About Mariah Carey
The morning after a rough performance at a 2016 New Year’s Eve show, Mariah Carey took to social media to offer her recap: “S**t happens.” What else could she say? What else did she need to say? Thirty-plus years in the business, more No. 1 singles than any solo artist in history (and second overall only to The Beatles), more writing and production credits on those singles than any other female composer—Carey is one of the few artists who might legitimately be beyond apology, a diva incarnate whose songs bridge the confessional intimacy of singer-songwriters with the mass appeal of pop. Yeah, she had some knocks along the way. Everyone does. But few take them in stride, let alone with such style.
Born in Long Island in 1969 or 1970 (she once quipped that she doesn’t acknowledge time), Carey grew up on the classics: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight. She moved to New York City after high school, cobbling together jobs while working on demos with then-collaborator Ben Margulies at the back of Margulies’ father’s cabinet factory. Her biggest tracks—from the early, dance- and gospel-influenced “Someday” and “Dreamlover” to the club leanings of “Fantasy” and “Honey” and ballads such as “Forever” and “Always Be My Baby”—stand like mile markers in the culture, capturing a feeling of sweetness and euphoria that straddles pop, hip-hop, and R&B without slotting neatly into any of them. Meanwhile, her melismatic style—a technique that entails singing a single syllable with a long run of notes—redefined our sense of what pop vocals sound like. Mimi, The Elusive Chanteuse, The Imperfect Angel...or maybe just Mariah.
BORNMarch 27, 1970