Tayla Parx is the recipient of one of the matching Tiffany’s rings Ariana Grande gifted seven of her friends — and with good reason.
Along with helping the pop star pen her hits “7 Rings” and “Thank U, Next,” the singer-songwriter defended Grande’s decision to forego the 2019 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday following an argument she had with producers over her proposed performance, which had already been advertised on billboards promoting the show.
“I completely understood about her not coming,” Parx, 25, told PEOPLE on the red carpet ahead of the ceremony. “I think artists have to sing songs that they believe in, especially when we’re at a place that’s celebrating music and celebrating her. I think it’s important and I respect her decision.”
According to Variety, Grande, 25, wanted to perform “7 Rings,” and producers allegedly refused, prompting her to feel “insulted.” Eventually, both parties reached a compromise that included “7 Rings” as part of a medley, and that Grande could pick whichever second song she wanted. But she still rejected the offer, the outlet reported.
Although she skipped out on the awards ceremony, Grande won her first-ever Grammy for her fourth studio album, Sweetener, for best pop vocal album at the 2019 Grammy Awards on Sunday night. She beat out Camila Cabello, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, Pink and Taylor Swift.
“i know i’m not there tonight (trust, i tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and i know i said i try not to put too much weight into these things …. but f—,” she tweeted about the honor. “This is wild and beautiful. thank you so much.”
Grande dropped “Thank U, Next,” the first single off of her new album of the same name, a month after her breakup with Pete Davidson, to whom she was engaged for four whirlwind months last summer before the couple split in October.
Parx told PEOPLE that the inspiration for the song came after telling Grande and her mom, Joan, about a documentary she saw about Jane Fonda, which was likely a reference to HBO’s 2018 film Jane Fonda in Five Acts.
“It was basically about [Jane] going through the phases of the men she had dated and how she was affected through each of those men, and the final chapter was Jane,” Parx explained. “I went back to the studio and I was talking to Ariana and her mom about this documentary and she was like, ‘You know, that’s similar to where I am in my life and I want to make my version of that as a song.’ We really, really broke down — ‘Okay, what did you love about this and what did you learn about this last person?’ We went through each experience and really wrote it out.”
According to Parx, the phrase “thank you, next” is one that Grande has been saying for years.
“When we were sitting there it seemed to go perfect with the melody and from there it was over,” she said. “We were sold.”
Not only does Parx consider Grande a good friend, but she also said she’s an “incredible” collaborator.
“I think Ariana is one of the realest artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” she said. “Being able to celebrate this together is incredible overall.”