Mariah Carey Interview
Okay, so I've
got an exclusive interview with one of Warner's biggest singing
sensations and I'm half-an-hour late. Arghh!
The taxi pulls
up to the curb and I see Mariah heading for her stretch limo (painted
white and matching her outfit and kitty). I scream out her name
and two of the biggest goons I've ever seen reached into their
coats like Elliot Ness on a bad day.
it's me. Cristy from Cupcake. Sorry I'm so late but I just got
my period and had to take care of business."
statement the goons dropped the attitude (boys always do when
you mention the "P" word). Before I could say "motrin"
we were sitting in a seriously fresh ride sipping lemonade and
bumpin' some tunes. It was all good 'cause the goons sat in front
and drove while me and Mariah chilled in the back. It was pretty
hot but Mariah said she couldn't open the windows 'cause people
start trippin' on her, so we popped the sunroof and started the
really goin' on with Mariah Carey? You've got it all, girl. Money,
cars, a good man, and an incredible career. Is there anything
you haven't achieved?
there so much I still want to do. Sometimes I feel like all this
money is just holding me back from what's really important, the
children. When I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all
over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean, I'd love to be skinny
like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.
Cindy: So is Mariah saying that having children is definitely
in her future?
I just wish that kids all over could have a better life. You know?
goin' on at home, Mariah? What's it like living in a castle of
a house in Bedford, NY?
I feel like it's a prison.
do you mean?
don't know (Mariah pauses and begins looking out of her limo window.).
I don't want to talk about it. Let's talk about my new single.
one with Boys to Men or the one with ODB?
me tell you something, girl. Recording that song with ODB was
painful. I swear, when he grabbed the mic and started rhymin'
and spittin'........... ooooooooooohhhhh, girl! I wanted to talk
to him so bad, but I'm a married woman, you know?
you scandalous. You can't be lustin' after ODB when you're married
to the president of both your record labels.
not even trippin' like that, though. I love my husband. He's too
good to me.
Interview to Mariah Carey
to the day after the attacks on America, singer Mariah Carey says
we are all living in a new world. She says, “We all have
to be just really aware of what we can and can't do."
Sitting down exclusively with "Extra," the songbird
shares her fears as the U.S. plunges deeper into war. Carey cancelled
her international promotional tour for "Glitter" for
safety reasons and says, for now, she's focusing on the home front.
“My apartment is pretty close to Ground Zero, and the police
commissioner took me on a tour. It was the most devastating thing
I’ve ever seen in my life."
the tragedy truly hit close to home. Carey was born and raised
in New York, and she has faith the people here can rebuild their
lives. Carey says, “I know New York is going to recover
from this. I know the world is gonna recover from what's gone
on, but just growing up in New York, for me, it's going to take
idol to millions of fans, says it was during her tour of the ruins
that she met America’s real heroes. Carey also spent time
at a family center, offering support to families who lost loved
ones. She says, “All the stories, they're all heartbreaking,
but it's nice to see how people have bonded together to find relief."
efforts came in a song. She performed her hit ballad "Hero"
at last month's celebrity telethon, which to date has raised more
than 150-million dollars, but Mariah doesn't want credit for her
efforts. She says this time she is just one voice in a chorus
trying to help the country heal.
“I'm an American and I’m here just trying to get by
like everybody else and do my part to help."
Jennifer Vineyard, John Norris and Jasmine Dotiwala
is used to being asked lots of questions — about her striptease
on "TRL," her 2001 hospitalization for "exhaustion,"
her less-is-more approach to clothing, not to mention her divorce
from one of music's biggest moguls.
But the woman
with pop music's biggest voice is raising questions on her forthcoming
album, The Emancipation of Mimi, which comes out April 12. Like:
Who exactly is this Mimi character? Why does she need to be emancipated,
and from what? And — most significantly — can this
album help her stage a post-breakdown, post-Glitter, comeback?
The way her last album, Charmbracelet, was supposed to, but didn't?
Actually, Carey is wondering about a lot of these things herself.
She stops this interview to get a status check, to see if someone
will tell her, considering everything, if she's doing OK. "After
all these years of interviewing different celebrities, and seeing
people at different stages of their careers, do you see the ones
that, really, fame kind of screws with them?" she asks. "Am
I one of the better people?"
assured that she is, Mariah goes on to say that she's more comfortable
now about her opinions and her talent. Because, of course, she
is Mimi: It was a childhood nickname that she now employs to put
some distance between Mariah the person and Mariah the celebrity.
