Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970 in
Huntington, New York) is an American pop and R&B singer-songwriter, who rose to
prominence in the 1990s, where she became America's most successful recording
artist for that decade, according to Billboard magazine. The World Music Awards
has also recognised her as the world's biggest-selling artist of the 1990s,
and in 2000, the show declared her the best-selling female pop artist of all
Carey's music has been influenced by rhythm and blues, pop, gospel, hip hop,
dance, and rock and roll. Her singing and songwriting are structured around her
wide-ranging voice, which spans five octaves; she makes lavish use of melisma,
and her vocal swoops and trills and jumps between octaves are easily
recognizable features of her sound. She has produced every one of her ten studio
albums with the exception of her debut and directed music videos. Since 1999,
she has occasionally worked as an actress and supports a variety of charitable
Early life and family, 1970–1990
Carey is the third and youngest child of Patricia Hickey, an opera singer and
voice coach of Irish-American ethnicity, and Alfred Roy Carey, an aeronautical
engineer of Venezuelan-African descent. She was named after the song "(And They
Call the Wind) Maria" , from the musical Paint Your Wagon. Carey's mother
has mentioned that she picked her name because she thought it would be a good
stage name. She has no middle name. Carey has a sister named Alison (ten years
older) and a brother named Morgan (nine years older).
As a multiracial family, the Carey household was met with racial slurs,
hostility and even violence. Thus, the family moved around the New York area
often to find more friendly neighborhoods. The strain on the family led to the
divorce of Alfred and Patricia when Mariah was three; Mariah and Morgan stayed
with their mother while Alison stayed with their father. Mariah Carey had little
contact with her father, except for sporadic visits on weekends but even those
dwindled as the years went by; Patricia raised Mariah, often struggling with two
or three jobs and continuing to move among different towns on Long Island, but
tried to provide a spirited, loving household. It is generally believed,
however, that she failed in a sense as a parent, as Mariah has often mentioned
that she grew up quickly for her age, having been exposed to traumatic incidents
as a child, and learning to deal with being alone as her mother and brother were
never home. In a sense, Mariah has often mentioned that music helped raise her
in a way when no one else was there. Nevertheless, Mariah and her mother still
maintain a close relationship to this day.
Carey began singing when she was three; her mother believed early on that she
had tremendous potential. In fact, one day, when Patricia had brought Mariah to
her opera rehearsal, Patricia had missed a vocal cue, but the young Mariah
astounded everyone by catching in and singing it perfectly in tune. Publicly,
she first performed when she was six and first began writing songs when she was
in grade school. She attended and graduated from Oldfield Middle School and
Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, but was frequently absent due to efforts
to break into the music business, netting her the nickname "Mirage". Ironically,
Mariah was never in her school's choir. She eventually landed a role as a backup
singer for Brenda K. Starr. Then, in 1988, Carey met Columbia Records executive
Tommy Mottola while at a party, where her friend gave him a demo tape. He 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 had already left. Nevertheless, he
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
Early commercial success, 1990–1992
Mariah Carey's career began with the release of her eponymous debut album
Mariah Carey in 1990, when she was just twenty years old. She became a
commercial success almost overnight, and the album produced four huge #1 singles
— "Vision of Love", "Love Takes Time", "Someday", and "I Don't Wanna Cry" —
making her a superstar in the US; the album failed to bring her to immense
international prominence, though. Ashley S. Battel called Mariah Carey
"extremely impressive", "smooth-sounding" and "uplifting",
and Carey took home Grammy Awards in 1991 for Best New Artist and Best Female
Pop Vocal Performance for lead single "Vision of Love," proving that her success
was not limited to the charts.
Beginning with this first album, Carey has been a co-writer on every song she
has recorded (except covers and two special soundtrack projects) throughout her
career, working with songwriting partners such as Walter Afanasieff, Jermaine
Dupri, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis among many others. "Vision of Love", which
Bill Lamb called "one of the best songs of Mariah's recording career",
established the template for many of her other songs: a hint of swing; a melody
and arrangement designed for her voice, such that her ornamented vocals seem
part of the fabric of a song rather than an add-on; lyrics organized around
themes of dreams, struggle, and self-help.
