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M  A  R  I  A  H       C  A  R  E  Y

 


Born March 27, 1970, Long Island, New York

With a stunning seven-octave voice that she put through stratospheric gymnastics, Mariah Carey became an overnight star. Her vocal prowess and range drew comparisons to Minnie Riperton and Yma Sumac, but most often to her contemporary, Whitney Houston. Yet unlike Houston, Carey cowrote or coproduced her own gospel-inflected, dance-pop songs and ardent ballads.

Carey was born to a black Venezuelan aeronautics engineer father and an Irish-American opera singer mother who also worked as a voice coach. The couple divorced when Mariah was three, and she moved with her mother to a succession of different towns in Long Island, New York. At 17 she moved to New York City and pursued a career in music while supporting herself as the self-professed "world’s worst waitress."

Carey befriended keyboardist Ben Margulies, with whom she began writing songs, and landed backup singing jobs. One, with minor late-Eighties dance-music singer Brenda K. Starr, proved crucial when Starr met Columbia Records chief Tommy Mottola at a party and gave him a demo tape of Carey’s songs. Mottola reportedly played the tape in his car on his way home and doubled back to the party to seek out Carey. He signed her and made her career development a top priority. Carey’s debut album (#1, 1990) yielded #1 hit singles in "Vision of Love" (1990), "Love Takes Time" (1990), "Someday" (1991), and "I Don’t Wanna Cry" (1991), and brought her Grammy awards in 1991 for Best New Artist and Best Female Vocalist. Emotions (#1, 1991) continued Carey’s roll, with such hits as the title track (#1, 1991), "Can’t Let Go" (#2, 1991), and "Make It Happen" (#5, 1992). Unplugged produced a hit cover of the Jackson 5’s "I’ll Be There" (#1, 1992), which also led to a solo recording deal for Trey Lorenz, the backup singer featured on the single with Carey.

In June 1993 Carey married Mottola, a man 20 years her senior. She then released the eight-million-selling Music Box (#1, 1993), which promptly yielded the #1 hits "Dreamlover" and "Hero." In fall 1993 she embarked on her first-ever tour, for which she received mixed reviews. Her 1994 Christmas album spawned the hit "All I Want for Christmas Is You."

1990 -- Mariah Carey (Columbia)
1991 -- Emotions
1992 -- MTV Unplugged EP
1993 -- Music Box
1994 -- Merry Christmas

 


 

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