Monday, 30 May 2011

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey, born March 27, 1970 is an American R&B,pop singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. She made her recording debut in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, and became the first recording artist to have her first five singles top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Following her marriage to Mottola in 1993, a series of hit records including "Dreamlover", "Hero", "Without You", "Fantasy", "One Sweet Day" and "Always Be My Baby" from the diamond albums Music Box and Daydream established her position as Columbia Records' highest-selling act.
Following her separation from Mottola in 1997, she introduced elements of hip hop into her album work, to much initial success, but when she left Columbia in 2001 her popularity was in decline. She signed an unprecedented $100 million deal with Virgin Records, only to be dropped from the label and bought out of her contract in the following year. This radical turn of events was due to the highly publicized physical and emotional breakdown, as well as the poor reception that was given to Glitter, her film and soundtrack project. In 2002 Carey signed a $24 million deal with Island Records, and after a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to the top of pop music in 2005 with her album The Emancipation of Mimi. The album became her best-selling album in the 2000s and its single, "We Belong Together," became her most successful solo single of her music career and was also awarded Song of the Decade by Billboard.
In a career spanning over two decades, Carey has sold more than 200 million albums, singles, and videos worldwide, according to Island Def Jam, which makes her one of the world's best-selling music artists. Carey was cited as the world’s best-selling recording artist of the 1990s at the World Music Awards in 1998, and was named the best-selling female artist of the millennium by the same awards show in 2000. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the third-best-selling female artist, with shipments of 63 million albums in the U.S. In 2006 Carey was listed in 6th place on the Forbes Richest 20 Woman In Entertainment list. In April 2008, "Touch My Body" became Carey's eighteenth number one single on the Hot 100, the most by any solo artist. Carey was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2008. Carey starred in the film Precious (2009), which earned her a Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and an NAACP Image Award nomination.

Early career
In 1988, Carey met Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola at a party, where Starr gave Carey's demo tape to him. Mottola played the tape when he left the party and was impressed. He returned to find Carey but she had left. Nevertheless, Mottola tracked her down and signed her to a recording contract. This Cinderella-like story became part of the standard publicity that surrounded Carey's entrance into the industry.
Carey co-wrote the tracks on her 1990 debut album Mariah Carey and she has co-written most of her material since. During the recording, she expressed dissatisfaction with the contributions of producers such as Ric Wake and Rhett Lawrence, whom the executives at Columbia had enlisted to help to make the album more commercially viable. Critics were generally enthusiastic (See Critical reception section of the album article). Backed by a substantial promotional budget, the album reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, where it remained for several weeks. It yielded four number-one singles and made Carey a star in the United States but it was less successful in other countries. Critics rated the album highly, which assisted Carey's Grammy wins for Best New Artist, and—for her debut single, "Vision of Love"—Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Mariah Carey was also the best selling album of 1991 in the United States.
Carey conceived Emotions, her second album, as an homage to Motown soul music (see Motown Sound), and she worked with Walter Afanasieff and Clivillés & Cole (from the dance group C+C Music Factory) on the record. It was released soon after her debut album — in late 1991 — but was neither as critically or commercially successful (See Promotion and reception section of the album article). Following the success of Carey's self-titled debut album, critics wondered whether or not she would tour in order to promote the album in the major worldwide music markets. However, Carey expressed in several interviews that due to the strenuous nature and the sheer difficulty of her songs, she feared a tour with back-to-back shows would not be possible, aside from the long travel times and constant travel. With the extra time, Carey began writing and producing material for Emotions around the same time that her debut's third single, "Someday", was released in December 1990. During this time period in music, it was traditional for an artist to release a studio album every two years in their prime, allowing the singles to fully promote the album through airwaves, as well as television appearances.Additionally, after a tour that would usually follow, as the next album would be released and would gain new fans, they would search the artist's catalog, and purchase the previous album in hopes of learning of their older work.[35] Sony, however, chose to market Carey in a different fashion, leaning towards the traditional form in the 1960s, where acts would release an LP every year. They felt that Carey's reputation of being a "studio worm" and a songwriter from a young age would be captivating enough to deliver a new album more often than most.

