Kate's Notes

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

When most think of Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970), they hear the high pitch of her angelic pop star vocals. She is internationally-known for her melismatic singing voice, vocal range, power and use of the whistle register. Though, some critics have said that Carey's efforts to showcase her vocal talents have been at the expense of communicating true emotion through song.

Since her inauguration into the radio waves of the world, this American pop and R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, music video director and actress, debuted her talents in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola. She later wed Mottola, and under his direction, became the first recording act to have its first five singles top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart; and in 1993, she established her position as Columbia's highest-selling act with a series of sequential hit records. According to Billboard magazine she became the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States.

After Carey separated from Mottola in 1997, Carey took more control over, not only her public persona and image, but also her music. She introduced elements of hip hop into her album material and was rewarded in 2000, when the World Music Awards named Carey the best-selling female artist of all time.

However, her popularity began to decline, and she left Columbia in 2001. Then the following year, she was dropped by Virgin Records after a highly publicized physical and emotional breakdown due to poor public and critical reception of her film and soundtrack project, Glitter. In 2002, Carey signed with Island Records, and after an unsuccessful period, and some time off to reassess, she returned to the forefront of pop music in 2005. Carey has recorded the most U.S. number-one singles for any female solo artist, and she is working on reinventing and continuing her reign as an elite pop-diva.

Early Life

Born in Huntington, Long Island, New York, Carey is the third and youngest child of Patricia Hickey, a former opera singer and vocal coach of Irish American extraction, and Alfred Roy Carey (formerly Nuñez), an aeronautical engineer of Afro-Venezuelan heritage. Carey's parents divorced when she was three years old, partially due to the drama surrounding the strain of being a multiethnic family: the Careys endured racial slurs, hostility, and sometimes violence, causing the family to frequently relocate throughout many New York areas.

After the divorce, Carey had little contact with her father. Her mother worked several jobs to support the family, and Carey spent much of her time at home alone. She began singing at the age of three, using music as an outlet for the stress of her family life. Her mother took notice of Carey’s vocal abilities when the three year old began imitating her practicing Verdi's opera Rigoletto in Italian, and officially became Carey’s vocal couch.

Carey performed for the first time in public during elementary school and began writing songs by junior high. She graduated from Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, New York although she was frequently absent because of her popularity as a demo singer for local recording studios. She became renowned within the Long Island music scene, which gave her the opportunity to work with great established musicians such as Gavin Christopher and Ben Margulies: with them, she co-wrote material for her demo tape.

After moving to New York City, Carey worked numerous part-time jobs to pay the rent and completed five hundred hours of beauty school. Eventually, she became a backup singer for Puerto Rican freestyle singer Brenda K. Starr.

Carey's big break came in 1988, when Carey met Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola at a party. Starr ended up giving Mottola Carey's demo tape, which he played while driving home from the party: he was immediately impressed. He returned to the party to find Carey again, but she had left. Subsequently, 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.

Introduction to Fame: 1990–1992

Carey co-wrote the tracks on her 1990 debut album, Mariah Carey, and she continued to co-write nearly all her material for the rest of her career. Columbia enlisted Ric Wake and Rhett Lawrence to help make the album commercially viable; however, Carey inititally expressed dissatisfaction with their contributions. Nonetheless, with substantial promotion, her first album climbed the charts to number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, where it remained for several weeks. Mariah Carey produced four number-one singles and made Carey a star in the United States, though its success elsewhere was limited. Critics rated the album highly, and Carey won two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (for her debut single "Vision of Love").

Carey followed up Mariah Carey by working with Walter Afanasieff and the dance group C&C Music Factory on Emotions, her second album, which was made as a homage to Motown soul music. It was released soon after her debut album in late 1991, but was neither critically nor commercially as successful as the first; Rolling Stone described it as "more of the same, with less interesting material ... pop-psych love songs played with airless, intimidating expertise.” The title track "Emotions" made Carey the only recording act to have their first five singles reach number-one on the U.S. Hot 100 chart, though the album's follow-up singles failed to match this feat. Carey had been lobbying to produce her own songs, and beginning with Emotions, she would co-produce most of her material. "I didn't want [Emotions] to be somebody else's vision of me," she said. "There's more of me on this album." Following the minor success of Emotions, she began writing and producing for other artists, such as Penny Ford and Daryl Hall, within the coming year.

