Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey
Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images

1. She was born in Huntington, New York, on March 27, 1970, to an Irish-American mother Patricia Hickey and an African American/Venezuelan father Alfred Roy Carey. Carey was named after “They Call The Wind Mariah,” a song from the 1951 Broadway musical comedy Paint Your Wagon.

2. Her family became a target for their multiracial roots – people would burn crosses on their lawn, poison their dogs, their car was blown up, and a shot was once fired through the kitchen window while they were eating dinner.

3. Carey worked a number of odd jobs to support herself, including hat/coat-checker, hostess, hair sweeper in hairdressing salons, and as a waitress.

4. In 1988, Carey attend a record executives’ gala, where she handed her demo tape to the head of Columbia Records, Tommy Mottola, which led to a contract and the release her self-titled debut album in 1990.

5. Her godmother is R&B icon Patti LaBelle known for the disco song “Lady Marmalade”.

6. Columbia Records spent more than $1 million promoting her 1990 debut album. Five singles were released from the album, four of which became US number-one hits.

7. Her debut single “Vision of Love” has been credited with popularising the use of melisma in modern music, (the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession), and has influenced countless female vocalists.

8. Carey began dating the president of Columbia Records Tommy Mottola while recording her album Music Box. They married in 1993 and divorced in 1998.

9. Her 1994, holiday album Merry Christmas has sold over 15 million copies worldwide, and is the best-selling Christmas album of all time. As of 2017, the single “All I Want for Christmas” was reported to have earned $60 million in royalties.

10. She has a five-octave range, which is two octaves higher than normal soprano.

11. Her 1995 song with Boys II Men, “One Sweet Day” holds the record for being the longest running number-one song in history after spending 16 weeks on the Billboard 100. It was written by Carey after her friend and past collaborator David Cole (of C&C Music Factory) died as homage to him.

12. In 1999 she bought Marilyn Monroe’s white baby grand piano (which originally belonged to Monroe’s mother) for $662,500.

13. Her 2001 movie “Glitter” earned her the Razzie Award for “Worst Actress” for her role. Carey herself later admitting that she regretted being part of the film.

14. Carey always labels her albums, videos, photographs, and clothing with butterflies.

15. Mariah has worked with a range of musicians, including Brian McKnight, Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Cam-ron, Carole King, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, 98 Degrees, Joe, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Aretha Franklin, Shania Twain, Miguel, Nicki Minaj and many more.

16. With 18 Billboard Hot 100 chart-toppers, she holds the record for the most number-ones by a female artist.

17. After eleven consecutive years charting a US number-one single, Carey parted ways with Columbia in 2000 and signed a $100 million recording contract with Virgin Records.

18. Carey appeared as a waitresses, in the 2002 film WiseGirls working at a restaurant run by mobsters. The film was released straight to video and did not receive a theatrical release.

19. Prior to her 1992 taping for MTV Unplugged, Carey and thought of adding a cover version of an older song, in order to provide something different. She chose “I’ll Be There”, by The Jackson 5 rehearsing it few times before the night of the show.

20. She signed a licensing deal with the cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden, and in 2007, she released her own fragrance, “M.” The Elizabeth Arden deal has netted her over $150 million.

21. Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time and has won five Grammy Awards, nineteen World Music Awards, ten American Music Awards and fifteen Billboard Music Awards. In 2011, it was reported that Carey’s net worth was valued at more than $500 million.

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