First marriage, and international success
Carey and Tommy Mottola became romantically involved during the making of her debut album and were married in June, 1993. Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds consulted on the album Music Box, which was released later that year and became Carey's most successful worldwide. The album maintained a presence on the Billboard 200 for 128 weeks. It yielded her first UK Singles Chart number-one, a cover of Badfinger's "Without You", and the U.S. number-ones "Dreamlover" and "Hero".
After the success of Carey's previous albums Mariah Carey and Emotions, Sony wanted to take Music Box in a new direction, but not too far from her older releases. Sony began letting Carey take more control over the projects, as well as letting her produce her own material.[45][page needed] On the album's first track "Dreamlover", Carey worked with Dave Hall throughout the song's entire production. However, after listening to the song, Tommy Mottola felt "Dreamlover" needed stronger tunes and a more "direct" sound. In order to help with some of the song's arrangements, Mottola enrolled the help of Walter Afanasieff, who took on the completed track and transformed it into a more commercial hit.
Aside from the changes on "Dreamlover", "Hero", the album's second single, also had its own story. While Carey and Afanasieff worked on Music Box, he was also working on the film Hero, starring Dustin Hoffman and Geena Davis.[46] As a result, he and Carey began working on a theme-song for the film, one that was intended for Gloria Estefan.[46] After only two hours however, the finished product was perfect, surpassing both their expectations. When Mottola came for a final listen he was shocked as to what he heard, exclaiming, "Are you kidding me? You can't give this song to a movie. This is too good, Mariah, you have to take this song. You have to do it. After insisting, Carey and Afanasieff made some lyrical changes, and made it a very personal track, "especially for Carey.
The album's title track, Music Box, is described as one of Carey's more difficult compositions, due to its "softness." The song requires a great deal of legato, to keep "the tunes softness and sweetness, without resorting to volume." Carey's vocals on the track are defined as "soft and controlled," managing to maintain the delicate balance in a manner that seems effortless, floating easily over the keyboard and the shimmer of the guitar. One of the noticeable differences from Music Box and Carey's previous albums was its sound. The album was described by Afanasieff as a softer and more pop-oriented album, "filling the songs with air", and allowing far more space in the overall sound. Another noticeable change was in the album's production. When Mariah Carey was released, critics took notice of its "overly produced" and "studio perfect" quality, where in comparison, Emotions maintained a "raw, live sound. Music Box however, fell in between the two, a decision made by Carey during the album's production. She would layer each track with live backing vocals, so not to sound too overly produced, but still kept the inclusion of musical synthesizers.

New image, Butterfly and Rainbow
Carey and Mottola officially separated in 1997. Although the public image of the marriage was a happy one, she said that, in reality, she had felt trapped by her relationship with Mottola, whom she often described as controlling. They officially announced their separation in 1997 and their divorce became final in the following year. Soon after the separation, Carey hired an independent publicist and a new attorney and manager. She continued to write and produce for other artists during this period and contributed to the debut albums of Allure and 7 Mile through her short-lived imprint Crave Records.
Carey's next album, Butterfly (1997), yielded the number-one single "Honey", the lyrics and music video which presented a more overtly sexual image of her than had been previously seen. She stated that Butterfly marked the point when she attained full creative control over her music.However, she added, "I don't think that it's that much of a departure from what I've done in the past. It's not like I went psycho and thought I would be a rapper. Personally, this album is about doing whatever the hell I wanted to do. Throughout the development of the album, in a departure from her previous style, Carey worked with various rappers and hip-hop producers, including Sean "Puffy" Combs, Kamaal Fareed, Missy Elliott and Jean Claude Oliver and Samuel Barnes from Trackmasters. Critics saw Carey's new production team as a form of revenge on Mottola and Sony Music Carey denied taking a radically new direction, and insisted that the musical style of her new album was of her own choosing. Nevertheless, Carey resented the control that Sony, whose president was Mottola, exercised over her music, preventing her making music about which she was passionate. In contrast, Sony were concerned Carey, their best-selling act, could jeopardize her future success through her actions.

