Ariana Grande Reflects On Her Journey From Teen Star to Pop Princess
08/14/2014 AT 06:45 PM EDT
"I love going to the beach really late at night," she says.
"That is how I make sure I don't explode."
Ironic, because that's exactly what's happening to this petite girl from Boca Raton, Florida, who has a chart-topping single in "Problem" and will drop her second album, My Everything, on August 25.
Grande hasn't followed the traditional path to pop stardom.
After a couple of years on the stage, including a role in the Broadway musical 13, she nabbed the part that would define her to a generation: the sweet, quirky (and slightly ditzy) sidekick Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon hit Victorious.
"It was a blessing and one of my childhood dreams come true," she says.
After Victorious wrapped in 2013, Grande landed her own spinoff, Sam & Cat.
"For a long time I was attached to a character that was nothing like myself," she says. "It was a little frustrating."
That dissatisfaction was short-lived when the series was canceled in July after one season.
In the meantime, Grande's music career was skyrocketing.