Carey's second album, Emotions, was released in the fall of 1991, and
its first single, the title track, was another US #1 hit, giving Carey the
distinction of being the only act ever to have had their first five singles go
to #1 on the Hot 100 chart, before the string was broken by "Can't Let Go"
(which broke the top 5 even so, as did "Make It Happen"). The album did not
match the sales and chart performance of her debut, but it was released to an
equally strong critical reception; Dan Leroy, who had criticised Mariah Carey
for being too similar to Whitney Houston's debut album Whitney Houston,
called the title track "undeniably winning", and the entire album "pleasant",
and "far perkier than Whitney's been in years".
Beginning with Emotions, Carey has co-produced almost all of the songs
on her albums, in collaboration with her songwriting and other partners. She
fought to co-produce on her first album as well, but was only allowed to produce
In 1992, Carey gave her first real concert performance on the MTV
Unplugged program. Her whistle register workout on "Emotions" showed that
her vocal abilities were not confined to the studio, and Shawn M. Haney noted
that Carey was "quite electric and charismatic within her vocal presence", in
what he described as "an inspiring event".
Entertainment Weekly listed her performance among their "Great Performances"
of 1992. Carey premiered a cover of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" (featuring
Trey Lorenz) on the special, and the performance was called "breathtaking" by
Haney. The performance of the song was subsequently released as a single, and it
became Carey's sixth #1 hit in the U.S. The program was popular enough that the
songs were compiled onto the commercially successful EP MTV Unplugged.
At this point, Carey also started writing and producing songs for other
artists. For Trey Lorenz' self-titled debut album, Carey co-wrote two songs
("Someone To Hold" and "Always In Love") and co-produced several of the album's
tracks. For Daryl Hall's Soul Alone album, Carey wrote the track "Help Me
Find A Way To Your Heart". A song that she co-wrote with Narada Michael Walden,
"I Lose Control," ended up on Penny Ford's self-titled debut album.
Worldwide success, 1993–1996
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, becoming her largest selling LP worldwide.
Lead single "Dreamlover" was her longest stayer yet at the #1 spot; its bouncy
and easily appealing rhythm was praised by Ron Wynn for its "personality and
and would be reused in several of her future hits. Two more of her signature
songs followed: "Hero", Carey's bid to create a big inspirational ballad, went
to #1 in the US and in the years to follow became her most played old hit on US
radio, while her remake of the Harry Nillson hit "Without You" went to #1 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
Carey's Music Box hits, together with her duet with Luther Vandross of
Diana Ross' "Endless Love", made her one of the most-played musicians 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 classics, 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 the singles from
Daydream turned out to be record breakers: "Fantasy" became the second
single to debut at #1, and became famous for making the pop/rap collaboration a
staple of modern pop music; "One Sweet Day" spent a still-record 16 weeks at #1;
and "Always Be My Baby" not only made #1 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 many consider the album to be her creative peak. The album finished was
named one of the ten best albums of the year by sources such as New York
Times, People, and TIME.
Carey was also instrumental in the success of Babyface's top 10 single
"Everytime I Close My Eyes", arranging and singing the background vocals for the
While Carey's music was hugely popular, it also had its detractors as well.
Some thought that her compositions were too homogeneously commercial; others
thought that her lyrics were too full of repetitive, simplistic imagery (a line
of criticism that would be further debated with her next few albums); still
others thought her voice was beginning to wear down (also an observation that
would intensify in the coming decade).
Independence and new image established, 1997–2000
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 Tommy. 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 #1 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 was widely praised, and "My All" became
her thirteenth #1 single, an unprecedented feat for a female artist. J.R.
Reynolds said the sultry 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 that Butterfly illustrated "that Carey is
continuing to improve and refine her music, which makes her a rarity among her
In 2004, Butterfly was named one of the 50 Essential Pop Albums by
At some point after the release of Butterfly, Carey had a falling out
with Walter Afanasieff, the man who had helped co-create Carey's albums since
her debut release. He had travelled and toured with her, playing piano live. He
appeared in Carey's home videos talking about their creative process. The two
reportedly had creative differences, and they have not worked together since.