Although she had occasionally performed live, stage fright had prevented Carey from embarking on any major tours. Therefore, many listening to Carey’s albums thought that the vocals on the tracks were electronically enhanced. However, in 1992, Carey was able to squelch those rumors when she preformed on MTV Unplugged and exhibited her ability to reproduce her vocal style outside a studio setting. In addition to acoustic versions of some of her earlier songs, Carey premiered a cover of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" with back-up singer Trey Lorenz. Released as a single, the duet reached number one in the U.S. and led to a record deal for Lorenz, whose debut album Carey co-produced. Because of strong ratings for the MTV Unplugged television special, the concert's set list was released on the EP MTV Unplugged, which Entertainment Weekly called "the strongest, most genuinely musical record she has ever made.”

International Accreditation: 1993–1996

Carey and Tommy Mottola became romantically involved during the making of her debut album, and in June 1993 they were married, when Carey was only 23.

Under the consultation of Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Cary’s next album Music Box, was released later that year and became Carey's most successful worldwide. It yielded her first UK Singles Chart number-one, a cover of Badfinger's "Without You,” as well as the U.S. number-ones "Dreamlover" and "Hero." Billboard magazine proclaimed it as "heart-piercing ... easily the most elemental of Carey's releases, her vocal eurythmics in natural sync with the songs," but TIME magazine lamented Carey's attempt at a mellower work: "[Music Box] seems perfunctory and almost passionless ... Carey could be a pop-soul great; instead she has once again settled for Salieri-like mediocrity". When most critics slated her subsequent U.S. Music Box Tour, Carey said, "As soon as you have a big success, a lot of people don't like that. There's nothing I can do about it. All I can do is make music I believe in.”

After a successful duet with Luther Vandross on a cover of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross' "Endless Love" in late 1994, Carey released the holiday album Merry Christmas. It contained cover material and original compositions such as "All I Want for Christmas Is You", which became Carey's biggest single in Japan and in subsequent years emerged as one of her most perennially popular songs on North American radio during the holidays. Critical reception of Merry Christmas was mixed, with All Music Guide calling it an "otherwise vanilla set ... pretensions to high opera on 'O Holy Night' and a horrid danceclub [sic] take on 'Joy to the World.’” It became the most successful Christmas album of all time.

In 1995, Columbia released Carey's next album, Daydream, which combined the pop sensibilities of Music Box with downbeat R&B and hip hop influences. She wanted to combine for rap elements to her music, and she released a remix of "Fantasy," its first single, featuring the late rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard. Carey said that Columbia reacted negatively to her intentions for the album: "Everybody was like 'What, are you crazy?'. They're very nervous about breaking the formula." It became her biggest-selling album in the U.S. and its singles achieved similar success: "Fantasy" became the second single to debut at number-one in the U.S. and topped the Canadian Singles Chart for twelve weeks, "One Sweet Day" (a duet with Boyz II Men) spent a still-record sixteen weeks at number one in the U.S., and "Always Be My Baby" (co-produced by Jermaine Dupri) led the Hot 100's 1996 year-end airplay chart.

Daydream generated career-best reviews for Carey: The New York Times named it one of 1995's best albums and the Times wrote that its "best cuts bring pop candy-making to a new peak of textural refinement ... Carey's songwriting has taken a leap forward, becoming more relaxed, sexier and less reliant on thudding clichés.” The short but profitable Daydream World Tour augmented sales of the album, which received six Grammy Award nominations.

Mottola Separation from Image Deviation: 1997–2000

Carey and Mottola separated in 1996. 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 said was very controlling of her image and her music style. They officially announced their separation in 1997, and their divorce became final the following year. Carey hired a new attorney and manager soon after the separation, as well as an independent publicist. She became a major songwriter and producer for other artists during this period, contributing to the debut albums of Allure and 7 Mile through her short-lived Crave Records imprint.

