On March 25, 2013, a Nickelodeon star with a four octave range and a luxurious ponytail blessed the planet with her breakout single, and for the last six years, we have been shaking in our thigh-high boots. On Monday, March 25, Ariana Grande honored the sixth anniversary of “The Way,” her infectious single featuring Mac Miller, on Instagram Stories with a simple but moving tribute. Nestled between a video of Solange Knowles dancing to “Sweetener” and a picture of a Billboard chart update, there is an all-black screen with a caption that reads, "six years." At the bottom of the screen, there is a small heart. Oof, oof, oof.
Man, what a bittersweet moment. This is the song's sixth anniversary, but its first since Miller's death. "The Way" was Grande and Miller’s first collaboration, the beginning of this pair's story. They would go on to make more music together, and they eventually entered into a romantic relationship. After two years of dating, Grande and Miller split up in May 2018.
And six years to the day after she and Miller first released the first song they made together (and what a perfect song it is!), Grande commemorated this moment on IG Stories.
Try listening to this song and/or watching this video without crying.
Hot on the heels of the song’s release, Grande told Billboard that when she first heard the song’s beat, it was love at first listen. She said,
"[Producer Harmony Samuels] played me 'The Way,' and I said, 'Oh, that's it. We have to do that one— that's what we have to go with. I cut my vocal on it, and then Mac and I had been hanging out for a while at that point, and I was like, 'I really want you to feature on this record. What do you think?' And he said, 'Sounds like a hit to me!'"
And a hit is precisely what it was. “The Way” reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, has been certified triple platinum, and was number 14 on Billboard’s year-end streaming chart in 2013.
A few months after "The Way" dropped and took pop radio by storm, Grande revealed to Elle that she was "like a giddy idiot" with "first-day butterflies" while making the tune. "I smiled the whole time I recorded the song," she recalled to Elle. "The minute I heard the song, I was like, 'Oh my God, this it. We found it. I'm dying. It has to come out in a month. It has to happen!'"
A key part of Ari's hit-making process? Making cookies while you make music magic. She told Rolling Stone in 2013,
"Everybody on the record is a very close friend of mine. Mac Miller came about because I heard 'The Way' and I was like, 'Oh my gosh. This song is amazing. Malcolm, will you come be on this record with me?' and he was like, 'Absolutely.' I went over to his house. I engineered the session. I recorded him rapping, while I was simultaneously baking cookies for him and that was that."
Ugh, my heart.
Happy 6th birthday, "The Way." On a scale of one to ten, my love for this song is at at 100. Never get enough, I can’t stay away from "The Way."