Apparently, much of their falling out was due to Walter being caught between
Carey and Tommy Mottola during their divorce with each asking him to take a
side; Walter 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
("Head Over Heels" and "Last Chance") and produced several of the album's
tracks, including the Top 10 hit "All Cried Out". For the Men in Black
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 "After" for 7 Mile's self-titled debut album,
and "Don't Go Looking For Love" for Blaque's self-titled debut album. She also
wrote "Where Are You Christmas" for How The Grinch Stole Christmas
soundtrack, which Faith Hill sung in the movie'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
American #1 singles up to that point. Carey had not wanted to release the album.
She was planning on her movie/soundtrack project known at the time as All
That Glitters. But when it was delayed, 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. The
compilation was not welcomed by some reviewers; 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 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 the aptly-titled lead single "Heartbreaker" was a #1 commercial 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 15th US #1 single, "Thank God I Found You") and Westlife ("Against All Odds
(Take A Look At Me Now)"), the album was her lowest seller up to that point, and
reached #2 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, warning
signs began to appear as 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. Signs of internal drama were starting to rise, as Carey (via her website)
publicly accused Sony of sabotaging the two singles and the album.
While her influence in pop music was starting to wane, Carey soon became a
prominent figure in hip-hop music. She was a featured artist in Jay-Z's single
"Things That U Do," as well as in Da Brat's single "Got A Thing For You." Soon,
she was collaborating with new, as well as established, rappers. This was an
expected outcome given that it was Carey who started the pop-hip-hop style with
"Fantasy (Bad Boy Remix)," which featured O.D.B.
Personal and career struggles, 2001–2003
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 in two movies 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 was
acting strangely and began taking her clothes off; 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; the film was finally
released on September 21, but panned by most movie 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 #7 (Carey's weakest showing ever). Reviews of the album were not
enthusiastic either; Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone was generally
pleased, but criticised Carey's ballads for having "zero melodic or emotional
and 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
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
"Loverboy" reached #2 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
Carey did rally 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 as Carey's definitive
In January of 2002, EMI decided to part ways with Carey and they bought out
her contract for $28 million, 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 in 2002. To
further add to Mariah'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; it debuted at #3.
She expressed an interest in writing music that is more profoundly meaningful to
her and her fans. The album included the singles "Through The Rain", "Boy (I
Need You)" featuring rapper Cam'ron and a cover of Def Leppard's 1993 hit
"Bringin' On The Heartbreak". Charmbracelet failed to ignite critics; in
addition to the poor reception of "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" and 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 immense fire. "Mariah's voice is shot,
sounding in tatters" declared one critic, "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 commenting on the song "Yours", Barry Walters said: "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, Carey's duet with Busta Rhymes, "I Know What You Want" (2003),
fared considerably better, reaching #3 in Billboard's pop singles chart; it is
featured on her 13th album, The Remixes, a double CD which was released
on 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.
During 2003, Carey staged the "Charmbracelet World Tour". Reviews were
generally favorable, although the press often focused on Carey's large
travelling entourage, many pieces of luggage, hotel and dressing room demands,
and other diva-like behaviours.
Return of the Voice, 2004–present
Carey spent the majority of 2004 making The Emancipation of Mimi. In
the winter of 2004, she was featured on Jadakiss's hit single "U Make Me Wanna",
which managed to hit the Top 10 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. On New
Year's Eve 2005, Carey premiered a Jermaine Dupri production at the grand
opening of the Pure Club in Las Vegas. The song "It's Like That" received a
positive response, and within weeks it zoomed into the Top 20 of the Hot 100,
peaking at #16. Media sources hailed the song as a triumphant return for Carey.
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.
As of April 2005, Carey had earned an estimated fortune of $427 million from
her record sales, world tours, and recording advances.
