Ariana Grande lands on the cover of the new issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Ariana Grande lands on the cover of the new issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Ariana Grande, best known as Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon sitcom “Victorious,” never thought she’d be taken seriously as a singer…and for a time she wasn’t.

But her debut single “The Way” off her first studio album Yours Truly changed all that.

The 20-year-old actress vaulted up the charts. Her single was a Top 10 hit and her album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Her New Year’s Eve performance aired last night (Dec. 21) from Los Angles as part of “Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year’s Eve.” It was pre-taped because she was spending the holiday in Japan.

She also covers the February issue of Cosmopolitan magazine and provides some insights into her thinking as the latest music phenom and where she fits in the pantheon of young pop singers like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry and Rihanna.

Ariana Grande Sweet, Sexy in Cosmo
(Click Photos to Enlarge!)

Grande, of course, is far from the first actress to try to lay claim to a singing career. But unlike most, she’s firmly established her credibility as a singer and a songwriter.

“I never really expected to be taken seriously as an artist, and it’s just been the ultimate, proudest achievement,” she told the magazine, which hits newsstands on Jan. 7.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of people not knowing what to expect from me because of my age and my personality,” she explains.

“People often mistake my kindness for weakness, and they didn’t expect much from me, because at the end of the day, I’m just a nice Italian girl from Boca.”

Maybe so, but Grande has a four-octave voice range that has been compared to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

She founded her own kids singing group at age 10 and was part of the original cast of the musical 13 on Broadway when she was 14 years old.

She also sang as a soloist for such groups as the South Florida Philharmonic, Pops and Symphonic Orchestras.

These days, at, 20, Ariana describes herself as an “old soul” although she’s recently confirmed she’s dating Nathan Sykes from the hot boy band “The Wanted.”

“A lot of my friends are partiers, but I’ve never really clicked with that,” she says. “I like Barbra Streisand, and when was the last time you saw Babs getting, like, turnt up?

“That’s kind of the road that I, as a lady, would like to go down.”

Check out her Cosmo photos above by Matt Jones and her New Year’s Eve performance below.

She performed with rapper Big Sean for their song “Right There” and “The Way” with Mac Miller.

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