“How do I do it - the thing?” Ariana Grande explains Pro Tools Playlist keyboard shortcuts to Max Martin in studio footage of them working on her new single Yes, And?

Ariana Grande’s Pro Tools prowess has long been celebrated, and we’ve been given another reminder of it in an enlightening video that shows her working in the studio with legendary songwriter/producer Max Martin on her new single, Yes, And?

In the Instagram Reel, we see Grande behind the microphone as she records multiple takes of various parts of the song, with Martin sitting behind her at the mixing desk. The quality of Grande’s voice is, as you’d expect, highly impressive, and Martin is complimentary about her “perfect diction” (he’s a producer who’s known to be pretty hot on the way that specific words are pronounced). 

However, arguably the most interesting part of the video (for producers, anyway) comes when the pair discuss the nuts and bolts of configuring and using Pro Tools.

“A new channel for the pre [chorus], or do you want everything on the same channel?” asks Martin at one point. “Just for the verse and pre; we can put them in the same channel, and then for the hook it can be a different channel, so I can comp in order,” comes Grande’s reply.

Vocal comping is, of course, the star’s specialty, with The Weeknd previously calling her “a beast” in Pro Tools.

Back to the video, though. At one point, you can clearly hear Martin asking Grande: “How do I do it - the thing?”

“The Playlist?” she replies, “You select the whole thing, and then you do Option-Shift-Down, and then it puts it in the Playlist.”

Pro Tools Playlists can contain multiple takes of a recording and enable you to switch between them, so are particularly useful for vocal comping.

“I have to select it first though, right?” enquiries Martin. “Yes,” replies Grande, laughing.

Frustratingly, we can’t see the screen while this conversation is going on, but Grande has since posted another Reel of her working alone on her vocals.

Yes, And? Was released on Friday, and comes with a Vogue-esque 909 drum pattern and a defiant, empowering lyric. It also provides further evidence that, following the success of Beyonce’s Renaissance album, the sound of early ‘90s house is firmly back in the mainstream.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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