Carey's next album, Butterfly (1997), yielded the number-one single "Honey", the lyrics and music video for which presented a more overt sexual image and a striking deviation from the wholesome persona she had previously exhibited. She stated that Butterfly marked the point that she attained full creative control over her music, which continued to move in an R&B/hip hop direction with material co-written and co-produced by rappers such as Sean "Puffy" Combs and Missy Elliott; though she also said “I don't think 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 was going to be a rapper. Personally, this album is about doing whatever the hell I wanted to do."

Critics generally praised the album: LAUNCHcast said Butterfly "pushes the envelope," which "may prove disconcerting to more conservative fans" but was also praised as "a welcome change". The Los Angeles Times wrote: "[Butterfly] is easily the most personal, confessional-sounding record she's ever done ... Carey-bashing just might become a thing of the past." The album was an overall commercial success, and "My All" (her thirteenth Hot 100 number-one) gave her the record for the most U.S. number-ones by a female artist.

Towards the turn of the millennium, Carey began developing a film project called Glitter, and she wrote songs for the films Men in Black (1997) with Will Smith and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (2000), with Jim Carey.

During the production of Butterfly, Carey became romantically involved with New York Yankees baseball player Derek Jeter. Their relationship ended in 1998, with both parties citing media interference as the main reason for the split. That year saw the release of #1's, a collection of her U.S. number-one singles up to that point. Carey said she recorded new material for the album as a way of rewarding her fans, and included "When You Believe," an Academy Award-winning duet with Whitney Houston from the soundtrack to The Prince of Egypt (1998). #1's sold above expectations, but a review in NME labeled Carey "a purveyor of saccharine bilge like 'Hero', whose message seems wholesome enough: that if you vacate your mind of all intelligent thought, flutter your eyelashes and wish hard, sweet babies and honey will follow." Also that year she appeared on the first televised VH1 Divas benefit concert program, though her alleged prima donna behavior had already led many to consider her a diva. By the following year, she had entered a relationship with singer Luis Miguel.

Rainbow, Carey's sixth studio album, was released in 1999. It comprised more R&B/hip hop-oriented songs, many of them co-created with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. "Heartbreaker" and "Thank God I Found You" (the former featuring Jay-Z, the latter featuring Joe and boy-band 98 Degrees) reached number one in the U.S., and the success of the former made Carey the only act to have a number-one single in each year of the 1990s. A cover of Phil Collins's "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" went to number one in the UK after Carey re-recorded it with boy band Westlife. Media reception of Rainbow was generally enthusiastic, with the Sunday Herald saying the album "sees her impressively tottering between soul ballads and collaborations with R&B heavyweights like Snoop Doggy Dogg, Usher ... It's a polished collection of pop-soul." VIBE magazine expressed similar sentiments, writing, "She pulls out all stops...Rainbow will garner even more adoration,” but despite this it became Carey's lowest-selling album up to that point, and there was a recurring criticism that the tracks were too alike. When the double A-side "Crybaby"/"Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" became her first single to peak outside the top twenty, Carey accused Sony of under promoting it: "The political situation in my professional career is not positive ... I'm getting a lot of negative feedback from certain corporate people", she wrote on her official website.

Professional Turmoil, Emotional Breakdown: 2001–2004

After receiving Billboard's "Artist of the Decade" Award and the World Music Award for "Best-Selling Female Artist of the Millennium,” Carey parted from Columbia and signed a contract with EMI's Virgin Records worth a reported US$80 million. She often stated that Columbia had regarded her as a commodity, with her separation from Mottola exacerbating her relations with label executives.

Just a few months later, in July 2001, it was widely reported that Carey had suffered a physical and emotional breakdown. She had left messages on her website complaining of being overworked, and her relationship with Luis Miguel was ending. I n an interview the following year, she said, "I was with people who didn't really know me, and I had no personal assistant. I'd be doing interviews all day long, getting two hours of sleep a night, if that."

During an appearance on MTV's "Total Request Live," Carey handed out popsicles to the audience and began what was later described as a "strip tease," removing a large, baggy t-shirt to reveal a halter top and Daisy Dukes. By the month's end, she had checked into a hospital, and her publicist announced that she would be taking a break from public appearances.

