Breathin

Album: Sweetener (2018)
Charted: 8 12

Songfacts®:

  • Ariana Grande had some incredibly stressful experiences in 2017, most notably the deadly terrorist attack that killed 22 concertgoers outside of her Dangerous concert in Manchester, England. The songstress told Time magazine she was having lots of anxiety attacks after she'd completed her Dangerous Woman tour.

    "I've always had anxiety," Grande said. "I've never really spoken about it because I thought everyone had it, but when I got home from tour it was the most severe I think it's ever been."

    Grande penned this pounding anthem about her anxiety attacks. "You know when you feel like you can't get a full breath? It's like the worst feeling in the world," Grande told TV host Jimmy Fallon. "So it's a song about that feeling."
  • Grande wrote the track when she had an anxiety attack while in the studio with American songwriter Savan Kotecha and Swedes Ilya and Peter Svensson. She recalled: "We were in the studio, we were writing and I was like, 'Ugh can't breathe.' And they were like, 'We're going to write this song.' And I was like, 'OK, I still can't breathe, but we'll write it.'"
  • Savan Kotecha told Billboard that he and the other songwriters wrote the song with Grande when she was "having one of those days where things are too much." He added that she "wrote this honest lyric about how she was feeling in that moment and it became what it was."
  • "Breathin" contains a secret tribute at the beginning of the song. If you play the intro in reverse, you hear a deep voice that says: "Tonight's your special night, do something magical." The message is uttered by Ari's grandpa, Frank Grande, who died in 2014.
  • Grande dropped a simple music video for the song on October 10, 2018. Filmed by the singer herself, it's basically just her pet piglet, Piggy Smallz, walking around for three straight minutes. We guess the idea behind the clip is that watching a cute porker trotting around is peculiarly relaxing and illustrates the song's message about overcoming anxiety.
  • The official Hannah Lux Davis-directed video sees Grande wandering in slow motion through busy settings as the frantic pace of life around her rushes by. One scene finds the singer navigating a busy train station during which there is a brief shot of a departure board. It shows mostly jumbled-up words except for "NASA" "Imagine," "Remember" and "Needy." This immediately prompted fans to speculate whether the songstress was teasing some of her song titles on her next album.
  • Hannah Lux Davis is a frequent Grande collaborator. Other videos they've worked together on include the ones for "Focus," "Love Me Harder" "Into You" and "Side to Side."
  • "The song is obviously about anxiety, and feeling so out-of-touch and out-of-sync and out of alignment with everything in the world around you, and feeling like you're just not connected," director Hannah Lux Davis told Billboard regarding the video. "So I had this idea of doing motion control, which I've been wanting to do for a long time, and I'm really glad that I ended up doing it on this project. It's the effect that we did to shoot her in a different frame rate, in a different speed, and other people in the frame that are moving quickly around her. That was through the effect of motion control."

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