Famous Like Me > Singer > C > Mariah Carey
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Profile of Mariah Carey
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||27th March 1970
|Place of Birth:
||Huntington, New York, USA
Mariah Carey (born on March 27, 1970 in Huntington, New York) is an American Pop and R&B singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer. Making her debut in 1990, she became the most successful and best-selling artist of the 90s, according to Billboard magazine and the World Music Awards. In 2000, the World Music Awards show also declared her as the best-selling female pop artist of all time.
Carey is notable for her distinctive singing style, which makes use of a five-octave vocal range, melismas, and jumps between octaves. Originally signed to Columbia Records, run by Tommy Mottola (whom she later married), Carey released several number-one hits, some of which broke sales and airplay records. Among them are "Vision of Love", "Hero", and "One Sweet Day".
Divorcing Mottola in 1997, Carey continued to release hits such as "Honey" and "Heartbreaker", before parting with Columbia in 2000. She then entered into a period of transition, during which she starred in Glitter, an unsuccessful semi-autobiographical film, and released two equally unsuccessful albums, one of which was the soundtrack to her film. After siging to Island Records in 2002, Carey returned to the forefront of pop music in 2005 with her multiplatinum album The Emancipation of Mimi and the single "We Belong Together", Carey's unprecedented sixteenth number-one.
Biography and music career
Early life and discovery
Carey is the third and youngest child of Patricia Hickey, an opera singer and voice coach of Irish-American ethnicity, and Alfred Roy Carey (originally surnamed "Núñez"), an aeronautical engineer of Afro-Venezuelan descent. She was named after the song "And They Call the Wind Maria", from the musical Paint Your Wagon . Carey's siblings include her older sister Alison, and her older brother Morgan.
As a multiracial family, the Carey household was met with racial slurs, hostility, and sometimes violence, causing the family to move frequently around the New York area. The strain on the family led to the divorce of Carey's parents when she was three years old. Carey had little contact with her father, and her mother worked several jobs to support the family. Spending much of her time at home alone, Carey turned to music as an outlet.
Carey began singing at the age of three, and first peformed in public at the age of six. She began writing songs while in grade school, and her mother and the members of her opera company were impressed with her talents. Carey attended and graduated from Oldfield Middle School and Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, although she was frequently absent due to efforts to break into the music business. She eventually landed a role as a backup singer for singer Brenda K. Starr.
In 1988, Carey met Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola at a party, where her friend gave him a demo tape. Mottola played the tape while leaving the party and was very impressed by what he heard. He returned to the party to find Carey, but she was already gone. Nevertheless, Mottola tracked her down and signed her to a recording contract. This Cinderella-like story became part of the standard publicity surrounding Carey's entrance into the industry.
1990–1992: Early commercial success
Carey's professional music career began with the release of her eponymous debut album in 1990. Carey co-wrote all of the original compositions on her debut album with songwriters and producers such as Walter Afanasieff and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and would continue to co-write nearly all of her material for the rest of her career. The album debuted at number eighty on the Billboard albums charts, and ascended to number one a year later, spending eleven weeks at the top of the chart. It produced four number one singles, making Carey a star in the United States. The album's international success, however, was limited. In 1991, Carey won two Grammy Awards in 1991, for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her debut single "Vision of Love".
Emotions, Carey's second album, was released in the fall of 1991 to critical and commercial success. Its first single, the title track "Emotions", was another U.S. number-one success, giving Carey the distinction of being the only recording act in history to have their first five singles go to number-one on the Hot 100 chart. Carey had been fighting for the ability to produce her own songs, and beginning with Emotions, would co-produce most of her material. She would also begin writing and producing for other artists, such as Trey Lorenz and Daryl Hall, within the coming year.