The Emancipation of Mimi was released in April 2005, and was heralded
as "The Return of the Voice". However, Carey maintains 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, with some critics calling it Carey's best in years;
proclaiming it her comeback album after the relatively underwhelming critical
and commercial performances of Glitter and Charmbracelet. Carey's
resurgence also hit the right notes with the public; Mimi debuted at #1
with the highest first week tally of Carey's career, and remained popular
throughout 2005, remaining in the top 5 of the Billboard 200 album chart for
nineteen weeks. "We Belong Together", the album's second single, featured a
blend of quiet storm ambiance and hip hop-style singing, and received massive
radio airplay (reversing the previous trend). It became Carey's first #1 single
on the Billboard Hot 100 in five years (and one of the biggest of her career),
currently spending thirteen weeks at the top. It was named the "song of the
summer" by Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times  and was voted song of
the summer by Chicago Tribune "RedEye" readers . "We Belong Together"
also reached #1 in Australia and Canada, and #2 in the UK, making it a major
international hit. The third single, "Shake It Off", impacted radio in early
July and skyrocketed to #4 after six weeks on the charts .
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. On July 4, Carey was shown
performing three songs for the Macy's Fireworks Spectacular in New York in a
pre-recorded segment. Later that month, 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 feels 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,
however, counters: "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." 
On August 28, Carey performed at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, doing a
medley of "Shake It Off" and the "We Belong Together" remix, chucking a couple
of her dancers into show-theme water in the process.
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 is
proposed to by him 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, has since referred
to the film as "a diva moment" . The film is often cited as one of the worst
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, 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 .
Carey owns a three-story penthouse (valued at $9 milllion+) in TriBeCa,
Manhattan, New York City that was featured on MTV Cribs and in a speacial
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. 
Fashion, reality, and family
In 2005 it was reported that Carey was consulting with Vogue editor
Andre Leon Talley to upgrade her clothing look, which since the Butterfly
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"
Ironically, her 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
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 Heals", "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 has 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 future of the label is in
jeopardy, and it may be inactive.
Carey will 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. 
Sales and charts achievements
The singles marks here are based on Billboard Hot 100 chart. U.S. record
sales figures are certified by the RIAA and may be considered reliable. However,
no process exists to certify worldwide record sales.
- According to World Music Awards, Carey is the biggest-selling recording
artist of the decade (1990-2000) . In 2000, she received the Best selling
Pop-Female artist of the Millennium award  for being the best selling female
pop artist of all time
. In 2003, she also became the first female artist to receive
the Chopard Diamond World Music Award, for sales surprassing 150 million albums
. She has sold a total of 82 mil. records in the US (61 mil. albums and 21
mil. singles) and approx 230 mil. records worldwide, (180 mil. albums plus 49
mil. singles); (according to Mariah Carey Discography).
- Carey is the most successful international artist in Japan, with sales of
over twelve million. She has achieved six #1 singles and six #1 albums. #1s
is also the biggest selling foreign album in that country, and Glitter is
the first international soundtrack ever to achieve #1 status .
- Merry Christmas is the biggest selling Christmas album of all time.
It has been certified 5× platinum in the US and has sold nearly fourteen million
copies worldwide. 
- Carey has the most platinum singles in the US by a female artist (ten
- Carey is the only female artist to have twelve consecutive albums RIAA-
certified for at least three million copies sold. She is also the first female
artist in history to have three studio albums sell in excess of eight million
copies in the US; Mariah Carey, Music Box and Daydream 
and the second female artist to have two Diamond albums (behind only Whitney
- In the US, Carey, Madonna, Britney Spears, Céline Dion, Whitney Houston,
Shania Twain, Norah Jones, and the Dixie Chicks are the only female artists with
multiple Diamond (shipped over ten million copies) albums.
- With fifteen years in the music industry, Carey has the following RIAA
achievements: albums - 77 certifications, singles - 35 certifications (as of
August 2005), home videos - 12 certifications (as of August 2005); total: 124
- RIAA Certifications: albums - 14 gold, 14 platinum, 10 multi-platinum, 2
Diamond Awards; singles - 22 gold, 10 platinum, 2 multi-platinum; home videos -
6 gold, 6 platinum.
- Carey is the highest-selling R&B artist in American history, male or female.
- In 1999, Carey was named The Most Successful Pop Artist of the decade
and The Most successful R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the decade by Billboard
Magazine ,. "One Sweet Day" was also deemed the #1 song of the
- Carey has the most number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (16) for a
female artist and for any active recording artist, behind The Beatles (20) and
Elvis Presley (17). She also has three number two singles.
- Carey has the most cumulative weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100
(74) for any female and active recording artist behind Elvis Presley (79). .