Return to prominence with The Emancipation of Mimi
Carey's tenth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi (2005), contained contributions from producers such as The Neptunes, Kanye West and Carey's longtime collaborator, Jermaine Dupri. Carey said it was "very much like a party record the process of putting on makeup and getting ready to go out. I wanted to make a record that was reflective of that. The Emancipation of Mimi became 2005's best-selling album in the U.S. The Guardian reviewer defined it as "cool, focused and urban some of the first Mariah Carey tunes in years which I wouldn't have to be paid to listen to again"., while Elysa Gardner writes on USA Today, "Breezy, playful tracks such as Say Somethin' (featuring Snoop Dogg) and Get Your Number (with Jermaine Dupri) prove the singer hasn't forsaken her passion for hip-hop. But it's the ballads and midtempo numbers that truly reflect the renewed confidence of a songbird who has taken her shots and kept on flying. On the other hand, Slant and AllMusic critized her vocals, writing, "Just as you start to hear the scratchiness in her voice (no doubt due to all that "purple"), the padded hook kicks in or the song fades. Where once Mariah's trademark high notes used to serve some purpose (structurally, melodically, texturally), they now seem random, existing just to convince us that The Voice is still there—and it is…kind of. More convincing would be a low note (remember those first 60 outrageously versatile seconds of '91's "You're So Cold"?), but mostly what we get here is midrange belting. As gratifying as that is on the surface, there's still the nagging feeling that Mariah has damaged her voice beyond repair. Mariah's voice sounds as airy, thin, and damaged as it did on Charmbracelet. Mariah never sounds like herself on this record. When she's not sounding like Beyoncé, she sounds desperate to be part of the waning bling era. Disregarding these two rather sizeable problems, The Emancipation of Mimi still works, at least as a slick, highly crafted piece of dance-pop.
The Emancipation of Mimi earned a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album and the single "We Belong Together" won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. "We Belong Together" held the Hot 100's number-one position for fourteen weeks, her longest run at the top as a solo lead artist. Subsequently, the single "Shake It Off" reached number two for a week, which made Carey the first female lead vocalist to have simultaneously held the Hot 100's top two positions. (While it topped the charts in 2002, Ashanti was the "featured" singer on the number two single.) 2005 proved to be a good year for Carey, as "We Belong Together" reached number one on Billboard's year end chart for Hot 100 singles, and The Emancipation of Mimi is classed as the best selling album of 2005 by Nielsen SoundScan.

Second marriage, and Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
By spring 2007, she had begun to work on her eleventh studio album, E=MC². Asked about the album title's meaning, Carey said "Einstein's theory? Physics? Me? Hello! ...Of course I'm poking fun." She characterized the project as "Emancipation of Mimi to the second power", and said that she was "freer" on this album than any other. Like her previous one, this album mainly concentrates on pop and R&B but borrows hip hop, gospel and even reggae ("Cruise Control") elements. Although E=MC² was well received by most critics, some of them criticized it for being "a clone of The Emancipation of Mimi". Bleu Magazine's critic said that the "facsimiles aren't terrible, they're just boring and forgettable at this point. Two weeks before the album's release, on April 2, 2008, "Touch My Body", her first single from the album, became Carey's eighteenth number-one single on the Hot 100, pushing her past Elvis Presley into second place for the most number-one singles among all artists in the rock era, according to Billboard magazine's revised methodology. Carey is now second only to The Beatles, who have twenty number-one singles. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 463,000 copies sold, making it the biggest opening week sales of her career.
In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked her at number six on the "Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists", making Carey the second most successful female artist in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.Carey has also had notable success on international charts, though not to the same degree as in the United States. Thus far, she has had two number-one singles in Britain, two in Australia, and six in Canada. Her highest-charting single in Japan peaked at number two. Carey and actor/comedian/rapper Nick Cannon met while they shot Carey's music video for her second single "Bye Bye" on a private island of the coast of Antigua. On April 30, 2008, Carey married Cannon at her private estate on Windermere Island in The Bahamas. In October 2008, Carey was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Carey had a cameo appearance in Adam Sandler's 2008 film You Don't Mess with the Zohan, playing herself.