For the first two years of her career, Carey did not embark on any major public tours. Her first widely-seen concert performance was her appearance on MTV Unplugged in May of 1992, and her performance proved that her vocal abilities were not, as some believed, simulated using studio techniques. Carey premiered a cover of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There", performed as a duet with Trey Lorenz, on the special; released as a single, it became Carey's sixth number-one hit in the U.S. Carey's critically-acclaimed performace was later released by Columbia on album as the MTV Unplugged EP.
1993–1996: Worldwide success
Carey, then 23, and Tommy Mottola, 43, had become romantically involved, and in June 1993 they were married in an Episcopalian ceremony followed by a lavish wedding reception in Manhattan.
Carey's next studio album, Music Box, was released in 1993, and saw her at the apex of her popularity. It sold nearly thirty million copies worldwide, becoming her largest selling LP. Lead single "Dreamlover" was her longest stayer yet at the number-one spot (eight weeks), and it was praised by Ron Wynn for its "personality and intensity". Two more of her signature songs followed: "Hero", Carey's bid to create a big inspirational ballad, became her first Christmas number-one single in the U.S. and in the years to follow became her most played recurrent single on U.S. radio, while her remake of the Harry Nillson song "Without You" went to number-one in the UK and firmly established her popularity internationally. Carey's attempt at a mellower work than her previous efforts raised eyebrows with critics; Ron Wynn said Carey "blended into the background and let the tracks guide her, instead of pushing and exploding through them", and another reviewer observed that Carey's latest sounds "seems like she was less invested in the music", but the response was good overall. Stephen Holden thought the only weakness of Music Box was "Carey's lyrics, which are made up entirely of pop and soul clichés".
Carey's Music Box hits, together with her duet with Luther Vandross of Diana Ross' "Endless Love", made her one of the most-played artists on the radio in 1993 and 1994. During the Christmas season of 1994, Carey released the album Merry Christmas. In addition to the expected covers of traditional Christmas songs, it contained a very successful original holiday song, "All I Want for Christmas Is You" which gained her a large fanbase in Japan and was described as "a well-crafted Phil Spector tribute" by Roch Parisien, although he dismissed the rest of the album as an "otherwise vanilla set".
In 1995, Carey released Daydream, which combined the pop sensibilities of her previous album with modern R&B/hip-hop influences. At this time in her career, Carey realized that she had a higher potential for massive crossover hits if she employed the use of various genre-specific remixes for each single. It ended up becoming a very successful technique for her, as Daydream became her largest selling LP in U.S. receiving Diamond RIAA status, while its singles achieved record-breaking status: the pop/rap collaboration "Fantasy" became the second single ever to debut at number-one, "One Sweet Day" spent a still-record sixteen weeks at number-one, and "Always Be My Baby" not only made number-one but topped the Hot 100 year-end airplay charts in 1996. Critics such as Stephen Thomas Erlewine and Bill Lamb embraced Daydream as her finest album yet at the time, and it was named one of the ten best albums of the year by sources such as New York Times, People, and TIME.
Carey also arranged and sung the background vocals for Babyface's top 10 single "Everytime I Close My Eyes".
1997–2000: Independence and a new image
Carey and Mottola separated in 1997; although she had often projected the image of a happy marriage to the public, in reality, she had felt emotionally and psychologically abused by Mottola. He was often described as possessive even to the point of spying on Carey when she had friends over, and telling their live in servants not to look at her in the eye to intimidate her. Their divorce became final the following year.
Carey's 1997 album, Butterfly, was her second consecutive number-one debut, and saw her continuing to move in an R&B/hip-hop direction. Its titular motif was interpreted as a relation to Carey's feelings about escaping what she saw as the controlled, cocoon-like environment of her marriage. Lead single "Honey" displayed a much more sexual Carey than before in both its lyrics and music video. The autobiographical title track "Butterfly" was widely praised. "My All", another single released from the album, became her thirteenth number-one single, an unprecedented feat for a female artist. J.R. Reynolds said Butterfly "pushes the envelope", a move that he thought "may prove disconcerting to more conservative fans", but Reynolds still praised the album as "a welcome change". Another reviewer felt Butterfly illustrated "that Carey is continuing to improve and refine her music, which makes her a rarity among her '90s peers". In 2004, Butterfly was named one of the 50 Essential Pop Albums by Slant magazine. Overall, Butterfly is considered one of Mariah's best albums ever.
