When I say ’focus on me’ I’m not asking to be the center of attention. I’m not asking you to focus on my face or my clothes or my body or my singing voice. By ’focus on me,’ I literally mean focus on me. Focus on what I’m all about and what I believe in.

– Ariana in a video from the Honeymoon Diaries[1]

"Focus" (originally titled Focus On Me) is a single by Ariana Grande. It was originally the lead single for her third album, Dangerous Woman, but it was only included on the Japanese edition of the album for unknown reasons, with the title track replacing it as the lead single. It debuted at #3 on the US iTunes Charts within an hour of release, and peaked at #2 in 12 hours. On the Billboard Hot 100, the song debuted and peaked at #7. The song features uncredited vocals from Jamie Foxx in the chorus.[2]


Ariana worked on "Focus" through April and May, officially finishing the song on May 5, 2015.[3] Ariana posted a picture on Instagram on June 16, 2015 with the caption, "by 'focus' i meant 'focus on me' #thisisahint 💭 #youllsee 🌙🌛 ☕️ 🙊"[4] On August 5, 2015, at iHeartMedia Music Summit it was confirmed that Ariana would be releasing a new single in the "following weeks" called "Focus On Me." There was a video of Ariana with Republic Records CEO Monte Lipman and Charlie Walk playing the song for the whole staff as she ran through Republic offices.[5]

On September 2, 2015, Ariana tweeted that the "Moonlight festivities" would be starting in October. She also said that she was excited for the "nearby future" and considered October to be the "nearby future".[6][7] A fan also asked what was coming first, "Moonlight", "Focus On Me" or "Be Alright" to which Ariana tweeted "focus comes first."[8]

Ariana announced that there would be a "big announcement" when she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.[9] She went on the show on September 15, 2015 and announced the name of her new single to be "Focus" (rather than "Focus On Me") with a release date of October 30, 2015.[10]

With 30 days until the release of "Focus," Ariana shared the lyrics to the first verse of the song.[11] She began sharing more lyrics throughout the countdown.[12][13][14] On October 5, Ariana posted a 6-second snippet of the song.[15] She also posted severeal teasers of her brother Frankie dancing/singing to the song.[16] On October 19th, Ariana tweeted a link to her website, showing the first fragrance commercial for ARI. In the video, the background music is a snippet of Focus.[17]

Ariana says the song is "just supposed to make you feel good and feel empowered."[18]

Ariana also said that she feels like "Focus" is like "Problem"'s older sister so she felt that was a perfect way to transition from the sound of the previous album to the new one.

Cover art

On August 25, 2015, Ariana tweeted that she was working on something with her photographer and friend Alfredo Flores.[19][20] She said they were really focused followed by saying, "suuuuuuuuuuuuper focused" which was a hint that they were shooting the cover artwork for "Focus."[21] Ariana confirmed a couple weeks later that Alfredo did shoot the cover. [22] Alfredo wrote on his Instagram post "☀When an impromptu shoot in Jakarta turns into THISSSS! #16days #focus 📷" confirming that the artwork was shot in Jakarta.

With 20 days until the release of the song, Ariana posted a pixelated picture of the cover artwork.[23] Each day for the following week she posted a less pixelated picture of the cover art. Ariana told fans that the cover would more more revealing than the My Everything cover. She also told fans to look at her hairstylist's (Dalina Way's) Instagram for a hint, where a picture of a white bobby pin was posted (indicating she would have white / platinum white hair on the cover).[24] Ariana finally released the official cover on October 14.[25]

Critical reception

Upon release, "Focus" received mixed reviews from music critics. Kaitlyn Tiffany from The Verge commented positively saying, "As Ariana Grande is a massively talented vocalist, the song "Focus" itself is very pleasant to listen to".[26] Brennan Carley of Spin had a mixed opinion, commenting that the song was a "catchy slow-burn", describing it as a "horn heavy piece of retro-modern fusion". However, he also noted that Grande's vocals "[lacked] any real excitement from a star who’s got the restraint and skill to take her instrument places most other pop singers can’t anymore". He criticized the "male howling the faux-chorus" for "[getting] grating quickly" and for making "Focus" too similar to Grande's previous lead single "Problem". Time's Nolan Feeney also commented it for being similar to "Problem", but noted that this might not be a bad thing, saying: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it—no need for Grande to check her vision here".[27]

Steven J. Horowitz and Alex Gale from Billboard rated the song two-and-a-half out of five stars, commenting "Dating back to her 2011 debut "Put Your Hearts Up," Grande has never released a less-than-great single, until now, with 'Focus', a rehash of 2014's 'Problem'." Time named "Focus" the sixth-worst song of 2015: "Grande needed a tightly constructed, elegant hit, and this isn’t it."[28]

Commercial performance

"Focus" debuted at number 10 on the Official Singles Chart in the UK, marking it as Grande's third top 10 single in the country, following number one singles "Problem" and "Bang Bang".[29] In the United States, "Focus" debuted at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Grande's sixth top 10 single (and fourth top 10 debut), selling 113,000 copies in its first week.[30] With the release of "Focus", Grande became the first artist to have all lead singles from her first three albums debut in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[31] In addition to that, it also became her first top 10 song in the US unaccompanied by another artist.[32] The song fell to number 13 in its second week.[33] It spent thirteen weeks on the chart, which is significantly less than the chart longevity of Grande's previous lead single, "Problem" from My Everything (2014), which spent sixteen consecutive weeks in the Top 10 alone.

