The Meaning of Mariah Carey: Six Lessons from the Singer's Memoir (2023)

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The Meaning of Mariah Carey: Six Lessons from the Singer's Memoir (1)Image Source,Average AP

by mark savage

BBC music reporter

Mariah Carey has recorded countless number one records, racked up a Grammy, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

But she's been cautious about her personal life -- until now.

In her new memoir, "What Mariah Carey Means," the singer opens up about her impoverished upbringing in an abusive home, her experiences with racism, music, marriage and more.

Co-written with Michael Angela Davis, it pulls back the curtain on a riveting rags-to-riches story and deconstructs (well, mostly) the star as a self-defeating heroine .

Here are six of the funniest moments from the book.

1) She experienced domestic violence when she was young

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"Ever since I was a child, I developed an intuition for when violence was coming," Carey wrote.

Recalling the numerous arguments between his father Alfred and his younger brother Morgan, he wrote: "It was not uncommon for holes to be punched in walls or other objects to fly up."

Kelly detailed the incident when she was six and called a family friend for help after her mother was attacked. When the police arrived, one of the officers reportedly said: "It would be a miracle if the child survived."


2) Racism 'like the first kiss upside down'

Kelly, whose father is black and mother is white, said many of her friends didn't know she was biracial. She even remembers her teacher laughing and saying, "Oh, Maria, you're using the wrong crayon," as she drew her brown-skinned father when she was four.

"The stain of self-consciousness and shame boiled from my feet to my face," she wrote.

He described his first encounters with racism as "a backwards first kiss," explaining, "Every time, a piece of innocence was ripped out of me."

She later described a traumatic sleepover in which a group of girls locked her in her bedroom and kept yelling the n-word at her.

"The venom and hate that these girls put in this song ... was so intense, it literally pulled me out of my body," Kelly said. "I was disoriented and scared and thought maybe if I just kept going and kept crying, there would be an adult who would stop the attack. But no one came."

These experiences later inspired the song "Outside," in which Carey sings: "In essence, it's always weird/neither here nor there/always somehow out of place here and there/ambiguous--no touch of belonging.

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3) Kylie accuses her sister of putting her at risk of being 'pimped'

Sister Alison moves in and out of Kylie's life amid teenage pregnancy, drug addiction and suicidal thoughts. While they shared some tender moments, the singer described a few times she thought Alison was putting her in danger.

One story involved her sister's boyfriend, whom Kelly said she only later realized ran a prostitution ring. At the age of 12, she claimed she was tricked into spending a night alone with him, ending up playing cards and driving to the movies and he hugged her "almost immediately".

Terrified by the "gun resting on his lap", Kelly said she only fled after another car pulled up next to them, prompting John to leave "silently" and drive home.

The singer believed she was at risk of being pimped, citing: "Dysfunctional families are ideal prey for abusers, and exposed young children are easy prey."

Speaking to The Sun, Alison denied the book's claims and said she was shocked and horrified by Maria's accusations of her pimping.

(Video) Mariah Carey - Sharing Personal Stories in Her Memoir | The Daily Social Distancing Show

4) The Beatles taught her a valuable lesson

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Many artists look to The Beatles for musical inspiration - but not Mariah. She is more interested in their business relationship.

As a teenager, the singer received $5,000 from a record label to turn one of her songs, "All In Your Mind," into a movie soundtrack.

"I said no," Carey said. "Although at the time, $5,000 seemed like a million dollars (that's how much I got for my first real record deal)."

What was the reason for her refusal? "I remember watching a documentary about the Beatles growing up and being shocked to learn that they didn't fully own the songs they wrote —the Beatles! "she wrote. "So I knew I couldn't give up all my publishing."

5) Her first husband was so controlling that she couldn't go to Burger King

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Carey married Sony Music executive Tommy Mottola in June 1993 and admits she owes her success in part to him. Mottola offered her a record deal and even persuaded her to record a Christmas album - which turned out to sell millions, "All I Want For Christmas Is You" .

But she claimed that, as a husband, he was controlling and jealous. The couple's $32 million home "has heavily armed guards," which Kylie named "Sing Sing" after the New York high-security prison.

Things came to a head in 1996 when Carey recorded a remix of Always Be My Baby in the mansion's private studio with hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri and rapper Da Brat.

On a whim, she and Da Brat took a cab and drove to Burger King. Mottola reportedly "had a fit of rage" and demanded an armed search.

