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Ariana Grande debuts 'Focus': How she's found success post-Nickelodeon

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(Read caption) Ariana Grande arrives at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

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Singer Ariana Grande has released a new single, titled “Focus,” which will reportedly appear on her upcoming album “Moonlight.”

After being posted on Thursday night, the official music video for Grande’s song already has more than a million views on YouTube. 

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Ms. Grande quickly found musical success after releasing her 2013 album “Yours Truly,” which was followed up by last year’s work “My Everything.” Her songs “Break Free,” “Bang Bang” (which was a collaboration with singers Jessie J and Nicki Minaj), “Problem,” and “The Way” have all become hits and she was nominated for two Grammy Awards earlier this year, one for best group performance/pop duo with Minaj and Jessie J for “Bang” and one for best pop vocal album for “Everything." 

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Before she was a music star, Grande was probably the most familiar to pre-teens. She starred on the Nickelodeon show “Victorious,” which was popular enough that Grande and “iCarly” actress Jennette McCurdy received a spin-off program titled “Sam and Cat,” which debuted in 2013.

Both Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, which air programs aimed at this pre-teen age group, have found success in recent years in introducing young actors via television shows and then having them conquer multiple forms of entertainment. Not all of these efforts succeed, but enough do that the networks will no doubt keep trying. Grande has probably been Nickelodeon’s biggest star so far in the music arena, while many Disney stars have crossed over into music, including Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato. Ms. Cyrus hosted the MTV Video Music Awards this past summer and recently debuted a new album, while Gomez’s song “Good For You” recently became a hit and is still near the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of Nov. 7.

These stars often attempt to make the transition to big-screen fame as well. Besides starring in Disney projects like “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” Duff has appeared in such films as “A Cinderella Story” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.” Cyrus starred in “The Last Song” and “LOL.”

As these stars get older and pursue projects that may no longer be appropriate for younger audiences, however, this can cause problems with Disney or Nickelodeon’s audiences. Cyrus, who starred on Disney's "Hannah Montana" series, gave a racy performance at the MTV VMA Awards in 2013, one that may have been more shocking to viewers because she got her start TV show for young fans. CNN writer Kelly Wallace wrote after the performance, "'Miley, what exactly were you thinking?' pretty much sums up the sentiment I heard from outraged moms and dads around the country who believe Cyrus, whose loyal fan base includes a huge chunk not yet old enough to drive, should know better." Former NSYNC member Lance Bass, who performed during the same show, told CBS that he had told his younger relatives to watch the show because he would be performing, but that "I didn't know I had to warn them [about] their little Hannah Montana ... I think [Cyrus] shocked a lot of her younger fans, [and] especially the parents."