Mariah Carey Biography

Actress, Music Producer, Film Actor/Film Actress, Film Actress, Songwriter, Singer(1970–)
With hits such as "Vision of Love" and "I Don't Wanna Cry," pop diva Mariah Carey holds the record for most No. 1 debuts in Billboard Hot 100 history.

Synopsis

Mariah Carey was born March 27, 1970, in Huntington, Long Island, New York, and began taking voice lessons at age four. At 18 she signed with Columbia records, and her first album had four No. 1 singles, including "Vision of Love" and "I Don't Wanna Cry." She went on to produce several more albums (later with other studios) and top singles, and is one of the best-selling female artists of all time.

Early Life

Singer Mariah Carey was born March 27, 1970, in Huntington, Long Island, New York, to Alfred Roy Carey, a Venezuelan aeronautical engineer; and Patricia Carey, a voice coach and opera singer. Has two older siblings: a brother, Morgan, and a sister, Alison. Carey is known as one of the top "pop divas" of the 1990s, having sold more than 80 million albums worldwide. Her voice spans more than five octaves and she writes most of her own music.

Carey's parents divorced when she was 3 years old. She stunned her mother by imitating her operatic singing as early as age two, and was given singing lessons starting at age four. After graduating in 1987 from Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, New York, Carey moved to Manhattan where she worked as a waitress, coat check girl, and studied cosmetology while writing songs and actively pursuing a music career at night.

Early Music Career

When she was 18 years old, Carey and her friend, singer Brenda K. Starr, went to a party hosted by CBS Records. Starr convinced Carey to bring along one of her demo tapes. She intended to give the tape to Columbia's Jerry Greenberg, but Tommy Mottola, the president of Columbia Records (later Sony), intercepted it before she could hand it to Greenberg. After listening to the tape on the way home from the party, Mottola signed Carey immediately and set her to work on her first album, Mariah Carey (1990) which included four No. 1 singles: "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Some Day," and "I Don't Wanna Cry." Her second album Emotions was released in 1992; the title track became her fifth No. 1 single, and included hits "Can't Let Go" and "Make it Happen."

Success on the Pop Charts

In March 1992, Carey appeared on MTV's Unplugged. This performance was released as an album and a home video, resulting in another No. 1 single (a cover of The Jacksons' "I'll Be There"). Her next album Music Box (1993) cut back a bit on the lavish studio production techniques heard in her previous albums, and included the No. 1 singles, "Dreamlover" and "Hero." Her November 1994 release Merry Christmas combined traditional Christian hymns with new songs. In 1995 she released Daydream; the first single "Fantasy" debuted at No. 1. It also included collaborations with R&B and hip-hop artists, such as Wu-Tang Clan and Boyz II Men ("One Sweet Day").

Her 1997 album, Butterfly, included 11 compositions written by Carey, and demonstrated her continued interest in hip-hop and R&B, including the Sean "Puffy" Combs-produced "Honey," her 12th No. 1 hit. Carey's 1998 album, #1's, featured her 13 previous chart-topping singles as well as the Academy Award-nominated "The Prince of Egypt (When You Believe)," a duet with fellow pop diva Whitney Houston.

Overcoming Obstacles

In July 2001, Carey was admitted into a New York-area hospital and put under psychiatric care after suffering what her publicists called a "physical and emotional collapse." Carey had been preparing to promote her upcoming feature film debut, Glitter, and its accompanying soundtrack album, but cancelled all public appearances. The release of Glitter was subsequently pushed back from late August to late September 2001. Carey was released from the hospital after two weeks.

In January 2002, Carey and EMI (the corporate owner of Virgin Records, with whom Carey had signed a reported $80 million contract in April 2001) severed their relationship. Though the film and soundtrack for Glitter failed to generate the desired box office and sales totals, Carey reportedly walked away from Virgin with nearly $50 million as part of her severance agreement. In May 2002, she signed a deal with Universal Music Group's Island/Def Jam Records. In December 2002, Carey staged a comeback with her eighth album, Charmbracelet, which debuted in third place on the charts. The record's accompanying tour, her first in more than three years, launched in June 2003.

In Recent Years

In 2012, Carey was chosen as a new judge for season 12 of the popular FOX television show American Idol, taking a seat alongside Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.

Carey has sold around 160 million albums worldwide. She is the third best-selling female artist of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. With 2008’s Touch My Body (from her eleventh studio album E=MC²), Carey passed Elvis Presley to become second only to the Beatles for the most No. 1 hit singles in the United States.

Outside of her music career, Carey is active in fundraising for The Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit agency that provides free summer vacations to disadvantaged children in New York City.

In January 2015, Carey inked a deal to become the latest diva songstress to take up residency in Las Vegas beginning in May.

Personal Life

In June 1993, Carey married Mottola in a spectacular ceremony at Manhattan's St. Thomas Episcopal Church. The couple divorced in 1998. Carey then dated Latin singer Luis Miguel for three years, but their relationship reportedly ended in the summer of 2001. 

Carey married rapper/actor/talent show host Nick Cannon on April 30, 2008, in a secret ceremony in the Bahamas. The couple had been dating for less than two months, their romance having blossomed after he appeared in her music video for "Bye Bye." In 2011, Carey and Cannon welcomed twins Moroccan and Monroe. After six years of marriage, in August 2014, the couple announced their separation. It was also reported that a confidentiality agreement was issued that bars discussing the details of their split publicly. In January 2015, it was reported that Cannon officially filed for divorce.

In January 2016, Carey became engaged to Australian businessman James Packer in New York City, but in October of that year, it was announced that the couple had split. 

Videos

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!