As the musicians ate takeout in the car, Da Brat suddenly turned serious, telling Kelly, "That's not right. You've sold millions of records, girl. You live in a goddamn palace. You You have everything, but if you can go to Burger King if you want, you have nothing. You have to get out of there."

Carey and Mottola split the following year. In his 2013 memoir, he admitted he had "obsessive-compulsive disorder" but said she gave "harsh" and "untrue" accounts of their relationship.

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6) She recorded a secret rock album

Kylie is known for hit ballads like Vision Of Love and girl-next-door candy pop like Fantasy and Dreamlover.

But during the recording of her fifth album, Daydream, in 1995, she dropped a secret alternative rock record to express the "anger" and "anger" she felt when her marriage fell apart.

"I created an alter ego artist and her fake Ziggy Stardust band," she explains. "My character is a dark-haired dark-haired goth girl who writes and sings funny torture songs.

"I was playing the jaunty rock, punk jaunty style that was popular at the time. They could be angry, uptight and messy, with old shoes, rumpled slippers and unruly eyebrows, and my every move was orchestrated And well-manicured. I want to break free, let go, express my pain — but I also want to laugh.

He said of the writing process: "At the end of each session [Daydream], I would go to a corner and, without thinking too much, jot down some words. Within five minutes, I'd have a song.

"I'd bring my little alternative rock song into the band and hum a stupid guitar riff. They'd pick it up and we'd record it right away. It was irreverent, raw, urgent, And the band was involved. I actually started liking some of the songs."

The album was released in 1995 under the pseudonym Chick. Track titles like Love Is A Scam and Demented offer some not-so-subtle clues to Mariah's state of mind at the time.

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The Meaning of Mariah Carey is now published by Macmillan Press.

(Video) Mariah Carey Reveals Real Reason For Jennifer Lopez Feud In New Memoir

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What is the meaning of Mariah Carey summary? ›

The Meaning of Mariah Carey is a rewarding insight into Carey as an artist as well as a person. Repeatedly referencing her detailed approach to music, writing of “how to use my voice to build layers, like a painter”, Carey – together with writer Michaela Angela Davis – deploys similar care with her words.

What is the meaning of Mariah Carey Amazon? ›

Mariah Carey is a symbol of female strength and resilience. She is a warrior, against racism, against sexism and abuse. Her iconic career and legacy today is a testament to her undying determination, strength, and hard work.

What is the meaning of Mariah Carey Derek Jeter? ›

In her memoir, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” Mariah said that the Yankees captain was the second man she had ever been intimate with. This was a shocking fact. “Derek was only the second person I had slept with ever (coincidentally, his number was 2 on the Yankees).”

Does Mariah Carey talk about Eminem in her new book? ›

But Carey revealed that she doesn't talk about the rapper in her memoir — so what's he carrying on about?

Why did Eminem write a song about Mariah Carey? ›

Throughout his career, Eminem has claimed he once had a relationship with Carey, dating her for six months. Carey, however, always denied the claim. As a result, Eminem recorded a number of songs in which he rapped about the singer in a negative light, angered by her not admitting to seeing him.

What did Mariah Carey say about her sister in her book? ›

They have attacked me for decades. But when I was 12 years old, my sister drugged me with Valium, offered me a pinky nail full of cocaine, inflicted me with third-degree burns, and tried to sell me out to a pimp. Something in me was arrested by all that trauma.

What Mariah Carey calls her fans? ›

The Lambily is what mariah calls her fans together as a group. The name is a combination of Lamb and Family, which means to be a group of Mariah fans or what she calls her fans as a group in total.

How much did Sony make off of Mariah Carey? ›

Carey is one of the music division's most valuable assets. Music-industry executives estimate that her last album, "Daydream," contributed $250 million to Japan-based Sony in world-wide revenue.

What was the nickname Mariah Carey tried to trademark? ›

Mariah Carey's application to trademark the moniker "Queen of Christmas" has been denied by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The American star's application was rejected after her company did not respond to another singer's opposition.

Why does Mariah wear gloves? ›

While the slings are no longer necessary, Mimi still has nerve damage in her right hand, which is why she's been wearing gloves.

What did JLO say about Mariah? ›

Jennifer later joked in an interview with Wendy Williams that Mariah is “forgetful”, saying: “We've met many times… I don't know her that well.”