Merry Christmas II You, motherhood, and new studio album
Following the cancellation of the remix albums, it was announced that Carey will go back to the studio to start work on her second Christmas album and her 13th studio album. Long time collaborators for the project include Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox. Dupri stated that a single will be released by the end of 2010. Johntá Austin and Randy Jackson are also contributing to the project.

Carey performing live in Magic Kingdom on December 3, 2010
During a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, in August 2010, Island Def Jam executive Matt Voss announced that the Christmas album would be out on November 2 and will include six new songs and a remix of her all time classic hit "All I Want for Christmas Is You". The album will be titled Merry Christmas II You, a follow-up to her 1994 multiplatinum album Merry Christmas. An accompanying DVD was released alongside the CD. Carey has produced and recorded tracks with the Broadway producer Marc Shaiman for the album. The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 56,000 copies, surpassing the opening week sales of Carey's previous holiday album Merry Christmas of 45,000 copies 16 years prior, and making Merry Christmas II You Carey's 16th top 10 album. The album debuted at #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, making it only the second Christmas album to top this chart, and also hit number #1 on the Holiday Albums Chart.

Carey has said that from childhood she has been influenced by R&B and soul musicians such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin. Her music contains strong influences of gospel music, she attends an Episcopal church and her favorite gospel singers include The Clark Sisters, Shirley Caesar and Edwin Hawkins. When Carey incorporated hip-hop into her sound, speculation arose that she was making an attempt to take advantage of the genre's popularity, but she told Newsweek, "People just don't understand. I grew up with this music". She has expressed appreciation for rappers such as The Sugarhill Gang, Eric B. & Rakim, the Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G. and Mobb Deep, with whom she collaborated on the single "The Roof (Back in Time)" (1998).
During Carey's career, her vocal and musical style, along with her level of success, has been compared to Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Carey and her peers, according to Garry Mulholland, are "the princesses of wails virtuoso vocalists who blend chart-oriented pop with mature MOR torch song". In She Bop II: The Definitive History of Women in Rock, Pop and Soul (2002), writer Lucy O'Brien attributed the comeback of Barbra Streisand's "old-fashioned showgirl" to Carey and Dion, and described them and Houston as "groomed, airbrushed and overblown to perfection". Carey's musical transition and use of more revealing clothing during the late 1990s were, in part, initiated to distance herself from this image, and she subsequently said that most of her early work was "schmaltzy MOR". Some have noted that unlike Houston and Dion, Carey co-writes her own songs, and the Guinness Rockopedia (1998) classified her as the "songbird supreme". Despite the fact that Carey is often credited with co-writing her material, she has also been accused of plagiarism on several occasions. Many of these cases were eventually settled out of court.

Mariah Carey possesses a five-octave vocal range, and was ranked first in a 2003 MTV and Blender magazine countdown of the 22 Greatest Voices in Music, as voted by fans and readers in an online poll. Carey said of the poll, "What it really means is voice of the MTV generation. Of course, it's an enormous compliment, but I don't feel that way about myself." She also placed second in Cove magazine's list of "The 100 Outstanding Pop Vocalists". Regarding her voice, Carey states,
"I have nodules on my vocal cords. My mother says I've had them since I was a kid. That's why I have the high register and the belting register and I can still be husky. The only thing that really affects my voice is sleep. Sometimes if I'm exhausted, I can't hit the really high notes. "My doctors showed me my vocal cords and why I can hit those high notes. It's a certain part of the cord that not many people use—the very top. My natural voice is low. I have a raspy voice. I'm really more of an alto. But my airy voice can be high if I'm rested. When I was little, I'd talk in this really high whisper, and my mom would be like, "You're being ridiculous." I thought if I can talk like that I can sing like that. So I started [she goes higher and higher and higher] just messing around with it. I'd practice and practice, and she'd be like, "You're gonna hurt yourself." I'd tell her, It doesn’t hurt/ If I were to try and belt two octaves lower than that, that would be a strain.
She also explains that it was Minnie Riperton who influenced her to use the whistle register.

