- Also Known As:
- MC, Mirage, Mimi, The Voice
- 5' 9"
Marah Carey (born On March 27, 1970, in Huntington, New York) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Known for her five-octave vocal range, use of whistle tones, and one of the most iconic performers in music history.
As the third and youngest child of Patricia Hickey and Alfred Roy Carey, Mariah Carey had a rough childhood. The daughter of a white opera singer mother and African-American/Afro-Venezuelan engineer father, the biracial Mariah struggled to find her place in the world, and the family faced racial tensions in their home of Huntington. Mariah’s parents divorced when she was young, and her mom – as a working single mother — struggled to care for her children.
Mariah quickly discovered a talent for singing. She began training with her mother as a vocal coach. She worked as a demo singer in high school and after graduation, she relocated to New York City. She worked part-time jobs to pay the rent, completed 500 hours of beauty school, and continued to pursue a career in music. Her life would change in 1988 when she accompanied Puerto Rican freestyle singer Brenda K. Starr to a CBS record executives’ event. She handed her demo tape to Tommy Motola, the then-head of Columbia Records. Upon listening to the demo on the ride home, Tommy instructed the driver to turn around and return to the event. Mariah had already left, and a Tommy spent the next two weeks looking for her.
Another label expressed interest in Mariah, resulting in a bidding war that Columbia ultimately won. The label invested in Mariah’s first album, Mariah Carey, and it paid off. The record eventually topped the Billboard 200 for eleven consecutive weeks, thanks to an appearance at the 33 rd Grammy Awards. During the 1991 event, Mariah took home the gold for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Mariah Carey would go on to be the best-selling album in the United States for 1991, selling more than 15 million copies worldwide.
In 1991, Mariah released Emotions. The title track from her sophomore release reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first artist to have all of their first five singles – “Vision of Love,” “Love Takes Time,” “Someday,” “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” and “Emotions” – hit No. 1 at on the Hot 100. Despite this success, Mariah wouldn’t go on tour, citing stage fright and how the road life would damage her vocal cords. Some suspected that this was a cover and that she couldn’t sing like she did on her albums, so Mariah booked an appearance on MTV Unplugged. During the show, she covered The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There,” and a recording of this version became her sixth number-one single.
Mariah released Music Box in 1993, and to this day, it remains her best-seller and one of the best-selling albums of all time. The album contains “Hero,” a chart-topping song that has become one of her signatures. In 1994, Mariah released a song that would also define her entire career: “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Mariah seemingly did the impossible – write a modern Christmas song that’s good – and it’s gone on to become the 11th bestselling single in modern music.
In 1997, she took her sound more towards R&B with Daydream. The album was a massive success. It sold over 20 million copies worldwide, received positive reviews from critics, and the lead single “Fantasy” became the first single by a female artist to debut at Number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The follow-up, “One Sweet Day,” a collaboration with Boyz II Men, remained on the top of the Hot 100 for 16 consecutive weeks, a record that would be tied by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” in 2017, and broken by Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” in 2019.
The subsequent releases – 1997’s Butterfly and 1999’s Rainbow – were both successful, but her deteriorating relationship with Columbia records seemingly bled into these releases. While Butterfly contained her single “Honey,” Rainbow didn’t produce a smash hit like her prior releases. With her record contract with Columbia complete, she signed with Virgin Records in 2001. Unfortunately, Mariah’s career was about to undergo a low point. In July of that year, she made a now-infamous appearance on MTV Total Request Live, behaving in a way that left many concerned for her mental health. She checked herself into an undisclosed hospital for “extreme exhaustion,” causing Virgin Records and 20th Century Fox to delay her long-mired movie, Glitter. Both the film and the soundtrack were released in September 2001. Critics panned the movie and the soundtrack.
In 2002, she released her ninth studio album, Charmbracelet, but it failed to garnish any positive reviews. It wouldn’t be until 2005’s The Emancipation of Mimi that Mariah would get her career back on track. “We Belong Together” broke many records and reestablished herself as a music powerhouse. In the following decades, Mariah settled into the role as the diva, releasing music that would be both (moderately) commercially and critically successful. Though her career would have the occasional bumps – the 2016 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve performance, for instance – Mariah always remained the immaculate Mimi that we’ve all come to know and love.
Mariah began dating Tommy Mottola while she was recording Music Box and she married him in 1993. The two separated in 1997 and finalized their divorce in 2000. By that time, she was already in a relationship with singer Luis Miguel. They ended their three-year relationship in 2001. Mariah began dating Nick Cannon after meeting him on the set of the music video for her song “Bye Bye.” The couple tied the knots in a 2008 ceremony in The Bahamas. The couple welcomed their twins – son Moroccan and daughter Monroe – in 2011. Sadly, the two separated in 2014 and finalized the divorce by the end of the year. Despite the split, the couple remains cordial while co-parenting.
After Nick, Mariah was involved with Australian billionaire James Packer. The two were engaged at the start of 2016, but by October, they had called it all off. Around that time, Mariah began dating choreographer Bryan Tanaka. As of 2020, the couple is still together. Though Mariah denies ever being romantically involved with rapper Eminem, he has claimed they dated, and has written a number of harsh songs about the singer.