And she says she does feel emancipated, finally shaking free the
shackles that made her the songbird in ex-husband Tommy Mottola's
gilded cage for so long. "I wasn't allowed to say much 10
years ago," she says. "I was like, 'Yes, new album,
singing, thank you.' "
A lot has
happened since she walked down the aisle with Mottola in 1993
— after dating him while he was still married to his wife
of 20 years — and signing to his record label when he was
the CEO of Sony Entertainment. Her years with Mottola made her
career — transforming her from an obscure backup singer
into a superstar, starting with her "Vision of Love"
single in 1990 — but she says his controlling "guidance"
became damaging to her psyche. She even jokingly referred to their
mansion in Bedford, New York, as "Sing Sing" —
not only in reference to the prison, but because that was all
she was supposed to do.
eight years since they split up, and Carey, now 35, says it's
taken her that long to come into her own. Thus, she's able to
don her wedding gown for the video for her next single, "We
Belong Together" — a sequel of sorts to current clip
"It's Like That," in which, interestingly, a wealthy
older man, played by Eric Roberts, spies on her every move. She
says the old $25,000 gown has no sentimental value for her anymore.
I want to go buy an off-the-rack wedding dress [for the video]
when I have a freaking Vera Wang with a 20-foot train sitting
in storage?" Carey asks. "Why not? I mean, come on —
the dress is the least abusive part of the whole thing. If I had
worn the dress every day of my life in that relationship, it would
have been burned in the incinerator long ago. But the dress was
worn for a moment. And that moment was not an unhappy experience.
It was the rest of the relationship that was the problem."
split, Carey stayed on Mottola's label until 2000 — which
she admits might have been a mistake. She doesn't blame her ex-husband
outright for the fact that "I'm Real" by Jennifer Lopez
— another singer Mottola played Svengali to — ended
up sounding an awful lot like two songs destined for Glitter ("Loverboy"
and "If We"), instead referring to any resemblance between
the songs as "tomfoolery." And as for any bad feelings
between her and Lopez, Carey says, "I don't even know her.
We kind of just said hello once or twice."
interview at New York's Hot 97 in early March, Funkmaster Flex
asked Carey about the rumors that her manager, Benny Medina —
who formerly managed Lopez — was about to take J. Lo on
as a client again. Flex implied a conspiracy. "This isn't
the first time that someone else has been in both camps,"
he said. "I heard one time, there was a producer [either
Mottola, or possibly Irv Gotti] that's in her camp right now,
but was heavily hanging out in your sessions."
to make that label change," she says now. "The fighting
I had to do, the constant battle with Sony, that whole thing,
that put me in a different place — even emotionally. I was
constantly on guard, as opposed to being really more true to who
I am. You can fight against people, and fight to the death, but
I can't control the world."
marks the first time Carey feels free to say what she wants, to
sing the way she wants, even to dress the way she wants. Even
though 2002's Charmbracelet was supposed to be the album that
freed her from the bad vibes of her disastrous 2001 album/film
Glitter and her subsequent much-publicized meltdown, she still
felt a need to conform to what she thought the public and her
advisors wanted from her.
was like, 'She needs to do those middle-of-the-road ballads, she
needs to get back to that,' " she says. So she did, and the
resulting album wound up selling more than a million copies in
the U.S. alone. An impressive number to be sure, but not when
compared with her multiplatinum past sales history — and
the album failed to counterbalance the bad press from what she
calls the "supposed breakdown."
At that point,
she says, "I really started second-guessing myself. And then
I realized, like, all right, I have to go with my gut. Because
everybody's got an opinion, and so many people's opinions about
me are like polar opposites. They're like, 'We love it when she
does ballads, make her do the ballads.' Then they're like, 'We
want to hear a hip-hop record.' 'Why is she dressing like this?
She should show less skin.' 'She should show more.' You know what
I mean? I'm like, 'Stay in your lane, and I'll figure it out.'
She says she
faced similar problems in the wake of her meltdown. "Every
interview became a '20/20' moment. Everybody was like, 'Be vulnerable,'
you know? And it's like, can I just be me? Because honestly, this
whole thing" — the breakdown — "was blown
out of proportion, and I just would love to not even talk about
it. But that wasn't possible."
So, she reverted
to an earlier version of herself, one who wasn't concerned about
the public or its expectations. On Emancipation, she says, "I
felt I did the album I wanted to do." She moves beyond her
recent save-the-pipes moves of cooing or breathing songs, and
really sings. There are collaborations with Snoop Dogg ("Say
Somethin' "), Jermaine Dupri ("Get Your Number"),
Twista (the call-and-response "One and Only") and Nelly
("To the Floor"). There are innocent love songs and
spiritual ballads ("We Belong Together," "Fly Like
a Bird"). There are party songs ("It's Like That"),
let's-get-busy songs ("Get Your Number," "Stay
the Night"), send-off songs ("Shake it Off"), and
songs of lost love, too ("Circles"). Being emancipated
means you can go anywhere you want.
The album, she says, "is not about making the older executives
happy by making a bring-down-the-house, tearjerker ballad, or
[something] steeped in the media dramas of my life. What I tried
to do was keep the sessions very sparse, underproduced, like in
'70s soul music, when all the musicians were in there at once,
feeding off each other — me showing them vocally where I'm
going and giving them the vibe in which to take it all musically.
