Articles 1993 - Heroes of Mariah

From Science World
Pitch hitter - Mariah Carey
The reception was slamming. The newlyweds had just completed their first dance. Now it was time for the deejay to drop a dime.

"Here we go," he said as he cued up a record. "This is from the voice of one extraordinary canary, Miss Mariah Carey, and she calls it 'Emotions.'"

First came the funky bass, then the lovely soprano voice. Within seconds the dance floor was packed.

"Did you hear the note that child just hit?" my partner asked as she twirled around. "She sings like an angel."

"That's Mariah Carey," I responded.

"Well, baby, she's got a voice that's made in heaven."

I smiled. Had anyone other than my 70-year-old cousin Mollie made this comment, I simply would have agreed. But I couldn't let this slide. You see, Cousin Mollie only listens to opera singers like Luciano Pavarotti, Kathleen Battle, and that crew. But here she was giving it up for Mariah.

Obviously Cousin Mollie was reading my mind.

"Boy, don't look at me like that," Mollie said as she snapped her fingers. "That girl can saang!"

Cousin Mollie isn't the only person who thinks so. In 1990 Carey took the world by storm with her debut album. Now, three albums later, the 22-year-old soprano gets maximum respect from critics and music lovers alike. Her most valuable assets: a soulful delivery and an incredible four-and-a-half-octave range. Carey can hit notes so low they make you think of a tugboat horn, notes as high as the high note of a penny whistle, plus every note in between.

The soul comes from Mariah's feelings about her music. The range comes from her ability to do things with her vocal cords that mere mortals just can't.


Here's what we do have in common with Mariah: Whenever we sing--or speak--the sound comes from our vocal cords, leathery folds of tissue inside the voice box, or larynx, in the throat. As air passes up through the opening between the cords, they ripple, or vibrate, like flags flapping in the breeze. Those vibes produce the sound.

You can't usually feel it when it happens, but when you change the pitch--highness or lowness--of your voice, what you're doing is tightening or loosening your vocal cords. The tighter you stretch 'em, the faster they'll vibrate. The faster they vibrate--the higher the frequency of the vibes--the higher the note.

Most singers are limited to a range of an octave or two--maybe 16 consecutive whole notes, max. But through years of training--for example, singing scales every day for 20 minutes at a stretch since the time she could walk--Carey has gradually increased the flexibility of her vocal cords.

Now she can scale octave after octave, starting with that bass note, where her vocal cords are vibrating at a frequency of 220 hertz (220 vibes/sec), and climbing all the way to those incredible high notes in "Emotions." On those notes, her vocal cords are stretched so tightly that they vibrate at something like 3,500Hz--nearly the highest note on a piano!


Still, high notes aren't everything. Carey has also had training to increase the power behind her sounds. The trick here: proper breathing technique (from the gut, not the chest), says Iralene Swain, a voice coach. The more "wind" you force across your vocal cords, the stronger the vibrations will be and the louder the sounds you can produce.

"So if I go in for the same kind of lessons," you ask, "will I end up singing like Mariah?"

"Well, every person has his or her own unique voice," says Swain. But you can increase the range and power of yours. Who knows? Maybe someday you'll be hitting the notes that carry Cousin Mollie onto the dance floor.

THOMAS D. MOTTOLA, the president of Sony Music, and MARIAH CAREY, Sony's superstar singer, announced yesterday plans to marry on June 5 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. After the ceremony, a reception for more than 300 guests is to be held at the Metropolitan Club. 

Ms. Carey, whose first three albums sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, was unavailable for comment, Dan Klores Associates, Sony Music's public relations firm, said. But a spokesman added that the bridal gown was being designed by Vera Wang Made to Order and Ms. Carey "is preparing for a fairy tale wedding that every girl dreams about."

Put this in the category of "Matters that take up the time of judges and lawyers." Judge MICHAEL B. MUKASEY of Federal District Court in Manhattan has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the singer MARIAH CAREY by her stepfather, JOSEPH VIAN, who claimed that she had reneged on an oral contract granting him the right to market Mariah dolls. The dolls would be modeled after Ms. Carey and would play her biggest hits. 