Why does Mariah Carey call herself Mimi? ›

Answer. Mariah Carey says that 'Mimi' is a nickname for herself. She says it is a name only her closest friends and family knew until the creation of the album. The music was intended to reveal a more intimate side of the artist.

Does Eminem love Mariah Carey? ›

'Fore I do that, I'd beg Mariah to take me back.” Eminem later told Rolling Stone of their relationship, “There's truth to that. But on the whole personal level, I'm not really feeling it. I just don't like her as a person.

Does Mariah Carey listen to her own music? ›

She likes to listen to her own music in the bedroom

True Mariah fans will know that she's quite particular about what music she listens to when – namely, her music, most of the time.

Did Mariah Carey and Eminem have a fling? ›

Mariah Carey denied dating Eminem on her 2002 album.

After keeping her cool for several months, Mariah seemingly addressed Eminem on "CharmBracelet" through her song “Clown” in 2002, where she debunked being intimate with him.

Who is Eminem married to? ›

Did Eminem write Superman about Mariah Carey? ›

"Superman" is about the rocky relationships and promiscuous nature of the girls Eminem has had in his life and how he plans to deal with it. In his 2008 autobiography, The Way I Am, Eminem revealed that the song is, to an extent, about his alleged relationship with American singer Mariah Carey.

What happened between Eminem and his wife? ›

Eminem charged his wife Kim with kissing a man name John Guerra in 2000. The rapper who attacked John with an unloaded gun was later arrested. In response to these accusations, her first marriage to Eminem ended in 2001.

What is the saddest Mariah Carey song? ›

Sad or Sorrowful Mariah Carey Songs for a Funeral
  • “Vanishing” by Mariah Carey. ...
  • 17. “ ...
  • “Til The End of Time” covered by SOPitchy. ...
  • “Without You” by Mariah Carey. ...
  • “Looking In” by Mariah Carey. ...
  • “Open Arms” covered by Mariah Carey. ...
  • “My All” covered by Rochelle Diamante. ...
  • “Rainbow” by Mariah Carey.
May 13, 2022

Does Mariah Carey have a good relationship with her mother? ›

To describe Mariah Carey's relationship with her mother as strained is an understatement. She has credited her mother as the primary reason for her exposure to music at a young age. However, she also maintains there were things her mother said that have haunted throughout the years.

Who does Mariah Carey love? ›

Mariah Carey has been dating her boyfriend, Bryan Tanaka, since 2016, after her engagement ended with businessman James Packer. However, Bryan and Mariah first met back in 2006 when he became her backup dancer.

Is Ryan Reynolds a Mariah Carey fan? ›

I am a huge Mariah Carey fan,” Reynolds said. “It really was one of those weird things that happened naturally. I write to music anyway, and I initially put a song in the script by The Outfield called 'Your Love. ' It's an old '80s tune.

Why is Mariah Carey called the Songbird Supreme? ›

Mariah Carey melded genres, influenced a generation of vocalists, and became the first artist with No. 1 singles across four decades — solidifying a legacy as the true Songbird Supreme.

Are Nick and Mariah friends? ›

Mariah and Nick are really great coparents and have a good relationship [and] friendship now,” a source revealed to Us Weekly in February 2022. “They're in a good palace and they're supportive of each other no matter what.

What was Mariah Carey's bad record deal? ›

Ms. Carey signed a $100 million deal in 2000 to make at least five albums, but EMI decided to pull the plug after the first album, "Glitter" — the soundtrack of a movie of the same name — was panned by critics and flopped, in corporate terms at least.

Who is richer Nick Cannon or Mariah Carey? ›

Mariah Carey's net worth is reported to be $550 million, according to The Huffington Post. Nick Cannon's net worth is reported at a more modest $20 million, according to International Business Times.

How much does Mariah Carey make when her song is played? ›

The 1994 yuletide classic is so popular that it remains a lucrative source of income for Carey every year, largely due to the royalties that she is owed for third-party usage. A report from the New York Post estimated that she makes around $3 million every year from the song.

Who is the Queen of Christmas song? ›

That effort proved controversial, as at least two other artists known for their seasonal songs publicly took issue with Carey laying claim to the throne: Darlene Love, who said David Letterman christened her Queen of Christmas nearly three decades ago, and Elizabeth Chan, who describes herself as "music's only full- ...