At some point after the release of Butterfly, Carey had a falling out with Walter Afanasieff, who had helped co-create Carey's albums since her debut release. He had travelled and toured with her, playing piano live, and had appeared in Carey's home videos talking about their creative process. The two reportedly had creative differences, and they have not worked together since. Reportedly, much of their falling out was due to Afanasieff being caught between Carey and Tommy Mottola during their divorce with each asking him to take a side; Afanasieff was also a bit sick of being pigeonholed as Carey's producer, and wanted to expand his production horizons. Even after the falling out, Carey continued to release songs the pair co-wrote in the past, such as Glitter's "Lead the Way". After Carey's breakdown, E! Entertainment interviewed Afanasieff, who spoke highly of Carey, noting her hard work ethic and musical talent. When interviewed about Afanasieff, Carey too has spoken highly of him, and has expressed an interest for them to one day work together again.
1997 also marked the year that Carey became a major songwriter and producer for other artists. For Allure's self-titled debut album, Carey wrote two songs and produced several of the album's tracks, including the Top 10 single "All Cried Out". For the Men in Black (1998) soundtrack, Carey wrote and produced Trey Lorenz' "Make You Happy". In the next few years, Carey would write and produce more songs for other artists. She wrote and produced tracks for the self-titled debut albums of 7 Mile and Blaque, and also wrote "Where Are You Christmas" for How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) soundtrack, which Faith Hill sung in the film's closing credits.
During 1998, Carey had a highly public romance with New York Yankees baseball star Derek Jeter, who also had a multiracial upbringing. She would state later that while the timing was not right for them to sustain the relationship, it did teach her that multiracial families could function well.
In 1998, Carey released the album #1s, a collection of all her thirteen U.S. number-one singles up to that point. Carey, who was planning a film/soundtrack project known as All That Glitters, had not wanted the album to be released, but pressure was put on her to release some sort of an album to host a duet with Whitney Houston. The album included four new songs, the most successful internationally being the aforementioned "When You Believe", the duet with Whitney Houston, and the most successful at home being "I Still Believe", a cover of the 1980s song by Brenda K. Starr. Critic Amy Linden pointed out that "while these may be the tracks that sold the most and charted the highest, these aren't necessarily Mariah's best songs", though admitted that Carey's fans would be pleased with it.
Also in that year, Carey appeared on the first televised VH1 Divas program, a joint benefit concert appearance with Aretha Franklin (her favorite singer alongside Stevie Wonder), Céline Dion, Gloria Estefan, Carole King, and Shania Twain. Carey's statuesque appearance (she is 5' 9" / 175cm tall), vocal and stage presence, career twists and turns, and alleged prima donna behavior had already led many to consider her to be a diva.
In December of 1998, Carey met Latin heartthrob Luis Miguel while vacationing in Aspen, Colorado. Their relationship wasn't made official until early 1999.
In 1999, Carey released Rainbow, which like Butterfly, was comprised of pop and more hip hop oriented songs. Carey intended the album to express her feelings about her divorce two years previously, and lead single "Heartbreaker" was another number-one success, helped by the accompanying music video, one of the most expensive ever made. Despite several collaborations with other artists such as Joe and 98 Degrees (on her fifteenth U.S. number-one single, "Thank God I Found You") and Westlife, the album was her lowest seller up to that point, and reached number-two on the U.S. charts. Decent reviews accompanied Rainbow's release, but there were complaints that Carey was suffering a case of repetition; words such as "formulaic" and "predictable" frequently came up from even the most impressed critics. Although being the recipient of several awards in recognition for her decade-spanning career, including Billboard's Artist of the Decade Award and the World Music Award for the Best-Selling Female Artist of the Millennium, signs of decline began to appear when her final release from Rainbow, "Crybaby"/"Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" became her first song ever to not make the Top 20 of the Hot 100. Carey (via her website) publicly accused Sony of sabotaging the two singles and the album.
