

Background

Rapper Mac Miller was featured on "The Way".

On December 12, 2011, Grande released her debut single "Put Your Hearts Up," a bubblegum pop song with a vastly different style of music and target demographic than "The Way."[7] Whereas the lyrics in "The Way" deal with the subject of a flirty, romantic relationship, some sections with sexual implications, "Put Your Hearts Up" was a song aimed at young audiences, with lyrics about making the world a better place. During a radio interview on KIIS-FM on March 25, 2013 about her debut single, Grande confessed that she had in fact "hated" both the music video for and the song itself, considering it to be "a terrible first impression." She added that she had wanted to "pretend it never happened before it already happened" and that she had felt no enthusiasm to promote the song at the time.[8]

In subsequent interviews, Grande implied that in order to feel "passionate" about her music, it needed to relate to her maturing personality. In an interview with Billboard she said, "When I do Sam & Cat, and when I act as Cat, of course I'm still going to be there for my younger fans. But I'm also growing up – I'm almost 20. I'm not going to do anything crazy, but I want to do music that I'm passionate about. I'm finally at an age where I can do the music that I grew up loving, which was urban pop, 90s music. I grew up listening to the divas, so I'm very happy to finally do urban pop. I hope that it's received well, and it has been so far." [9]

"The Way" can be seen as the reboot of Grande's singing career, steering her toward an older demographic and a different musical genre than where she originally began. In January 2013, she met with producer Harmony Samuels, at which point he presented her with a demo of the song that featured the vocals of co-writer Jordin Sparks, whom the song was originally intended.[10] The beat he'd created for the single, samples Brenda Russell's "A Little Bit of Love" either directly or indirectly, via Big Pun's "Still Not a Player". Grande immediately connected with the sound and asked Mac Miller to feature on the song with her, to which he responded, "Sounds like a hit to me." [11] The song was recorded that same month, and caught the attention of Republic Records VP Charlie Walk when he heard it being played from Republic co-founder Monte Lipman's office. "It was 8:00 one night, and I heard a song coming from Monte's office through my wall. He called me down and I played a video, a DIY of Ariana Grande. We heard the song and I immediately made the decision to set it up [and] put the song out." [12]