In addition to her public nervous breakdown, critics panned her project movie Glitter, which was Carey's much delayed semi-autobiographical film – it was also a box office failure. The album Glitter, inspired by the music of the 1980s, generated her worst showing on the U.S. chart in her career. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dismissed it as "an absolute mess that'll go down as an annoying blemish on a career that, while not always critically heralded, was at least nearly consistently successful,” while Blender magazine scathingly wrote, "After years of trading her signature flourishes for a radio-ready purr, [Carey]'s left with almost no presence at all."

"Loverboy" reached number two on the Hot 100 thanks to a price cut, but the album's follow-up singles failed to chart.

Columbia released the low-charting album Greatest Hits shortly after the failure of Glitter, and in early 2002 Virgin bought out Carey's contract for $28 million, creating further negative publicity. Carey said her time at Virgin had been "a complete and total stress-fest ... I made a total snap decision which was based on money, and I never make decisions based on money. I learned a big lesson from that." Later that year, she signed a $20 million contract with Island Records and launched the record label MonarC. To add further to Carey's emotional burdens, her father, with whom she had had little contact since childhood, died of cancer that year.

Following a well-received supporting role in the 2002 film, WiseGirls, Carey released the album Charmbracelet, which she said marked "a new lease on life" for her. Following a train of negative reviews and publicity, sales of Charmbracelet were moderate, and the quality of Carey's vocals came under severe criticism. The Boston Globe declared the album as "the worst of her career, revealing a voice no longer capable of either gravity-defying gymnastics or soft coos,” and Rolling Stone commented: "Carey needs bold songs that help her use the power and range for which she is famous. Charmbracelet is like a stream of watercolors that bleed into a puddle of brown." Singles such as "Through the Rain" failed on the charts and with pop radio, whose playlists had become less open to maturing "diva" stylists such as Carey, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.

"I Know What You Want", a 2003 Busta Rhymes single on which Carey guest-starred, fared considerably better and reached the top five in the U.S. Columbia later included it on the remix collection The Remixes, Carey's lowest-selling album. That year, she embarked on the Charmbracelet World Tour and was awarded the World Music Chopard Diamond Award for selling over 100 million albums worldwide. She was featured on rapper Jadakiss' 2004 single "U Make Me Wanna", which reached the top ten on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart.

Return to the Top-Diva: 2005—current

Carey's ninth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi, was released in 2005 and contained contributions from producers such as The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo), 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 the year's best-selling album in the U.S., won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album and received some of Carey's most favorable reviews in some time; The Guardian defined it as "cool, focused and urban ... [some of] the first Mariah Carey tunes in years I wouldn't have to be paid to listen to again.” The second single, "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) and was the biggest hit of 2005 in the U.S., while "Shake It Off" made Carey the only female artist to occupy the Hot 100's top two positions simultaneously. "Don't Forget About Us" became her seventeenth number-one in the U.S., tying her with Elvis Presley for the most number-ones by a solo act according to Billboard magazine's revised methodology (their statistician Joel Whitburn still credits Presley with an eighteenth). By this count Carey is behind only The Beatles, who have twenty number-ones.

Carey began a concert tour, The Adventures of Mimi Tour, in mid-2006.

Carey appeared on the cover of the March 2007 edition of Playboy magazine on a non-nude photo session. "Don't Forget About Us" was nominated in two categories at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards: Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance but both were awarded to Mary J. Blige's “Be Without You.”

In 2007 Carey received a "recording star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

According to a backstage interview with Entertainment Tonight, she has already begun to work on her next studio album, which is expected for release sometime during early 2007. According to a November 2006 Reuters report, Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris has stated that Carey will release two albums in 2007.

Vocal Inspirations and Comparisons

Carey has said that from childhood she was stimulated by R&B and soul musicians such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Stevie Wonder. Her music contains strong influences of gospel music, and her favorite gospel singers include The Clark Sisters (Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark, Jacky Clark Chisholm, Dorinda Clark Cole, and Karen Clark Sheard), Shirley Caesar and Edwin Hawkins.

As Carey began to imbue her sound with hip hop, 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 Roof (Back in Time)" (1997).

Carey's debut album received criticism for being too similar in style to the work of Whitney Houston, and throughout her career, her vocal and musical style, along with her level of success, has been compared to 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 her 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 had been "schmaltzy MOR." Some have noted that unlike Houston and Dion, Carey co-writes all of her own songs, and the "Guinness Rockopedia" (1998) classified her as the "songbird supreme."

