Born March 27, 1970 in New York City to an Irish opera singer mother and a Black Venezuelan engineer father.
Mariah once said "A lot of people are singing about how screwed up the world is, and I don't think that everybody wants to hear about that all the time." Judging from the decade of sappy little pop tunes she's churned out with efficiency that would make Henry Ford
proud, Mariah has really taken this to heart.
Mariah got her start singing backup for artists like Brenda K. Starr, whose single "I Still Believe" was re-recorded by Mariah in 1999. It was Starr who introduced a then 19 year old Carey to married Sony Music prez, Tommy Mottola. Tommy took an immediate shine to the young chanteuse, gave her a makeover, signed her to Sony and became her full time Svengali
. Tommy wanted to do for Mariah what Clive Davis did for Whitney Houston
only he wanted Mariah to appeal to a wider (and whiter) audience. Some say it was Mottola, who encouraged Mariah to be more ambiguous about her racial make-up. The cover of her 1990 eponymous debut album featured a black and white picture of Mariah, a tendril of honey blonde hair covering the roundness of her nose. The packaging worked and Mariah received airplay on Top 40 stations around the country. Her vocal prowess
(though hopelessly under used) was rivaled only by Whitney. The first single from the album "Vision of Love" became a #1 hit, the album sold 6 million copies and Mariah won a slew of Grammy Awards to use as bookends.
Mariah was a bonafide star and she and Mottola were in love. She dumped her boyfriend and Tommy left his wife and kids. In 1991 Mariah released another cookie-cutter album called Emotions
, a MTV Unplugged
disk in 1992 and even more black-and-white videos. In 1993 she and Mottola wed in a half million dollar ceremony that People
magazine was wet to cover.
Three more years brought the syrup level to an all time high. In 1993 it was Music Box
, 1994 Merry Christmas
, and 1995 Daydream
. Mariah's sales were approaching the 80 million mark worldwide. By 1997 Mariah evidentally wanted to break out of the pop princess
mold and branch out. Her Butterfly
album had her collaborating with the likes of Puff Daddy
. Though the album did have a more urban flavor, it was essentially chop full of...sugary pop tunes about (you guessed it) love. For this albums videos, Mariah ignored Mottola's advice (or warning) and started baring more skin. This, along with the hip-hop collaborations, was her way of getting back to her hood roots without losing too many bread and butter middle-America fans. Mariah's new formula:
1. write lyrics to sappy love song to guarantee air play
2. remix with hip-hop star for street cred
3. issue video where a scantly clad Mariah bounces a lot to get attention of fickle 15 year old boys
4. include cute young white love interest in video so fans in the South don't get offended
5. did I mention show some skin?
Mariah and Tommy divorced in 1998. The rest is blah blah blah: Mariah has a short-lived romance with Derek Jeter; Mariah sings duet with Whitney Houston; Mariah gains weight; Mariah loses weight and gains breast implants
; Mariah appears on VH1
Divas special looking like a hootchie
; Mariah starts dressing like a skank
; Mariah has small part in Chris O'Donnel movie; Mariah is jealous of the attention Jennifer Lopez
garners; Mariah gets larger implants; Mariah continues to roll in the dough.
On the brighter side, Mariah's drug addict sister is writing a tell all book in which she claims she financed Mariah's early career by turning tricks. Can't wait for that one to hit the bookshelf....