During her Rainbow era, Carey soon became a prominent figure in hip-hop music. She was a featured artist in Jay-Z's single "Things That U Do". Soon, she was collaborating with new, as well as established, rappers.
2001–2003: Personal and career struggles
Carey had ended a very successful decade in music, however, things took a sudden downward turn for her. Her one victory was in finally ending her contract with Sony after which she signed a huge contract with EMI's Virgin Records worth a reported US$100 million covering five albums. Both parties appeared to be enthusiastic about the deal and Carey received a hefty signing bonus. Just a few months later, in July and August 2001 it was widely reported that Carey had suffered physical and mental exhaustion. She had left voicemail messages on her website (which were quickly removed) to her fans complaining of being overworked; her many years of concurrent singing, writing, producing, and now acting seemed to have finally taken their toll. In addition, her three-year relationship with singer Luis Miguel was coming to an end. Carey made a notorious appearance on MTV's Total Request Live, where she handed out popsicles to the teen-aged audience and began a strip tease; host Carson Daly covered his eyes and asked, "What are you doing?". After that, she checked into a mental health facility and announced that she was taking a break from public appearances.
Her acting debut, in the semi-autobiographical film Glitter, was scheduled for later in August but had to be delayed; it was finally released a month later, but panned by most critics and became a box office failure (see below). When Virgin Records released her tenth album, Glitter, Carey was unable to do much promotion due to her ill health and the album, having been released on a dark day in American history, September 11, 2001, peaked at number-seven (Carey's weakest showing to date). Reviews of the album were not enthusiastic either, although Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone gave it a quite favorable review. E! thought that even the most serious tracks on the album, some of which dealt with suicide and stormy relationships, were "as glossy as her latest publicity shot", while a similar criticism was levelled at lead single "Loverboy" by a critic for NME, who said "the song is over almost as quickly as it starts", and was "not memorable". "Loverboy" reached number-two on the Hot 100 thanks to Virgin's massive campaign to sell the single for only 99 cents across the United States. However, airplay was very mediocre.
Carey rallied to perform "Hero" as part of the September 21 America: A Tribute to Heroes nationally televised fundraiser in the aftermath of the attacks, and in December she performed before U.S. peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. She was also given her own CBS television special, At Home for the Holidays with Mariah Carey, which aired in the U.S. on December 21, 2001. Shortly after the disastrous release of Glitter, Sony released a semi-authorized second compilation album, the 2-CD Greatest Hits, just before Christmas. Although the album initially failed to make an impact on the charts, it would eventually hold strong, steady sales.
In January 2002, EMI decided to part ways with Carey and they bought out her contract for $28 million, as an addition to the $21 million paid last year when singing, giving her another round of bad publicity. Despite this, there were several record companies vying for her signature in the months that followed and she eventually signed with Island Records' Def Jam that formed her own label MonarC Music for a reported $20 million for three albums (with an option on the fourth) in 2002. To further add to Carey's emotional burdens, her father Alfred Roy Carey died of cancer that same year.
Following a well-received supporting role in the independent film WiseGirls (see below), Carey then released a new album, Charmbracelet, in December 2002 as part of a new deal with Island Records, in which she expressed an interest in writing music that is more profoundly meaningful to her and her fans. Even though the lead single "Through The Rain" was only a moderate hit making the Hot 100, Charmbracelet eventually debuted at number three but it failed to ignite critics. Apart from the conventional feel of the entire album (Angus Batey called it "conservative, unadventurous and uninspiring"), the quality of Carey's vocals, which had previously been perceived as the singer's strong point, came under severe criticism. "Mariah's voice is shot, sounding in tatters" declared Erlewine, "and there's not a moment where it sounds strong or inviting". "Carey's once glorious voice is all over the place" said another, and Barry Walter's commented, "Carey's lead vocals blend into choruses of overdubbed Mariahs cooing overlapping phrases".