Love is the subject of the majority of Carey's lyrics, although she has also written about themes such as racism, death, world hunger, and spirituality. She has said that much of her work is partly autobiographical, but TIME magazine wrote: "If only Mariah Carey's music had the drama of her life. Her songs are often sugary and artificial—NutraSweet soul. But her life has passion and conflict."

Carey's output makes great use of electronic instruments such as drum machines, keyboards and synthesizers. Many of her songs contain piano music, and she was given piano lessons when she was six years old. Carey said that she cannot read sheet music and prefers to collaborate with a pianist when composing her material, but feels that it is easier to experiment with faster and less conventional melodies and chord progressions using this technique. Some of her arrangements have been inspired by the work of musicians such as Stevie Wonder, a soul pianist whom Carey once referred to as "the genius of the [20th] century,” but she has said, "My voice is my instrument; it always has been."

Carey began commissioning remixes of her material early in her career and helped spearhead the practice of recording entirely new vocals for remixes. Disc jockey David Morales has collaborated with Carey several times, starting with "Dreamlover" (1993), which popularized the tradition of remixing pop songs into house records and which Slant magazine named one of the greatest dance songs of all time. From "Fantasy" (1995) onward, she enlisted both hip hop and house producers to re-imagine her album compositions. Entertainment Weekly included two remixes of "Fantasy" on a list of Carey's greatest recordings compiled in 2005: a National Dance Music Award-winning remix produced by Morales, and a Sean Combs production featuring rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard. The latter has been credited with initiating the pop/hip hop collaboration trend that has continued into the 2000s through artists such as Ashanti and Beyoncé Knowles. Combs said that Carey "knows the importance of mixes, so you feel like you're with an artist who appreciates your work—an artist who wants to come up with something with you.” She continues to consult on remixes by producers such as David Morales, Jermaine Dupri, Junior Vasquez and DJ Clue, and guest performers contribute frequently to them. The popularity in U.S. nightclubs of the dance remixes, which often sound radically different from their album counterparts, has been known to eclipse the chart success of the original songs.

Vocal Ability

Carey is said to be able to cover all the notes from the alto vocal range leading to those of a coloratura soprano, and her vocal trademark is her ability to sing in the whistle register. She has cited Minnie Riperton as the greatest influence on her singing technique, and from a very early age she attempted to emulate Riperton's high notes, to increasing degrees of success as her vocal range expanded. According to most sources, she has a five-octave vocal range, though some credit her with seven or eight octaves.

In 2003, her voice was voted the greatest in music in MTV and Blender magazine's countdown of the 22 Greatest Voices in Music. 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."

Acting, Modeling, Spokemanship

Carey began to take professional acting lessons in 1997, and within the coming year, she was auditioning for film roles. She made her debut as an opera singer in the romantic comedy The Bachelor (1999) starring Chris O'Donnell and Renée Zellweger, and CNN derisively referred to her casting as a talentless diva as "letter-perfect ... the "can't act" part informs Carey's entire performance".

Carey's first starring role was in the embarrassingly Glitter (2001), in which she played a struggling musician in the 1980s who breaks into the music industry after meeting a disc jockey (Max Beesley). While Roger Ebert said "[Carey]'s acting ranges from dutiful flirtatiousness to intense sincerity,” most critics panned it: The Village Voice said that "When [Carey] tries for an emotion—any emotion—she looks as if she's lost her car keys." Glitter was a box office failure, and Carey earned a Razzie Award for her role. She later said that the film "started out as a concept with substance, but it ended up being geared to 10-year-olds. It lost a lot of grit ... I kind of got in over my head." The film has consistently been ranked as one of the worst of all time in user voting at the Internet Movie Database.

Carey, Mira Sorvino and Melora Walters co-starred as waitresses at a mobster-operated restaurant in the independent film WiseGirls (2002), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival but went straight to cable in the U.S. Critics commended Carey for her efforts.

Carey was one of several musicians who appeared in the independently produced Damon Dash films Death of a Dynasty (2003) and State Property 2 (2005), while her television work has been limited to a January 2002 episode of Ally McBeal.

