Ariana Grande has come a long way since her childhood in Boca Raton, Fla. For one, she's now a huge pop star with a handful of chart-toppers under her belt. For another, her mom no longer thinks her famous daughter will grow up to be a murderer.

Er, what?

"There was a stage, when I was 3 or 4, where my mom thought I might grow up to be a serial killer," she told Billboard when she was interviewed for her August cover, adding that she was "dark and deranged" as a kid. "I always wanted to have skeleton face paint on or be wearing a Freddy Krueger mask, and I would carry a hockey stick around. I was like a mini-Helena Bonham Carter."

Though she still describes herself as "the most sardonic person you've ever met," nowadays she's more of a mix between her idol Madonna and her oft-compared fellow power-vocalist Mariah Carey.

Like Madonna, the 'Problem' singer sports a red string tied around her wrist as part of her practice of Kabbalism. "As a fellow Kabbalist, I know how hard it is to exercise those tools in your everyday life," she said. "Especially in a world where everything is so egocentric and all you do is talk about yourself and promote yourself."

Aside from her spirituality, she also admires Madonna for -- well, pretty much everything! "She is strength, she is freedom, she is wisdom beyond anybody’s comprehension." And if they ever recorded a song together? "My heart would stop," Ariana declared.

As for the Mariah comparisons, the 21-year-old embraced them at a young age. A friend of Monte Lipman, CEO of Republic Records, sent him links to YouTube videos of Ariana covering Mariah and Whitney Houston songs. "I remember when I first came to L.A. to meet my managers," Ariana recalled, "I was like, 'I want to make an R&B album.' They were like, 'Um, that’s a helluva goal! Who is going to buy a 14-year-old’s R&B album?!'"

The singer got her wish at the age of 20 with the release of her '90s R&B-influenced debut album 'Yours Truly.' A follow-up album, 'My Everything,' will drop later this month. Of course, neither LP came easily! Ariana keeps a grueling schedule for herself. "I’m a micromanaging workhorse," she confessed. "Absolutely an obsessive-compulsive workaholic."

Whatever her method, it's clearly working! 'My Everything' will be released in full on Monday, Aug. 25.

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