Carey's devoted fan base—who sometimes go by the name "lambs"—continued to buy her singles in the thousands, but none of the singles took off with pop radio, whose playlists had become less open to maturing pop "diva" stylists such as Carey, Whitney Houston, and Céline Dion. After a decade of one Carey hit after another, many observers came to the conclusion that Carey had lost her "radio magic". Subsequently, her duet with Busta Rhymes, "I Know What You Want" (2003), fared considerably better, reaching number-three on Billboard's pop singles chart; it is featured on her thirteenth album, The Remixes, a double CD released by Columbia Records. That year, Carey was awarded the "Diamond Award" by the World Music Awards show in honour of over 150 million album sales worldwide, and she also staged the "Charmbracelet World Tour". Reviews were generally favorable, though the press also spoke of Carey's large travelling entourage, many pieces of luggage, hotel and dressing room demands, and other diva-like behaviours.
2004–the present: Return of the Voice
Carey spent the majority of 2004 making her fourteenth album, The Emancipation of Mimi. In the winter of 2004, she was featured on Jadakiss's single "U Make Me Wanna", which peaked within the Top 10 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. On New Year's Eve 2005, Carey premiered "It's Like That", a song produced by Jermaine Dupri, at the grand opening of the Pure Club in Las Vegas. It received a positive response, and within weeks it had entered the Top 20 of the Hot 100. Billboard wrote, "After years of underwhelming singles, Mariah Carey finally returns with a hot track..." and put it on their list of the week's essentials.
The Emancipation of Mimi was released in April 2005, and was heralded as "The Return of the Voice", though Carey maintained that "The voice has been here all along. Even if you listen to the oh-so-dissed Glitter, there is a song called "Lead The Way" which is one of my best vocal performances ever." The story of self-discovery and remaking one's image, the album received generally positive reviews; Todd Burns called Mimi "easily the strongest album that she’s made in this millennium" , and Caroline Sullivan said the album contained "the first Mariah Carey tunes in years I wouldn't have to be paid to listen to again" . It debuted at number one in the U.S. with the highest first week tally of Carey's career, and remained in the top five of the Billboard 200 album chart for twenty one weeks. Following strong radio airplay, singles "We Belong Together" (Carey's first number one single on the Hot 100 in five years) and "Shake It Off" proved to be successes on the charts: the former spent fourteen weeks at number one, while the latter reached number two . "We Belong Together" was named the "song of the summer" by Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times , and reached number-one in Australia and Canada and number-two in the UK, making it a major international hit. It was also named the World's most-played single of the year by the World Music Awards. A re-release of the album is slated for November.
Following performances at Live 8 and the July 4 Macy's Fireworks Spectacular, new controversy arose as Carey's former mentor and best friend (and the person who helped her get a record deal), Brenda K. Starr, publicly called out Carey on both the Wendy Williams radio show and the "Page Six" section of the New York Post for abusing their friendship; Starr said that Carey only calls her when she needs her for publicity reasons, and that Carey does not treat her with respect. Carey's manager, Benny Medina, countered: "Over the years, Mariah has generously provided thousands in loans, never seeking repayment, to Brenda and her family, as well as a variety of gifts to both her and her children. No request from Brenda has ever been denied by Mariah."
Since 2004, reports suggested Carey had been dating a 29-year old member of her management team and co-executive producer of The Emancipation Of Mimi, Mark Sudack, since 2003. In the March 2005 issue of Blender Magazine, she was quoted saying: "Oh honestly! At this stage in my life, I'm not getting tied down in any relationship." During the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Carey was rumoured to be romantically linked to Eddie Murphy, but she stated they were "just friends". On her love life, Carey later stated, "I won't say if I do or don't have a boyfriend. That's my new stance."
