Ken Responds To Ariana: “I Understand Artists”

Ariana Grande just released her new album thank u, next, and she was supposed to perform at the Grammys on Sunday night. That’s not happening anymore. After a disagreement with the Grammys producers over what song she was going to perform, Grande pulled out of the show entirely. She won’t even be there at the ceremony.

After the news broke, producer Ken Ehrlich said that they had “multiple conversations” with Grande about performing but that “when we finally got the point where we thought maybe it would work, she felt it was too late for her to pull something together for sure.” But that characterization didn’t sit well with Grande, and the pop star took to Twitter to call Ehrlich out.

“I’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me,” Grande wrote. “i can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken. it was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that i decided not to attend … it’s about collaboration. it’s about feeling supported. it’s about art and honesty. not politics.”

Now, Ehrlich has responded in a new interview with Rolling Stone. “I saw those tweets and what she said. I guess it was a surprise,” he said. “I will say this, and they don’t want me to say it but I’m going to say it: The thing that probably bothered me more than whatever else she said about me is when she said I’m not collaborative.” As he continued:

The fact of the matter is — and I actually wrote a little thing in the middle of the night that I’m not going to do anything about, but, I mean. You can ask Christina Aguilera, who I asked to do ‘It’s a Man’s World’ for James Brown. You can ask Melissa Etheridge, who finished her cancer treatment and I put her out on stage, bald, doing Janis Joplin. You can ask Ricky Martin who overnight became the creator of the Latin music revolution. Ask Mary J. Blige, who was scared shitless to go out there and do ‘No More Drama.’ I basically worked with her to mold it. Ask H.E.R. who’s in this show.

Ehrlich said he never spoke to Grande directly but worked with her management, adding that he usually does “not have this happen.” “I don’t know if I’m good at anything else, but I understand artists and I can hear other artists in an artist,” he said. “I don’t say to people, ‘This is what you should do.’ I approach it casually and say, hey, this might be a good idea, let’s find something in the middle.”

In addition to Grande, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino all reportedly turned down invitations to perform at the Grammys. This year’s ceremony will air at 8PM ET Sunday on CBS.