Okay, so Mariah was born on Long Island, but she moved to Manhattan as a teenager and currently calls a Tribeca triplex home. Shes an adopted New Yorker. And not just because her new album, The Emancipation of Mimi, had the biggest first-week sales of any of her ten studio albums and hit No. 1 on the Billboard album charts. Shes even sporting an elegant new look (reportedly masterminded by Vogue fashion genius Andre Leon Talley). Not bad for a poor girl from the New York suburbs.
Mariah: The Early Years
Mariah Carey grew up poor in Huntington, N.Y., not far from New York City. Her family struggled to make ends meet and Mariah pitched in by landing her first paid singing gig at the age of 13, singing background vocals for commercial jingles.
By age 17, shed developed her famous five-octave range. She moved to Manhattan in 1987, immediately after graduating from high school.
Mariah Hits the Big Time
Mariah got her big break after singing background vocals for singer Brenda K. Starr. Starr gave Mariahs demo tape to Columbia Records head Tommy Mottola at a party. Legend has it that Mottola listened to the tape in his limo while driving home from the party and was so impressed that he immediately doubled back to the party to find Mariah.
Mariahs 1990 debut album was a smash hit with four #1 singles. She was an overnight success, earning Grammy awards as Best New Artist and Best Female Vocalist. Her follow-up albums Emotions and MTV Unplugged were also big hits. Mariah earned millions for herself and for her record company.
Mariah + Tommy
Along the way, Mariah fell in love with the boss. Tommy Mottola was 20 years older with two young kids when he met Mariah. They married in 1993. A few months later, Mariah released her biggest-selling record, Music Box. Next came Daydream. The hits just kept coming.
So Long, Tommy
Mariah and Mottola split up in 1997, but that didnt slow her down a bit. Her next record, the hip-hop-flavored Butterfly was another huge success and introduced a new Mariah. She ditched the girl-next-door image and started showing a lot of skin. She also had a well-publicized romance with Yankee heartthrob Derek Jeter.
Meanwhile, more #1 hits followed. In 1999, Mariah beat out the Beatles to become the artist with the most cumulative weeks spent at the top of the Hot 100 singles chart. Mariah seemed to be on top of the world.
Mariah Hits Hard Times
After signing an 80 million dollar deal with Virgin in 2001, Mariah started to show signs of burnout. She eventually experienced a meltdown posting suicidal messages on her website, showing up on TRL in only a T-shirt and babbling incoherently. Her movie, Glitter, not only bombed, it received scathing reviews and became a media punchline. The attendant soundtrack (which was her Virgin Records debut) also sold poorly. As a result, Virgin paid Mariah 28 million dollars to go away.
For a while it looked like the Mariah Carey phenomenon was over. Mariah checked into a hospital and most of the music industry wrote her off.
Then The Emancipation of Mimi changed everything. Mariahs new album, a mix of R&B and hip-hop, hit big. We Belong Together is her biggest hit ever (and the biggest hit ever for her label, Island Def Jam Music Group) and Mariah is now the #1 most successful female artist of all time.
More About MariahMariah Carey Official Website
The Emancipation of Mimi
Mariah Carey in Glitter
Mariah Carey Fan Club