In 2006, Carey joined the cast of the indie film Tennessee (2007), taking the role of a waitress who travels with her two brothers to find their long-lost father.

Carey has participated in endorsements for Intel Centrino personal computers.

In early 2006 she launched a jewelry and accessories line for teenagers, "Glamorized", in American Claire's and Icing stores. Later that year it was announced she had signed a licensing deal with the cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden to release a fragrance in 2007. During this period, as part of a partnership with Pepsi and Motorola, Carey recorded and promoted a series of exclusive ringtones such as "Time of Your Life.”

In October of 2006, Lee Daniels Entertainment released information about the upcoming film Tennessee which will star Carey. Shooting is set to begin Spring of 2007. The Synopsis involves “Brothers Carter (James D’Arcy) and Ellis Armstrong (Ethan Peck) have only each other and their rundown trailer home in the mountains outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. But when their lonely lives are shattered by misfortune, their only hope is to return home to Tennessee and the father they once fled. In journeying through the Southwest, the brothers bond with determined waitress Krystal (Mariah Carey) and reconnect with their past.”
In early 2007, Carey was hired by Italian fashion label, Pinko, as the new face of its London-based brand. She said, “I immediately became a huge fan of the brand, and I bought almost everything in the store. So as you can imagine, when I was approached about doing the Pinko campaign I was beyond excited. The clothes are so stylish and fun, and I’m really looking forward to our new venture together.”

According to Forbes, Carey is the sixth richest woman in entertainment, with an estimated net worth of US$225 million.

Recent Public Scrutiny and Controversy

In December 2006, Carey embarked on a highly publized fued with another Carey: Mary Cary the porn star. Mariah Carey tried to block her from trade marking her name because their names are so similar. Mary recently put in a trademark application for her name and a few weeks later she received a letter from Mariah Carey’s lawyers threatening legal action if she didn’t withdraw her application.

In January of 2007, Carey revealed her Diva-esque habits, saying that she basically sleeps in a steam room, swearing that she needs to sleep with dozens of humidifiers to protect her voice: “Literally, I’ll have twenty humidifiers around the bed. Basically, it’s like sleeping in a steam room. The bed is all terry-cloth, the ceiling is pitched so the water can’t fall on my head, and it drips down to my side, and the TV is behind glass.”

Over the years since Marshall Mathers (Eminem) has gained notoriety, he has named Carey frequently in his songs, and claimed that the two had a short lived tumultuous relationship after the release of his first album. Carey finally responded to his repetive references saying that she didn’t know why Eminem was so obsessed with the Divs: “Something is clearly askew with him and I’m not quite sure what it is. I just heard something else he recently said about me. I’m curious as to why he’s so obsessed with me. I never got an apology letter, by the way. … Then, again, I wasn’t exactly searching my mailbox for it.”

Charity Work and Activism

Carey is a philanthropist who has donated time and money to organizations such as the Fresh Air Fund. She became associated with the Fund in the early 1990s, and is the co-founder of a camp located in Fishkill, New York that enables inner-city youth to embrace the arts and introduces them to career opportunities. The camp was called Camp Mariah "for her generous support and dedication to Fresh Air children," and she received a Congressional Horizon Award for her youth-related charity work.

She is well-known nationally for her work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, and in November 2006 she was awarded the Foundation's Wish Idol for her "extraordinary generosity and her many wish granting achievements.”

Carey has volunteered for the New York City Police Athletic League and contributed to the obstetrics department of New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell Medical Center. A percentage of the sales of MTV Unplugged was donated to various other charities. In January 2007 it was reported Carey had volunteered to teach music production at a school Oprah Winfrey opened in South Africa.

One of Carey's most high-profile benefit concert appearances was on VH1's 1998 Divas Live special, where she performed alongside other female singers in support of the Save the Music Foundation. The concert was a ratings success, and Carey participated in the 2000 special. She appeared at the America: A Tribute to Heroes nationally televised fundraiser in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and in December 2001 she performed before peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. Carey hosted the CBS television special At Home for the Holidays, which documented real-life stories of adopted children and foster families, and she has worked with the New York City Administration for Children's Services. In 2005 Carey performed for Live 8 in London and at the Hurricane Katrina relief telethon Shelter from the Storm.


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