Carey's vocal style and singing ability have significantly impacted popular and contemporary music. Music critic G. Brown from The Denver Post wrote, "For better or worse, Mariah Carey's five-octave range and melismatic style have influenced a generation of pop singers. According to Rolling Stone, "Her mastery of melisma, the fluttering strings of notes that decorate songs like "Vision of Love," inspired the entire American Idol vocal school, for better or worse, and virtually every other female R&B singer since the Nineties. Beyoncé Knowles credits Carey's singing and her song "Vision of Love" as influencing her to begin practicing vocal "runs" as a child, as well as helping her pursue a career as a musician. Jody Rosen of Slate Magazine wrote of Carey's influence in music saying "Carey is the most influential vocal stylist of the last two decades, the person who made rococo melismatic singing—the trick of embroidering syllables with multiple no-o-o-o-o-o-tes—the ubiquitous pop style. Rosen further commented on Carey's proof of influence saying "Exhibit A is American Idol, which has often played out as a clash of melisma-mad Mariah wannabes. And, today, nearly 20 years after Carey's debut, major labels continue to bet the farm on young stars such as the winner of Britain's X Factor show, Leona Lewis, with her Generation Next gloss on Mariah's big voice and big hair. Carey is also credited for introducing R&B and hip hop into mainstream pop culture, and for popularizing rap as a featuring act through her post-1995 songs. Sasha Frere-Jones, editor of The New Yorker commented, "It became standard for R&B/hip-hop stars like Missy Elliott and Beyoncé, to combine melodies with rapped verses. And young white pop stars—including Britney Spears, 'N Sync, and Christina Aguilera—have spent much of the past ten years making pop music that is unmistakably R&B."[215] Moreover Jones concludes that "Her idea of pairing a female songbird with the leading male m.c.s of hip-hop changed R. & B. and, eventually, all of pop. Although now anyone is free to use this idea, the success of “Mimi” suggests that it still belongs to Carey. Judnick Mayard, writer of TheFader, wrote that in regarding of R&B and hip hop collaboration, "The champion of this movement is Mariah Carey. Mayard also expressed that "To this day ODB and Mariah may still be the best and most random hip hop collaboration of all time", citing that due to the record "Fantasy", "R&B and Hip Hop were the best of step siblings. New York Magazine's editor Roger Deckker said that in regarding Carey as an influential artist in music, he commented that "Whitney Houston may have introduced melisma (the vocally acrobatic style of lending a word an extra syllable or twenty) to the charts, but it was Mariah—with her jaw-dropping range—who made it into America’s default sound. Deckker also added that "Every time you turn on American Idol, you are watching her children". According to Pier Dominguez, author of Christina Aguilera: a star is made : the unauthorized biography, Aguilera has stated how she loved listening to Whitney Houston, but it was Carey who had the biggest influence on her vocal styling. Carey's carefully choreographed image of a grown woman's image struck a chord on Aguilera. Her influence on Aguilera also grew from the fact that both were of mixed heritage. Philip Brasor, editor of "The Japan Times", expressed how Carey's vocal and melismatic style even influenced Asian singers. He wrote regarding Japanese superstar Utada Hikaru, "Utada sang what she heard, from the diaphragm and with her own take on the kind of melisma that became de rigueur in American pop after the ascendance of Mariah Carey.
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