Carey had participated in theatre workshops as a child and began to study acting again in 1997 with acting coach Sheila Gray, but it was not until 1999 that she made her big screen debut. The Bachelor, a romantic comedy starring Chris O'Donnell and Renée Zellweger, saw Carey in a cameo appearance as an opera singer and one of the ex-girlfriends of Jimmie (O'Donnell), who proposes to her, as he tries to find a woman to marry so he can inherit his father's fortune. Despite protests from the film's director, Carey insisted she do her own stunts for a scene where her character, Ilana, falls to the ground and plays dead in a performance of La Traviata but later came to regret it: after filming the scene "30 times over", she said, "My hips and legs hurted like hell and I had to walk all day with an ice-bag. I will never do that again." Her demonstration of physical endurance was for nought as far as critics were concerned; Berge Garabedian called Carey's presence "distracting" , Paul Tatara from CNN derisively said Carey's casting as a talentless diva was "letter-perfect" , and Tony Lee simply stated "no, she can't act" . Bill DeLapp, however, said Carey handled her part "with a brisk flourish, especially when her diva disses both Jimmy and their eminently forgettable relationship" , and Rob Blackwelder commended Carey and co-star Brooke Shields for managing to "easily outshine" star Chris O'Donnell .
Carey's first starring role was in Glitter, a 2001 film that had been in development as a vehicle for Carey since 1997. In it, she played Billie Frank, a struggling singer and songwriter who breaks into the music industry after she meets DJ Julian Dice (Max Beesley), and in many ways the film's storyline echoed Carey's own early career. Reviews were scathing; while Roger Ebert gave mild praise for Carey's performance, saying that "Her acting ranges from dutiful flirtatiousness to intense sincerity" , most other critics panned it. Stephanie Zacharek called Carey "numbingly bland" in her role , and Michael Atkinson observed, "when she tries for an emotion—any emotion—she looks as if she's lost her car keys" . Mimicking the sales of the accompanying soundtrack album, Glitter was a box office failure , and Carey, who "won" a Worst Actress Razzie Award for her trouble (her breasts additionally received Worst Screen Couple), has since referred to the film as "a diva moment" . The film is often cited as one of the worst ever made.
Carey next appeared co-starring with Mira Sorvino and Melora Walters in the independent film WiseGirls, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002 and received a standing ovation. Partly due to the fallout from Glitter, the film was not given a theatrical release and went straight-to-cable in the United States, but those critics who saw the film lauded Carey for her efforts. Mick LaSalle proclaimed Carey as "just perfect" for the role of Raychel, a tough-talking waitress at an Italian restaurant run by mobsters . Roger Freidman, referring to her as "a Thelma Ritter for the new millennium", said "her line delivery is sharp and she manages to get the right laughs" . Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter predicted "Those scathing notices for Glitter will be a forgotten memory for the singer once people warm up to Raychel" , while Variety said Carey displayed "charm and relaxed assurance" . The film's star, Mira Sorvino, was impressed as well: "She's very talented actually. I don't think people have yet given her credit as an actress, but they will when they see this" . Producer Anthony Esposito, meanwhile, likened Carey to Cher, and went so far as to cast Carey in another film, The Sweet Science, about an unknown but talented boxer who is recruited by a determined female boxing manager . However, due to a bonding problem caused by the schedule for Carey's Charmbracelet tour in 2003, production was delayed, and the project remains stuck in development as of July 2005
In the hip hop industry satire Death of a Dynasty, a Damon Dash film dismissed as "especially amateurish" by Elizabeth Weitzman , Carey had a cameo as herself. She followed this up with a small part in State Property 2, another film directed by and starring Damon Dash, as the spoiled girlfriend of a drug dealer played by Dash. Michael Rechtshaffen called Carey's two minute long appearance "notable" and Kathryn Dresher said she was "unsurprisingly perfect" in her role , but the film itself was met with mostly dreadful reviews . Both films made it to theatres in 2005, but neither was given a wide release ; Death of a Dynasty had in fact been searching for a distributor since its premiere at the TriBeCa Film Festival in 2003 .