According to the decision handed down on Monday, Mr. Vian, who is separated from the singer's mother, Patricia, charged that Ms. Carey had granted him the right to make the dolls in return for his support, which included "picking her up from late-night recording sessions, providing her with the use of a car, paying for dental care, allowing her to use his boat for business meetings and rehearsals and giving her various items including unused wedding gifts from his marriage to her mother." 

The judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence that an agreement had ever been reached.

From Jet
Mariah Carey weds Sony Music exec who brought her stardom - Tommy Mottola
Songbird Mariah Carey recently married record company exec Tommy Mottola during a lavish, star-studded ceremony in New York.

Ms. Carey and Mottola, Sony Music President, who took her from obscurity to stardom with the hit singles Vision of Love, Love Takes Time, Someday and I'll Be There, exchanged wedding vows during nuptials at the landmark St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Manhattan.

They met in 1988 when Ms. Carey, then 18, slipped the music mogul one of her demo tapes at a party.

Legend has it that during his limo ride home, Mottola popped in the tape and upon hearing Ms. Carey's five-octave range, ordered the driver to turn around and head back to the party.

He masterminded her rise to stardom, which included two 1990 Grammy awards in her first year as a recording artist. And as her music career blossomed, so did their love.

During the recent nuptials, a breathtaking Ms. Carey, 23, marched down the aisle while the bridegroom, 43, waited for her at the altar with the rest of the wedding party, which included 50 flower girls.

The bride was resplendent as she glided down the aisle in an off-the-shoulder, jeweled bodice gown with a 27-foot-long train that required six women to carry it. The crowning touch was a dazzling tiara with a tumbling veil.

On hand for the nuptials were New York Mayor David Dinkins, actor Robert DeNiro, singers Barbra Streisand, Michael Bolton, Darryl Hall and John Oates, Tony Bennett, Billy Joel and his wife, model Christie Brinkley.

Not even the drizzle that fell outside could put a damper on the celebrants or approximately 300 fans who lined the street across from the church to catch a glimpse of the pop diva and the record company boss. They were thrilled that she tossed her bouquet into the crowd as she left the church after the 30-minute ceremony.

A reception was held at the posh Metropolitan Club a few blocks away. In a room overflowing with red roses, 300 revelers feasted on grilled shrimp and spicy baby chicken with herbs. The newlyweds could barely contain their joy as they sliced into a six-tier cake at the end of the evening.

Following their fairy tale wedding, the newlyweds left for Florida for a romantic honeymoon.

From US Magazine
At 23, she's won three Grammys and married a music mogul. Now, Carey's ready to reveal herself. 

The dance beats are throbbing at New York City's ultrahip Industria Studios -- disco, hip-hop and, yes, a few Mariah Carey songs. Carey herself is doing her best to relax between photo shoots in a dress that appears to be cut up to her collarbone. She's fiddling with the hem, trying in vain to cover an acre-long stretch of thigh, as a battery of stylists and photographers stands nearby analyzing the shoot in low whispers. Just for an instant, Carey looks a bit weary; she heaves a
small sigh, but when a makeup artist materializes brandishing a lip pencil, she smiles gamely. 

Carey, 23, is already a seasoned veteran of the fame biz, which, it seems, is exactly what she wants. The youngest child of a white mother (a former soloist with the New York City Opera Company) and a black father (an engineer), she knew by the time she was three that she was destined to be a singer. The day after she graduated from high school in Huntington, Long Island, she headed for New York City to pursue her career, checking coats by day and recording demos by night. But her
starving-artist period was short-lived. Success landed on Carey when she met CBS label president and future husband Tommy Mottola, who heard her mighty five-octave-range voice and singed her on the spot. Thus began a career that has reaped three Grammys and eight Top 10 hits (including "Vision of Love," "Can't Let Go," MTV UNPLUGGED'S "I'll Be There"), all in the course of three years. Her 1990 debut album, MARIAH CAREY, created a cyclone of publicity that would have made Madonna blush ("We think of Mariah as more of a franchise," said Sony honcho Don Ienner at the time). Carey's follow-up effort, EMOTIONS, cemented her stardom, although critics were less than kind. Now Carey has a third album, MUSIC BOX, which will launch her first-ever tour. But all of this was momentarily eclipsed by her lavish June wedding to Mottola; it boasted a high-wattage guest list that included everyone from Barbra Streisand to
Bruce Springsteen to Robert De Niro.