- Carey has the most consecutive years with a number one single on the
Billboard Hot 100 (11) from 1990-2000. She is also the only artist to have a
single reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 every year of the 1990s.
- "One Sweet Day", a duet with Carey and Boyz II Men holds the record for
longest consecutive run at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 when it spent
sixteen uninterrupted weeks from December 2, 1995 to March 16, 1996. "We Belong
Together" is also tied for the third longest run at number one on the Hot 100
- "We Belong Together" is tied for the longest running number one single on
the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks (14 weeks) with Deborah Cox's
"Nobody's Supposed to Be Here", (14 weeks) .
- "We Belong Together" holds the record for topping the most Billboard charts
simultaneously, when it occupied the top position on nine charts on the week
ending August 6, 2005. It went to number one on The Billboard Hot 100, the Hot
100 Airplay, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, Pop 100
Airplay, the Mainstream Top 40, Rhythmic Top 40, Hot Dance Music/Club Play, and
the Billboard Hot Ringtones. The week before, it broke its own record of topping
eight Billboard charts. 
- "We Belong together" is also the song to top the most Billboard charts in
history —it has occupied the pole position on 13 charts altogether.
- Carey has the record for the best debut on the Billboard Hot 100. The first
five singles that she ever released went to #1; ("Vision Of Love", "Love Takes
Time", "Someday", "I Don't Wanna Cry", and "Emotions"). She later achieved
another five consecutive #1 singles ("Fantasy", "One Sweet Day", "Always Be My
Baby", "Honey", and "My All"). She is the only female artist to accomplish this
- With "One Sweet Day" spending sixteen weeks at #1 and "We Belong Together"
spending thirteen weeks (to date), Carey joins Carlos Santana and Boys II Men as
the only artists to have two or more double-digit runs at No. 1 on the Billboard
- Carey has five #1 singles on The Billboard Mainstream Top 40; the most for
any artist on that chart.  
- "We Belong Together" officially became the biggest song ever in the history
(of the impressions measurement era) of American radio when it reached 192.3
million listeners and over 23,000 spins in the week ending June 7, 2005. In the
following weeks, the single continued to break its own record as it peaked at
195.8 million, 202.1 million, 212.2 million, and 223 million impressions. It is
the first song in history to break the 200 million one-week BDS audience
- "We Belong Together" has recorded the best-ever one day listener figure
after it registered with 32.8 million listeners on American radio in a single
- When "Fantasy", "One Sweet Day", and "Honey" debuted at #1 on the Billboard
Hot 100, Carey became the artist with the most singles to debut at #1 in history
(only fourteen songs have ever debuted at pole position). She also became the
first female artist (and second artist, behind Michael Jackson) to ever have a
#1 debut with "Fantasy" in 1995.
- Carey is also the only artist to have two consecutive #1 debuts on the
Billboard Hot 100 ("Fantasy" and "One Sweet Day").
- Carey is the only artist to have the debut singles from all her studio
albums top the charts in the 1990s. (Her run was broken in 2001 when "Loverboy",
the lead single from Glitter, peaked at #2).
- Carey and Ludacris are tied for the most top 10s on the Rhythmic Top 40
- Carey is the only artist to have entered the Billboard Hot 100 at least once
every year from 1990 to 2005.
- Carey holds the record for the largest jump for a single to the #2 position
on The Hot 100, when "Loverboy" jumped from #60 to #2.
- Carey has five #1 albums on The Billboard 200 (three debuts at #1). She is
tied with Madonna (five #1s) and Janet Jackson (five #1s) and behind Barbra
Streisand (eight #1s).
- Carey is one of only ten women to have had five or more Top 10 debuts on The
Billboard 200. Those other artists are Mary J. Blige, Tori Amos, Céline Dion,
Janet Jackson, Madonna, Britney Spears, LeAnn Rimes, Jennifer Lopez,and Barbra
- For Carey's detailed albums discography, see Mariah Carey albums
- For her detailed singles discography, see Mariah Carey singles
- For a list of her songs, see List of songs by Mariah Carey.
- For a list of her unreleased songs, see List of unreleased songs by
- For her videography, see Videography of Mariah Carey.
||MTV Unplugged EP
||The Emancipation of Mimi
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