Live performances

Ariana performed this song live for the first time on October 30 (the day of its release) at her iHeartRadio Halloween Concert.[34]

Ariana then performed the song on the 2015 American Music Awards for the first time on television.

She also performed it on New Years Eve at a private concert in Las Vegas.

Music video

The music video was directed by Hannah Lux Davis. Ariana teased the video by posting gifs and short clips. It was released on October 30, 2015, the same day as the song. In the video, Ariana has white hair like the cover artwork.

Brian and Scott Nicholson and Boy Boi choreographed the video.



[Intro: Ariana]

[Verse 1]
I know what I came to do
And that ain't gonna change
So go ahead and talk your talk
'Cause I won't take the bait

I'm over here doing what I like
I'm over here working day and night
If my real ain't real enough
I'm sorry for ya, bae

Let's find a light inside our universe now
Where ain't nobody keep on holdin' us down
Just come and get it, let them say what they say
'Cause I'm about to put them all away (Woo!)

[Chorus: Jamie Foxx (Ariana)]
Focus on me, fuh-fuh, focus on me (Woo!)
Focus on me, fuh-fuh, focus on me (Woo!)
Focus on me (Focus), fuh-fuh, focus on me (Focus on me) (Woo!)
Focus on me (Focus), fuh-fuh, focus on me (Focus on me) (Woo!)

[Verse 2: Ariana]
I can tell you're curious
It's written on your lips
Ain't no need to hold it back
Go head and talk your sh*t

I know you're hoping that I'll react
I know you're hoping that I'm looking back
But if my real ain't real enough
Then I don't know what is

Let's find a light inside our universe now (Now, yeah)
Where ain't nobody keep on holdin' us down (Nobody keep on holdin' us down)
Just come and get it, let them say what they say (Wo-oohh)
'Cause I'm about to put them all away (Woo!)

[Chorus: Jamie Foxx (Ariana)]
Focus on me, fuh-fuh, focus on me (Woo!)
Focus on me, fuh-fuh, focus on me (Woo!)
Focus on me (Focus), fuh-fuh, focus on me (Focus on me) (Woo!)
Focus on me (Focus), fuh-fuh, focus on me (Focus on me) (Woo!)

[Breakdown: Ariana]
One, two, three
C'mon girls (Uh, hey)
You know I like it, yeah (Uh, hey)
Ba da da da da da daaaa
Focus on me (Uh) C'mon now (Now!)
Focus on me (Uh) Ooohh, yeah!

Let's find a light inside our universe now (Let is find a light)
Where ain't nobody keep on holdin' us down (Nobody keep on holdin' us down)
Just come and get it, let them say what they say (Let them say yeah, say yeah!)
'Cause I'm about to put them all away (Yeah!)

[Chorus: Jamie Foxx (Ariana)]
Focus on me, fuh-fuh, focus on me (Woo!) (You know I like it when you focus on me)
Focus on me, fuh-fuh, focus on me (Woo!)
Focus on me (Focus), fuh-fuh, focus on me (Focus on me) (Woo!)
Focus on me (Focus), fuh-fuh, focus on me (Focus on me) (Woo!)

Focus on me, fuh-fuh, focus on me (Woo!)
Focus on me, fuh-fuh, focus on me (Woo!) (Alright!)
Focus on me (Focus), fuh-fuh, focus on me (Focus on me) (Woo!)
Focus on me (Focus), fuh-fuh, focus on me (Focus on me) (Woo!)

[Outro: Ariana]
Focus on me, bae!


  1. MTV - Ariana Grande’s ‘Focus’ Is A Lot More Spiritual Than You May Think
  2. Entertainment Weekly - Ariana Grande reveals Jamie Foxx's vocals are featured on 'Focus'
  3. Twitter - Date Focus was finished
  4. Instagram - Caption (June 16, 2015)
  5. Fuse - Ariana Grande Has Her Next Single, "Focus on Me," Ready to Go
  6. MTV - Ariana Grande Is Teasing Something Major On Twitter And Fans Are Freaking Out
  7. Billboard - Ariana Grande Hints at 'Moonlight' Release Date on Twitter
  8. TwitPic - Focus first
  9. Twitter - Big announcement
  10. Belfast Telegraph - Ariana Grande reveals new music
  11. Twitter - Lyrics #1
  12. Twitter - Lyrics #2
  13. Twitter - Lyrics #3
  14. Twitter - Lyrics #4
  15. Twitter - Song snippet
  16. Instagram - One clip of Frankie dancing
  18. 97.1 Radio - Interview: Ariana Grande Ready to Unveil Her “Secret” Album
  19. Twitter - First tweet
  20. Twitter - Instagram picture
  21. Twitter - Second tweet
  22. Twitter - Alfredo shot the cover
  23. Twitter - Coverart #1
  24. TeenVogue - Ariana Grande Just Went Platinum Blonde
  25. Twitter - Official Artwork
  34. EntertainmentTonight - Ariana Grande Gets a Few Scares During Pre-Halloween iHeartRadio Concert
Dangerous Woman
May 20, 2016 • 39:31 • Republic Records
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