With Carey's ascent, however, come s the inevitable spate of rumors. Critics have carped that she hasn't paid her dues. Stories flew that she was linked romantically to Mottola before he split from his wife of 20 years. In 1992, Carey was hit by a lawsuit from her stepfather saying that she owed him a percentage of her earnings, which she will not discuss for legal reasons. Through it all, Carey has remained characteristically quiet. 

But now, it seems, she is ready to talk. As the photo shoot draws to a close, Carey hustles into her dressing room to peel off her bell-bottoms and shrink-wrapped top. She emerges wearing a white cotton T-shirt, jean cutoff, Adidas sneakers and a plaid shirt tied at her waist; the only evidence of superstardom is the hunk of ice that glares blindingly on her left hand. As she settles into her seat at a model-infested restaurant, she does something else that belies her stardom: She hits me with a barrage of questions about my career, something I haven't encountered in five years of talking to the famous. 

"I'm always interested in people that make it at an early age," she says. "How did you do it? Do you like what you do? How long will this piece be? Do you pick the quotes yourself? Do you use all the questions?"
Carey is a curious mix of an ingenuous woman with a ready laugh and a grimly determined professional. Everybody who meets me says that I'm much taller in person," she says. "They think I'm short, for some reason. And people think I'm shy, but I'm not as shy as I used to be."
For the record, Carey is 5 feet 9 inches tall. And she is most definitely not shy.

We'll be needing some details on your marriage.
What do you want to know?

Let's get right to it: Is it true that you studied tapes of Princess Di's wedding to get some pointers?
[SPUTTERING] I...I...OK. This is the deal. The ceremony was really traditional, so I wanted to look at examples of a traditional wedding to get some ideas. So I watched it, like, twice. I didn't sit home with the VCR and the clicker and keep rewinding it. I didn't know anything about the traditions because I wasn't one of those girls that grew up thinking about getting married -- I thought about was singing.

Who caught the bouquet?
When I was leaving the reception at, like, 1 o'clock in the morning, there were a bunch of fans that had waited around. So I thought it'd be nice to throw the bouquet to them. [SHE GIGGLES.] Somebody said that I hit a guy in the head, by that's totally not true, because I saw a picture of the girl who caught the bouquet.
Did the paparazzi invade the wedding?
I don't think they invaded it. I mean, it wasn't annoying or anything. It was pretty exciting, actually. But one of our guests had snuck in and sold a bunch of pictures when we hadn't given anybody pictures of the church of the reception. It made me feel really violated.
Did you have an attack of nerves before the ceremony?
The night before the wedding I didn't sleep at all. I hung out with my bridesmaids in a hotel suite, and we stayed up really late and had a really great time. But actually, I wasn't nervous until that moment when I started walking down the aisle. I was worried that I was going to trip or something.
Did Ozzy Osbourne wear a tux?
I didn't invite these people to talk about what they wore in interviews, you know what I mean?

Why did you decide to record a new album and plan your wedding at the same time?
It just so happened that I'd been working on the album for over a year, and in December we decided to get married, so it worked out.

We've all read reports of how you first met Tommy Mottola, but I want to hear it in your own words.
[HEAVY SIGH] For the 9 billionth time, I'll tell this story, but it's OK. I was singing backup for Brenda K. Starr, who was very supportive of me. She brought me to this party to meet a guy named Jerry Greenberg, and Tommy grabbed the tape before Jerry could [LAUGHS]. That was the first time I'd ever been to anything like that, so I was just freaked out to even be there. Then he left the party in his limo, put the tape on, turned around and came back to find us, but we were gone. So he left a message on my machine that said, "This is Tommy Mottola at CBS Records. Call me." After trying so hard and then getting that message, I couldn't believe it.

What impression did you have when you first met the man who is now your husband?
[SHE SHIFTS IN HER SEAT.] It's not that I don't remember every detail of the entire thing. It's just that... I don't know, what exactly are you asking me?
You must have had some initial impression.
Well, our relationship didn't start at that moment, so it was like a different thing. There was some kind of chemistry going on that was really intense. I remember it. But I was very scared and shy and young, so I just kind of walked away. Shyly.