It was announced in October 2003, and later June 2004, that Carey was to star in a theatre production on London's West End, a stage adaptation of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl. Carey would play the role of a showgirl originated by Marilyn Monroe, and would also be given the opportunity to sing a song in the show.
Carey is a philanthropist who has donated both time and millions of dollars to organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the National Adoption Center, VH1's Save The Music Foundation, Operation Smile, and the Fresh Air Fund among many others . Carey is well-known nationally for her work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in granting the wishes of the terminally ill Caleb Boulter as seen on live television. Boulter, a self-confessed "loyal fan" of Carey since listening to "My All" in 1997, called her "a very real person who overflows with compassion and love for others" .
As part of her involvement with the Fresh Air Fund, Carey is the co-founder of a serene camp located in Fishkill, New York that enables inner-city youth to embrace the arts, be introduced to career opportunities, and build self-esteem. The camp was named Camp Mariah in honour of Carey's work with the Fresh Air Fund . Carey even received a Congressional Award titled the Horizon Award for her charity work on behalf of children .
On July 2, 2005, Carey performed for Live 8 at the Live 8 concert, London. "Make It Happen" and "Hero" were sung with the African Children's Choir; she finished with "We Belong Together". Old friend and now American Idol judge Randy Jackson was one of her band members. Following the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to the U.S. Gulf Coast two months later, Carey participated in the Shelter from the Storm telethon, performing "Fly Like a Bird". She is also working with Michael Jackson on a hurricane-relief single titled "From the Bottom of My Heart", expected to be released in October.
Fashion and lifestyle
Carey owns a three-story penthouse (valued at $9 million+) in TriBeCa, Manhattan, New York City that was featured on MTV Cribs and in a special issue of Architectural Digest. A centerpiece is Marilyn Monroe's white lacquered baby grand piano, bought at an auction in October of 1999 for $600,000 plus commission. Carey's friendly attitude towards her fans has backfired a bit. After she made an announcement in jest on Cribs for fans to visit, some fans traveled from Spain to her apartment in New York City and requested to stay the night citing her offer. Carey had to turn them away for privacy reasons, but she did give them money for a hotel.
In 2005 it was reported that Carey was consulting with Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley to upgrade her clothing look, which since the Rainbow era has often been criticized as raunchy, excessively revealing, and age-inappropriate . A Pan-Islamic political youth leader even attempted to have Carey banned from performing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in early 2004, on the basis that she was "not an appropriate role model for young Malaysians" . Carey and Talley can be found talking about her 1950s look and old glamour influence on the television special "Mariah Carey Uncut" for cable network E!.
Ironically, sometimes her sexual appearance is at complete odds with her personal behavior; she has been quoted several times as saying she has only had a handful of intimate relationships with men . Her decisions in this regard may have been influenced by the counter-example of her sister Alison, who has lived a troubled life and in 2005 was arrested for prostitution. . Although the news made headlines with Mariah being in the spotlight again, this is not the first time Alison has been arrested and has been an expert in the field of prostitution for years. Through her activities, she has contracted the HIV virus, and her children were taken away from her (Mariah supports the children financially).
Some have commented that Carey's image is a key factor in the success of her records. In a 2005 concert at Madison Square Garden, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin said, "If we looked like Mariah Carey, we’d sell 25 times as many records, which would be a lot." He continued by stating that if the band resembled Carey, "We could date people who looked like Tom Cruise."
