There's a hidden message in one of Ariana Grande's most meaningful songs

Putting it on repeat, immediately.

sweetener hidden message
(Image credit: Carl Timpone/BFA/REX/Shutterstock)

Putting it on repeat, immediately.

Ariana Grande’s new album Sweetener is a real force to be reckoned with and has been racking up all the accolades: snagging the coveted top spot on Billboard’s chart and blasting through Spotify’s global record for biggest opening week by a female artist. Beyond the numbers and figures however, the powerful emotion and uplifting message of the album has really made its mark and there’s also some major bops on there. As some beady-eyed fans have also noticed, the pop star has also woven some secret messages into the tracks and a new one has us tearing up at the office.

If you’ve listened to her track Breathin’ before, prepare for a new fan theory to change everything you thought you knew about the song. The song’s first fifteen seconds open with a series of ethereal chimes and right before her vocals begin, you can just about make out a quiet voice mumbling something indecipherable.

Well, one savvy fan did some investigating and realised that if you reversed the intro - there was a pretty beautiful message hidden in it.

User @arianavxnti shared their findings on Twitter, saying, ‘If you reverse the intro of breathin’ you can hear grandpa grande saying “tonight is your special night, do something magical”’

@arianavxnti kindly did the fine-tuning for us and shared a reversed version of the track, which you can listen to above. While many fans have leapt to the conclusion that the voice is the star's grandfather who sadly passed in 2014, Ariana cleared things up on Twitter after it was drawn to her attention.

She said, ‘that voice is a random sample who started this i-’

Ariana said the voice sounded ‘like space mountain not my grandfather’ and later revealed that her songwriter Ilya Salmanzadeh had shown her the sample. She tweeted, ‘i jus liked it ! ilya pulled it up n i was like that’s sick put that in there’

Even though Grande stans may be a little disappointed their theory didn’t come to fruition, it doesn’t change the fact that Breathin’ is still a fantastic song loaded with meaning for the singer. When a fan asked her what the song was about on Twitter, she responded with one word ‘anxiety’.

With that in mind, the lyrics of the song make total sense now. The chorus is basically one big long reminder to ‘keep on breathin’’ and she seems to describe an anxiety attack in detail in the lyrics, ‘Feel my blood runnin', swear the sky's fallin' How do I know if this shit's fabricated? Time goes by and I can't control my mind Don't know what else to try’.

Ariana has spoken openly about her battle with post traumatic stress disorder following the Manchester bombing attack and her anxiety, which heightened after the terrorist incident.

She told Vogue, ‘My anxiety has anxiety… I've always had anxiety. 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.’

Just keep breathin’, Ariana. You know we’ll all wait for you to catch your breath.

Megan C. Hills

Megan is a freelance journalist who covers entertainment and all things lifestyle, with a particular passion for fashion, beauty, travel and Keanu Reeves stories. She has previously worked on staff for titles including Marie Claire UK, CNN Style and The Evening Standard and has written for titles such as Bustle UK, Wallpaper*, Forbes and Hong Kong Tatler. She splits her time between London and her hometown Hong Kong, where she currently lives with the love of her life - an elderly dog named Poppy - and her husband.