Tommy's older than you by nearly 20 years. Do you feel any sort of a generation gap with him?
He's a very cool person. We're beyond thinking about age. I mean, occasionally he'll know a song that I've never heard of, or I'll know songs that I'm like, oh, this reminds of seventh grade, and it was, like, not that long ago [LAUGHS].

Are there any plans for a little Mottola?
Not for a very long time. I want to do that the right way. I wouldn't want to be one of those people that gives my child to a nanny to raise. I still fell like a kid myself, and I want to be completely ready and conscious of everything I'm doing. It'll probably be when I'm in my late 20s or during my early 30s.

So, back to you. I did an informal poll and asked people what their impression of you was, and nobody had a clear idea of what you are like. They would say, "She's beautiful," or "What a voice," but they said nothing about your personality. Why do you think this is?
I don't think I've done anything where I've intentionally tried to hide it, but when I first started out, I was just so worried about being the right way. I was very nervous and uptight. Now I feel a lot more comfortable just being myself, since I've been in the public eye for two and a half years or three years. I feel like I don't have to be so guarded about things. It's really hard when you first come out, and I think it was a little scary for me. Now I just say, "This is me," and that's all.

When you're not recording or promoting an album, what's a typical day?
I like to go swimming, and I like driving a lot. Because I live in Manhattan, I don't get a chance to just get in a car and drive. I like being able to spend time with my friends or family, because I don't get to do that much either.

How about an ideal day?
I love amusement parks. Actually, I went to one yesterday with my friends, and I had a really reat time. I love riding on roller coasters -- they're my favorite thing. So yesterday we hung out there for the whole day. I'd cruise around, play music, act crazy and not have to answer to anyone about anything.

What kind of music do you listen to? What CDs have you heard lately?
I listen to different music at different times. I like gospel music at night -- I'm pretty religious in my own way. I think it's good karma when I'm sleeping. I also like a lot of noise while I'm trying to sleep -- music or TV -- because I'm not a good sleeper. I like rap when I'm in a rowdy mood. I like songs from the '80s, '70s, '60s, old soul music.

Let's talk about the lean years.
The lean YEAR.

The lean year.
I used to waitress, and I coat-checked and stuff like that. I was a really, really bad waitress. I would forget things, and I wasn't really into it, so I wasn't nice to the customers. You have to be overly nice to get a good tip, and I wasn't like that, so they ended up firing me.

Have you been back to those places?
No. I don't want to see them. This one place I coat-checked used to play videos, and I would sit back there and write the lyrics for my demos, and dream of coming back and watching my video onscreen. But I haven't done it yet -- the food's not that great [LAUGHS].

What's the worst job you ever had?
I guess it was when I worked in a hair salon for one day, sweeping up hair. The guy there tried to give me a new name, like in the slave days. It was pretty bad.

I have to ask. What was the name?
Echo. Everybody there had these little name tags with cute little names on them, like Electricity or Lightning. So as I was sweeping up hair, the owner kept asking me, "What's your name again?" I told him, "It's Mariah." And he said, "We'll now it's Echo." So I said, "Excuse me, I have to go make a phone call," and I never went back. 

You've had your share of critics. How do you think the press has treated you?
I'm not going to get angry and say, "I hate critics," because a lot of them have been very good to me.

Do you read your own press?
Only the good stuff. Why would I want to see a bad review? If criticism is constructive, I like to hear it and try to improve. But if it's just someone that's not into me, they're never going to be, so why should I torture myself?

Let's clear up a few charges that critics have leveled at you. One is that you haven't paid your dues.
Well, those people have only known me from my debut album up until now, which is three years. Just because you are young doesn't mean you haven't been through anything. I doesn't bother me, because they weren't there when I only had one pair of shoes, with holes in them, and a dollar for the week. I'm not complaining about it -- everything I went through motivated me to get here at an early age. I wanted it so badly that I thought it took a long time. I thought it was going to happen to me when I was 12.