[new Island/Def Jam label chief] L.A. Reid heard that people call
me Mimi," she continues, "he said, 'I feel your spirit
on this record. You should use that name in the title, because
that's the fun side of you that people don't get to see —
the side that can laugh at the diva jokes, laugh at the breakdown
jokes, laugh at whatever they want to say about you and just live
life and enjoy it.'
kind of just living in this moment right now, and just enjoying
it. It's a happy space that I'm in."
adds, "To say 'The Emancipation of Mariah Carey' would've
been so obnoxious."
The singer's new disc shows a more personal side. She talks about
making statements, watching American Idol, and working for Jay-Z.
By C. Bottomley
is re-entering normal. After her 2001 Glitter hiccup and its attendant
breakdown, the Long Island girl with the eight-octave range returns
with the forthcoming
VH1: I told
a friend I was interviewing you and he said, "Yeah, Mariah
Carey. Where's she been?"
Well, here I am.
have you been?
on tour and I've been making an album for a year and a half, which
is the longest it's ever taken me to make an album, with the exception
of my first record. This is like such a labor of love for me.
VH1: Why did
it take so long?
I did 19 or
20 songs. I would do something and love it, and I come up with
different ideas of people to collaborate with. Accidents would
happen that would be like incredible moments. I was working with
the Neptunes and I ended up doing a collaboration with Snoop and
then with Nelly because we were all doing our records at the same
time. That was just a great moment where it wasn't like you couldn't
plan it or even ask for it.
you ever gotten writer's block?
You know what?
I don't know that I've had writer's block, because usually when
I sit down with somebody - whether I start singing a piano player
riffs to play or they go into a chord progression and I start
singing melodies on top - we can create something. That's my outlet
and it always has been. But I feel like I'm more prolific at this
moment than maybe ever.
VH1: So what
are you being emancipated from?
I went on
a long tangent about what the title meant when the name of the
album got leaked, because everybody was like "Mimi? What
does that mean?" Nobody understood.
unusual because your titles are usually one definitive word.
everybody started having their issues about that.
you get up to four words, suddenly a statement is being made.
what it is: Nobody calls me Mariah except my mother and she doesn't
even really call me that. Me and my friends have a million nicknames
that we use for each other, but Mimi was a really personal nickname
that only people I really love and care about call me. When I
proposed the concept of the title to L.A. Reid, the CEO of Island
Def Jam, he was like, "I love that, because it's the side
of you that I'm hearing in this album, a free-spirited person."
the "It's Like That" video going to be like?
I don't know
and neither do you! [Laughs] That's just a saying, I'm not being
being directed by Brett Ratner, so I'm guessing explosions, boats
flipping over and a Chris Tucker cameo.
Well, we would
love that. Brett Ratner and I did the "Heartbreaker"
video together, which is one of the favorite videos that I've
ever done. The best thing about it was that it had a sense of
humor. That's the thing that Brett brings to the table. He knows
me as a person, so he knows that fun side of me, which is what
this whole album and project is about.
VH1: Do you
ever catch one of your old videos and go, "What was I thinking?"
I love "Honey," or the video for the song I did with
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, "Breakdown" or "Heartbreaker."
But there were ones that everybody was always like, "You're
about your voice and who really cares about the video?" Which
was okay and I'm glad they thought that way, but it's nice to
make fun videos, too.
on American Idol is trying to be the next Mariah Carey. Has the
show vindicated you as a singer?
Are they really?
Because everybody talks about it to me, but I don't watch the
show except to see Randy Jackson!
VH1: Is it
amusing to see Randy playing judge?
I've known Randy since before my first album came out. If it's
on and someone's watching it at my house, I'll look at the TV
and be like, "What's Randy doing?" because it's funny
did he have to say about your voice when you were working together?
We had collaborative
moments. He was my musical director on a couple of tours. We'd
discuss things; he's not like, "Oh, I think you should do
it like this." He's not being annoying in any way.
of old collaborators, were you surprised to hear of Ol' Dirty
Yes, I was
very upset. He was a really unique person, an artist. It's a loss
and it's difficult for everybody who cared about him. He was totally
unique. He didn't try to be like anybody else. Because of that,
it made him stand out. His style of rhyming yet singing yet just
going on a tangent with whatever kind of ad lib stuff he would
be doing in the background on certain records was always hot.
Butterfly you've embraced an urban sound. As a fan, what's been
the most exciting development in hip-hop?
that so many people that I've watched their careers explode, like
Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri, [have become] the heads of record companies.
It's a major accomplishment in terms of how far hip-hop has gotten.
It's really nice, because I remember when I was really, really
young starting out the executives who turned their nose up at
hip-hop and looked at it as a fad. Now I'm like, "Ha ha!"