In the May 2005 issue of FHM magazine, Carey was named the sexiest female singer/entertainer of the year in a poll voted on by men all over the world, and the fifteenth sexiest female overall.
It is requested that references or sources be provided for the information in this section.
In February of 1997, it was announced that Crave Records, a new Sony Music label founded by Carey, would be launched. Groups signed to the label included female R&B quartet Allure, who released a self-titled album featuring the hit singles "Head Over Heels", "All Cried Out", and "Last Chance" and male R&B trio 7 Mile, who also released a self-titled album. In July of 1998, Crave Records was shut down.
Years later, as part of her deal with Island Def Jam Records, Carey created the MonarC imprint to sign and develop new artists. Carey signed her good friend and backup singer, Trey Lorenz along with Bell & Nae Nae and Sadie, also known as "Dat Baby", to the label. However, the label has since been officially shutdown.
Carey may be launching a clothing and accessories lines known as Automatic Princess . Carey was also going to write her autobiography with David Ritz , but following a discussion with publisher HarperCollins, she dropped the proposal. She has instead chosen to fictionalize her story and adapt it into a series of illustrated children's books, also titled Automatic Princess, about an orphaned young girl who is biracial. Carey is also in the works to launch her very own lingerie line, Kiss Kiss, which will be available for women in all sizes , but no official release date has been set.
Carey is credited as having a five-octave vocal range; she can cover all the notes from the alto range leading to those of a coloratura soprano . Her vocal trademark is her ability to hit high notes in the whistle register. Carey has often been incorrectly been credited as having a 7 or even 8-octave vocal range. It has been suggested that Carey's publicists falsely claimed this at the start of her career , although it may also be a misstatement of the fact that Carey frequently accesses the whistle register, especially the notes situated in the seventh octave. So far her highest note is a G#7— five and a half steps above C7, the highest note on a standard keyboard — which she hit in live performances of "Emotions", at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards, and at the famous Arsenio Hall show.
Carey's voice has come under scrutiny from many critics who believe that she does not effectively communicate the message of her songs. Rob Tannenbaum, a critic who reviewed her 1992 album "Emotions" comments "Carey has a remarkable vocal gift, but to date, unfortunately, her singing has been far more impressive than expressive." Other critics often denounce her high notes, classing them as "dogwhistles" or gimmicks, stating that her singing is so overwrought with melisma, and "octave hops" that it takes away from the true meaning of the songs.
However, Carey's voice is rated as one of the greatest ever among pop singers . In 2003, she was voted as having the Greatest Voice in music in MTV's and Blender Magazine's countdown of "The 22 Greatest Voices In Music", placing her ahead of such rivals as Whitney Houston (#3), Christina Aguilera (#5) and Céline Dion (#9).
Carey's vocal style has influenced a generation of singers, including Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Clarkson as well as many other American Idol competitors.
|G#7 - "Emotions" (Live, 1991 MTV Awards) (info)
|G#7 - "Emotions" (Live, Arsenio Hall in 1991) (info)
|Bb6 - "Someday" (Live) (info)
|Really Low notes - "Make it Happen" (Live, VH1 Divas in 1998) (info)
Rift Against Keyboard C8 (Live) - click on Band Introduction
|Problems listening to the files? See media help.
Sales and charts achievements
- For more details on this topic, see Sales and charts achievements for Mariah Carey.
- For a list of awards, see List of Mariah Carey awards.
- For a list of Grammy awards and nominations, see Grammy Awards and nominations for Mariah Carey.
- For a detailed albums discography, see Mariah Carey albums discography.
- For a detailed singles discography, see Mariah Carey singles discography.
- For a list of songs recorded by Mariah Carey, see List of songs by Mariah Carey.
- For a list of her unreleased songs recorded by Mariah Carey, see List of unreleased songs by Mariah Carey.
- For a list of Mariah Carey's official music videos, see Videography of Mariah Carey.
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||The Sweet Science
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