Some critics weren't exactly kind to your follow-up album.
When you first come out, people are less likely to be really hard on you, because they're not jealous of you yet. As soon as you have a big success, a lot of people don't like that. There's nothing I can do about it. All I can do is make music that I believe in. 

Why do you think critics pitted you against Whitney Houston?
Because I came out as a young singer, which wasn't the trend at the time -- it was more "dancer-slash-singer." It wasn't as much about the vocals. And also because I was singing ballads, and I worked with some of the same producers. But the main difference to me is that I write all my own songs and I produce my own records. 

Ever dream of being in the movies? I rented 'The Bodyguard' for the first time the other night and..

What? Did I miss something?

So, you were saying.
Because I write all my own songs, it's not as easy for me to do a movie and have songs delivered to me. I have to be there doing it myself, because that's the type of artist that I am. Right now, that's what I'm into.

How do you think you've grown as an artist since your last album?
Just the fact that I'm writing more songs and learning about producing and being able to work with so many great people. And just doing it. The more you do something, the better you get. Hopefully.

When you write songs, do you just do it whe the mood strikes? What exactly is the creative process?
Well, sometimes I'm just lying in bed trying to go to sleep, and the melody keeps coming into my head, and I can't get it out. And if it's good, and I want to go and record it, I call up my answering machine and leave the melody there so I won't forget it.

It seems that you're experimenting with lower note on 'Music Box'.
It's not that I'm experimenting with lower notes, I actually think that my natural voice is low, you know what I mean? And I'm really comfortable in my lower register. It's just that [SIGHS] somehow I end up writing everything in a really high speed.

In the beginning of the song "Dreamlover," your voice does the vocal gymnastics that you're known for. Is this kind of a message to people that says you go over the top with your voice?
I sing from the heart. Whatever the music makes me feel at the time I go into the studio to sing a song, that's what I'm going to do. Some people like it, some people don't. But it's just a part of my voice, and that's it.

So this is the first time you'll be touring. How does that make you feel?
I'm jittery, but I'm excited about it. I didn't start out performing in clubs like most people do, so it's very new to me. I didn't want to do that, I wanted to keep it separate. I definitely wasn't ready before, although I'd done it a few times. I was thrust out into the public in front of millions of people, like when I sang at the Grammys in front of every star in the music industry. And that's crazy. Is that how I'm going to learn?

Do you have dates nailed down?
Not yet, but it'll be in the fall. It'll be a showcase of my songs and my singing. I think I'm only doing, like, 10 shows, because my songs are really hard to sing back to back. And people are going to come out to hear me SING -- it's not about covering anything up with some crazy show -- so I have to make sure I sound decent.

Do you have to do anything special to take care of your voice?
I have to try to sleep as much as I can, which isn't easy for me.

Why do you have trouble sleeping?
Because everything happened so fast for me that I haven't been able to sit back and mull it all over in my head. So when I'm going to sleep, all these thoughts come flooding into my mind, and they just keep me awake.

How late are we talking?
Four or five. So I stay up and make answering-machine messages. The other thing is, when I was first starting out and doing my demos, my former writing partner had a studio in the back of this small wood shop that we weren't allowed to go in until late at night. So I would waitress until midnight, the go to the studio until 9 or 10 in the morning, then I'd come home and sleep and do the whole thing over again. So I got on that schedule, and it's hard to get off of it.

When you got your first check from your first album, did you go out and buy something nutty?
I still haven't bought something nutty.

A car?
Nah, I have a car, but it's not a crazy, extravagant car.

You seemed to have been very determined to be a singer since you were practically in diapers. Where do you think this single-mindedness came from?
My mom used to sing with the opera whe I was little, so it was real for me, it wasn't some crazy dream. I knew you could actually make a living as a singer. And when I would sing, she'd encourage me and tell me: "You have a really great voice. If that's what you want to do, you should do it."

So, let's hark back to the cafeteria tables in high school. Where are you?
{LAUGHS] Standing on top of them. I had a good time in high school, socially, although I always wanted to graduate so I could get on with my life. I always felt like I was wasting time, because I knew I wanted to be a singer. Not to encourage anyone out there to do the same thing. I was very lucky that this happened to me, because I don't know what I'd be doing now. I'd probably still be in that shop, sweeping up hair and calling myself Echo.

