Kelly Lamano

Ariana Grande’s debut album “Yours Truly” is an instant R&B hit for the girl with the big voice and red velvet hair.
I remember first seeing Grande on the Nickelodeon show “Victorious” as Cat Valentine. Her ditzy, slow and soft-spoken character was not one I was particularly drawn to, so I was pleasantly surprised to find Grande’s killer vocal videos on YouTube.
Let’s state the obvious: she’s a mini-Mariah. Her melisma and falsettos make our ears smile. She’s also from Boca Raton, which makes me instantly cheer for her.
“Yours Truly” starts off with the bittersweet track, “Honeymoon Avenue.” It might have been more natural for the album to begin with the upbeat and inviting “Baby I.”
However, “Honeymoon Avenue” is still a cute, nostalgic song. It kicks off the R&B album with plenty of “doo-wops” to make the listener swoon.
Grande nails the falsettos with silky smooth crooning.
Lead singles “The Way,” featuring Mac Miller, and “Baby I” are fun, danceable tracks.
Grande says the album was originally called “Daydreamin’.” She went with “Yours Truly” instead to “sign [the album] like a love letter.”
Moving through the love letter, the third track, “Right There,” features Big Sean. It’s reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s “Right Here,” featuring another big rapper, Drake.
It’s no surprise the two songs complement each other; Grande and Bieber are both under the management of mastermind Scooter Braun.
Grande closed out Bieber’s “Believe Tour” this summer as one of two opening acts. She performed during the last three tour dates in Jacksonville, Tampa, and Atlanta.
Her soulful, girly vibe was contagious at the shows, accompanied by backup dancers and performing her lead singles in flirty dresses.
Grande slows things down on the album with ballads “Tattooed Heart” and “Almost is Never Enough.”
It’s clear that Grande’s all about the vocals with her nod to 90’s R&B.
“You’ll Never Know” is a bubbly, better-off-without-you song. The song is a bit of a nod to Beyonce’s ballad, “Best Thing I Never Had.”
With lyrics such as, “It sucks to be all in your head, wondering where this thing could go,” the song is reminiscent of Beyonce’s, “I bet it sucks to be you right now.” It’s a cutesy song about sticking it to that ex-special someone, while he or she is left thinking about what could have been.
On the back end of the album, Broadway’s “Wicked” gets a poppy update with British singer Mika and Grande sticking it to the popular kids. “Popular Song,” “Better Left Unsaid” and “The Way [Spanglish Version]” finish out the album.
“Yours Truly” is a solid, stripped down album about love, loss and having a good time. It’s a nice break from the usual auto-tuned pop with Grande’s honesty and killer pipes.