Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970 in Huntington, Long Island, New York) is an American R&B 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 established her position as Columbia's highest-selling act. According to Billboard magazine, she was the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States.
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 make the album more commercially viable. 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, and Carey won Grammys for Best New Artist, and—for her debut single, "Vision of Love"—Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Carey conceived Emotions, her second album, as an homage to Motown soul music (seeMotown Sound), and she worked with Walter Afanasieff and Clivillés & Cole (from the dancegroup C&C Music Factory) on the record. It was released soon after her debut album—in late 1991—but was neither critically nor commercially as successful; Rolling Stone described it as "more of the same, with less interesting material. The title track "Emotions" made Carey the only recording act whose first five singles have reached number one on the U.S. Hot 100 chart, although 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 has co-produced 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."
Although Carey performed live occasionally, stage fright prevented her from embarking on a major tour. Her first widely seen appearance was featured on the television show MTV Unplugged in 1992, and she remarked that she felt her performance that night proved her vocal abilities were not, as some had previously speculated, simulated with studio equipment. Alongside acoustic versions of some of her earlier songs, Carey premiered a cover of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" with her back-up singer Trey Lorenz. The duet was released as a single, reached number one in the U.S., and led to a record deal for Lorenz, whose debut album Carey later co-produced.
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 theBillboard 200 for a staggering 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".
Carey was named the best-selling female pop artist of the millennium at the 2000 World Music Awards. She has the most number-one singles for a solo artist in the United States (eighteen; second artist overall behind The Beatles), where, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, she is one of the best-selling female artists and sixteenth overall recording artist. In addition to her commercial accomplishments, Carey has earned five Grammy Awards, and is well-known for her vocal range, power, melismatic style, and use of the whistle register. She is ranked as the best-selling female artist of the U.S. Nielsen SoundScan era (third best-selling artist overall),with sales of over 62.5 million albums in the U.S. and has sold over 200 million albums worldwide.
In 1995, Columbia released Carey's fifth album, Daydream, which combined the pop sensibilities of Music Box with downbeat R&B and hip hop influences. A remix of "Fantasy," its first single, featured 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 record-holding sixteen weeks at number one in the U.S.; and "Always Be My Baby" (co-produced by Jermaine Dupri) was the most successful record on U.S. radio in 1996, according to Billboard magazine.
In 1998 Columbia released the album #1's, a collection of Carey's U.S. number-one singles alongside new material, which she said was a way of rewarding her fans. The song "When You Believe," a duet with Whitney Houston, was recorded for the soundtrack of The Prince of Egypt (1998) and won an Academy Award and #1's sold above expectation.
"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.
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. The Emancipation of Mimi became 2005's best-selling album in the U.S., and The Guardian reviewer 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 album earned Carey 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, making Carey the first female lead vocalist to have simultaneously held the Hot 100's top two positions.
"Obsessed" debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. [sorry no YouTube, embedding disabled by request]. This marked Carey's fortieth entry on the Hot 100, making her just the eighth woman in the chart's history to make 40 or more appearances. It is also her highest Hot 100 debut since 1998. The second official single will be "I Want to Know What Love Is". On July 7th, 2009, Carey, alongside Trey Lorenz, performed at the memorial for Michael Jackson, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. She performed what was described as an emotional performance of the Jackson 5 song "I'll Be There", a song which she had previously covered as a single with Lorenz in 1992. [wikipedia]