From NY Times (All rights reserved)
Venturing Outside the Studio, Mariah Carey Proves Her Mettle
Mariah Carey had everything to prove when she performed on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Although she has sold millions of albums since her first one appeared in 1990, her public performances were scarce, confined mostly to television appearances. Instead of working her way up the live circuit, she is starting at the top, touring arenas. With her triumphant New York concert, she's going to make it much harder to convince fledgling singers that they need to pay dues. 

If Ms. Carey was nervous, it didn't show. Smiling and strutting across the stage, moving easily to the music without obvious choreography, she combined the assurance of an arena-scale pop performer with the casualness of a suburban girl-next-door. Chatting with an audience that was proud to claim her as a Long Island native, she announced that profits from her current single, "Hero," would be donated to the families of victims of last week's rampage on the Long Island Rail Road. 

Ms. Carey's career -- guided by her husband, Tommy Mottola, who is also the president of her recording company -- has been carefully calculated. She arrived in the wake of Whitney Houston, whose ceaselessly positive, gospel-charged ballads and dance songs were best sellers. Ms. Carey worked with some of Ms. Houston's producers, trying to reach the same audience, which bridges romantic adults and dancing teen-agers; on her first album, she even rapped. Unlike Ms. Houston, however, Ms. Carey writes her own lyrics and collaborates on her music and production. 

Video clips made the lithe, curly-maned Ms. Carey a familiar presence, singing about love as a wholesome, secular gospel of self-esteem and satisfaction, with the singer "feeling emotions higher than the heavens above." And when, after two albums, it began to seem odd that she had not given live concerts, she shrewdly performed on "MTV Unplugged"; the show was released as a live EP. With a new studio album, "Music Box" (Columbia), it was time to tour. 

Ms. Carey's concert was about mastery, not innovation. It followed arena-pop conventions, with costume changes (all black until a red evening dress for the Christmas encore), a number sung seated at the edge of the stage, and cues for audience participation. Her co-producer, Walter Afanasieff, played keyboards in her band. A gospel choir appeared for a few songs, and male dancers arrived for uptempo tunes; wisely, Ms. Carey didn't join the chorus line, treating the concert more as a vocal showcase than as a spectacle. Her songs also follow conventions: big-build ballad ("I Don't Wanna Cry"), girl-group update ("Dreamlover"), uplifting pop-gospel homily ("Make It Happen"), dance workout ("Emotions"). But they are good-natured, catchy vehicles for vocal display. 

Beyond any doubt, Ms. Carey's voice is no studio concoction. Her range extends from a rich, husky alto to dog-whistle high notes; she can linger over sensual turns, growl with playful confidence, syncopate like a scat singer. Although rock concerts aren't known for precise intonation, she sang with startlingly exact pitch. 

She has soaked up ideas from gospel, soul, rock, jazz and pop singers, particularly the melismas of singers from Barbra Streisand to Aretha Franklin to Minnie Riperton to Thelma Houston. In some songs, Ms. Carey could challenge the world record for notes packed into a single syllable. 

On albums, Ms. Carey's singing often sounds narcissistic, as if she has to cram every phrase with virtuosity. On an arena stage, however, her flamboyance was just right, especially because Ms. Carey didn't overdo it. Most songs were strategically plotted as arcs: introductory wordless "ooh's," slow and sultry opening verses, then a gradual climb to rippling gospel phrases and those ultra-high notes, followed by time to taper off. When Ms. Carey sang remakes of 1970's hits, like "Without You" or "I'll Be There" (a duet with Trey Lorenz, who also appeared with her on "MTV Unplugged"), she mimicked enough of the original to make a connection, then set off her own fireworks. 

For all Ms. Carey's skill and discipline, her concert wasn't a display of cold perfectionism. After singing the S.O.S. Band's "Just Be Good to Me," Ms. Carey went to toss her disco-nostalgia leather hat into the audience, and accidentally flung it backward on stage instead. She retrieved it, joked about her dim prospects in sports, and hurled it forward as planned. The crowd was happy; its polished pop idol wasn't afraid to look human.


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Heroes of Mariah 2000