Mariah Carey is diva. Her hits have spanned two decades and have broken records long held by music heavyweights like the Beatles and one Elvis Presley. Her concerts have grown exponentially and she consistenly sells out venues across the globe. Her success has allowed her to throw millions and millions of dollars around as if it were petty cash. But she insists, she’s still just a girl from New York.
Mariah grew up on Long Island, daughter to hard working parents. Her father Alfred Roy, half Venezuelan, and her mother Patricia, Irish, instilled strong values in their baby Mariah. Life was tough for Mariah, but she kept her chin up. She worked her way through Oldfield Middle School and graduated Harborfield High School at 17, and one day later she moved to New York City.
Mariah had stars in her eyes and an astounding voice backing up those dreams. She is known for an eight octave voice level, something nearly unparallel in the music industry. But, as anyone who’s worked in the industry knows, talent doesn’t always equal superstardom.
But Mariah had a few other things going for her as well. She was able to grab a gig working as a backup singer for Brenda K. Starr, who was so impressed with Mariah’s voice that she volunteered to pass along her demo tape. Starr passed it to Tommy Mottola, a musical mastermind, the man behind Sony Music and Columbia Records. Tommy loved it; and apparently loved her as well. The two wed in 1993.
But before the couple exchanged nupitals, Mariah released her first album, a self-titled, heavily played smash success. The album would set into motion a number of the records Mariah was able to shatter during her career (most consecutive #1 singles, first female soloist to go straight to #1, a #1 hit in each year during the 90s). Her success was cemented with Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Female Vocalist.
Mariah’s ever-important sophomore album (which seems to make or break a number of artist – see Hootie ; The Blowfish) failed to disappoint. “Emotions” had three big hits and sold quite well. “Music Box” would follow, along with “Daydream”, “Butterfly”, and “Heartbreaker.” Apparently, the record companies are just as pleased as the American public. After a somewhat turbulent end to her contract with Columbia (Mariah had to pay more than 10 million to get out of the deal), Mariah signed a deal with Virgin Records that pays her 23.5 million dollars a record.
Out of the recording studio, Mariah separated from Mottola in 1997, and the two would divorce a year later. Mariah picked right up, dating New York Yankees star Derek Jeter. But the relationship fizzled and Mariah has kept subsequent flings out of the press.