Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is a pop music singer, gifted with a voice widely considered beautiful, capable of spanning seven octaves. She has a vocal trademark of singing long phrases in the whistle register, a talent that is extremely rare. She is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records both for the ability to hit the highest note (G7#), and possessing the largest vocal range (A2 - G7#). She is also something of a sex symbol in the United States.
She was named after the song They Call The Wind Mariah from the movie Paint Your Wagon.
Her career began in with the release of her debut album in 1990, when she was just twenty years old. She became a critical and commercial success almost overnight, and the album produced four huge number one hit singles: "Vision Of Love," "Someday," "Love Takes Time," and "I Don't Want To Cry". Carey's second album, Emotions, was released in the fall of 1991 and its first single, the title track, also was an American number one hit. This gave Carey the record of being the only musician or band to ever have had their first five singles all hit the top of the Billboard charts in America. Emotions had several other top five singles, such as "If It's Over," "Can't Let Go," and "Make It Happen".
Carey's next studio album, Music Box, was released in 1993 and spawned the hits "Anytime You Need A Friend," "Never Forget You," and the hugley popular number one songs "Hero" and "Dreamlover". These songs, and Carey's duet with Luther Vandross of Diana Ross' "Endless Love," made Carey one of the most-played musicians on the radio in 1993 and 1994. During the Christmas season of 1994, Carey released the album Merry Christmas, and had a perennial hit with her original holiday song, "All I Want For Christmas Is You".
In 1995, Carey released Daydream. This album and her previous studio album, Music Box, would eventually go on to sell over 20 million copies each worldwide, making them Carey's two most popular albums. Daydream's first single, "Fantasy," was one of her biggest hits ever. It got heavy play on urban radio, thanks to a remix which featured a rhyme by the Wu-Tang Clan's ODB. This also marked the start of a new trend for Carey's singles. She realized that she had a higher potential at having massive crossover hits if she employed the use of various genre-specific remixes for each single. Daydream's second and third singles, "One Sweet Day," a duet with Boyz II Men, and "Always Be My Baby," respectfully, were arguably even bigger hits than "Fantasy". "Always Be My Baby" received huge airplay from pop, adult contemporary, and adult top 40 radio, and its urban remix which featured rhymes by Da Brat and a more soulful sounding chorus, sung by R&B group Xscape got huge airplay on urban, rap, and R&B radio stations. "Forever," the last single off of the album tanked compared to the first three, but was still a top 40 airplay hit in America.
Carey's 1997 album, Butterfly, saw her continuing to move in an R&B/hip hop direction. The first single, "Honey" was a number one hit and featured a remix with rappers Puff Daddy, The Lox, and Mase. Its video, filmed shortly after her divorce from Tommy Matolla displayed a much more sexual Carey than any previous video. Other singles and videos off the album included "Butterfly;" "The Roof;" "Breakdown," a duet with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony featuring Carey singing in a style similar to the way the Bone Thugs rap; and the number one hit "My All".
In 1998, Carey released the album 1's, a collection of all her American number one singles up to that point. It also included the new singles "When You Believe," a duet with Whitney Houston which featured in the Disney movie, The Prince Of Egypt; "Sweetheart," a hip-hoppy duet with Jermaine Dupri; "I Still Believe," a cover of the 80's song by Brenda K. Starr; and "Whenever You Call," a soulful duet with popular R&B singer Brain McKnight.
Among her most famous songs are Vision of Love and Emotions. She has had 15 number one singles in the United States (hence, the "Ones" album). That is the most of any female artist currently. She currently has the record for the most weeks at number one in the American charts with her single One Sweet Day, featuring Boyz II Men, totalling a full 16 weeks at the top spot.
Though her release singles are usually in the pop genre, she has also combined her talents with rap artists such as Lord Tariq, Peter Gunz, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Most of her recent singles have also been remixed as dance music, where she worked with DJs such as David Morales and Junior Vasquez.
In what will no doubt go down as one of the more memorable moments in her career, in the year 2001 Carey suffered an emotional and mental breakdown. Her acting debut in the film "Glitter" (panned by many popular movie critics) coupled with her many years of excessively hard work appeared to take a toll on her mentally. Her then-current album, Rainbow wasn't selling as well as her previous albums, and she complained her new record label wasn't promoting it. Finally, Mariah made an appearance on MTV's TRL, where she was scantily clad and acting strangely. After that, she checked into a mental health facility and announced that she was taking a break from performing.
Mariah has since released a new album, called Charmbracelet, in October of 2002. It is perhaps her least commercially successful album to date, and included the singles "Through The Rain" and "Boy (I Need You)" featuring rapper Cam'ron. Neither of the two singles really took off.
However, Carey's latest single, a duet with Busta Rhymes entitled "I Know What You Want" has fared considerably better, having reached the top ten of Billboard's pop singles chart and the top ten in rap radio airplay. It is also featured on he latest release "The Remixes", a double CD containing her best remixes.