Why was Mariah Carey denied Queen of Christmas? ›

The application was denied after the star's company, Lotion LLC, did not respond to opposition from another singer. If successful, the trademark would have given Carey the legal right to stop others from using the title in music or merchandise.

When did Mariah Carey come out? ›

Her debut album, Mariah Carey (1990), showcased her incredible vocal range and blended several musical genres, including gospel, pop, and rhythm and blues (R&B). It was a huge success, and in 1991 Carey won Grammy Awards for best new artist and best female pop vocalist.

Why did Nicki fight Mariah? ›

Before the season even premiered, there were reports that Carey and Minaj weren't getting along on set. TMZ obtained a video of the two arguing. There were even reports that Minaj said she wanted to shoot Carey, which Minaj denied. When the show finally premiered, the beef could be seen on screen.

Why does Mariah Carey hide one side of her face? ›

According to E! Online, Mariah said she was 19-years-old when a lady on set told her which side she should be photographed on. Carey, 46, was also told to use her left hand as a distraction from the left side of her face.

Does Nick still love Mariah? ›

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey still have a great relationship. The pair, who married in 2008, divorced in 2016, and had a set of twins, are still friends. In a new interview, Cannon talked about how special Carey and how she still is “the love of his life.”

Who did Mariah Carey say she doesn't know? ›

She has also consistently refused to acknowledge the existence of J. Lo. In what would go on to become one of the biggest pop shades in history - and a true meme for the ages - in the early 2000s Mariah Carey was asked about Lopez by a German TV interviewer. Mariah Carey / JLO "I don't know her!"

What is JLO upset about? ›

Jennifer Lopez has admitted in a new documentary that she was unhappy about he conditions laid down by the NFL for her performance with Shakira during the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show.

What is a famous quote that Jennifer Lopez said? ›

You get what you give. What you put into things is what you get out of them.

Why was Mariah Carey voice unique? ›

Mariah has a unique structure to her vocal folds, they are “short”, which means although she can hit abnormally high head voice notes, her mid range suffers from a lack of tension and vibrato. As you age, this tends to get more pronounced and that's all that's all that is going on here.

Why is the emancipation of Mimi important? ›

The Emancipation of Mimi is the tenth studio album by American R&B singer Mariah Carey, released through Island Records on April 12, 2005. The album was considered Carey's "comeback album" by critics and became her highest-selling release in the US in a decade.

Did Mariah Carey change her last name? ›

She explained why she decided to drop her last name for her seventh studio album, Rainbow . “[My grandfather]'s last name was Nuñez,” she said about her Venezuelan grandpa. “My grandfather made up the name 'Carey,' when he came to America to be more accepted, I guess.

Did Tupac like Mariah Carey? ›

She met Tupac in 1996. If he was still a fan of her music at that point, I say that it still could've happened. He was absolutely always a fan. He was listening to Mariah since her debut and he was the one who called out her name when he saw her at the 1996 Grammy Award's because he was not only into her music but her.

Who is Mariah Carey married to now? ›

How did Mariah Carey get so good at singing? ›

Carey reportedly wowed her mum by imitating her operatic singing at just two years old. She started vocal lessons when she was four and quickly honed her skills so that after graduating high school she could move to New York City and pursue her dreams.

Who taught Mariah Carey to sing? ›

Carey began vocal training under the tutelage of her mother. Though she was a classically trained opera singer, Patricia Carey never pressured her daughter to pursue a career in classical opera.

Does Mariah Carey sing or lip sync? ›

However, some intrepid users online came quickly to Mariah's defense to point out that she did indeed perform all of her songs live.

How long is Nick Cannon married to Mariah Carey? ›

Cannon, 42, and Carey, 53, were married in 2008 and share two children together, twins Moroccan and Monroe, aged 11. They split in 2014, and their divorce was finalized in 2016.

Did Mariah Carey date Nick Cannon? ›

The former America's Got Talent host eventually began dating Mariah Carey in early 2008 and the pair tied the knot that April. After welcoming son Moroccan and daughter Monroe in 2011, the high-profile couple split in 2014.

Who does Eminem have a crush on? ›

4 Eminem Admits He Has A Crush On Rihanna

They released the hit single, "Love The Way You Lie." They went on to record a few more singles together. It's easy to see Eminem and Rihanna's chemistry. However, Eminem wants to be more than just a duet. Indeed, he even admits that he has a pretty big crush on Rihanna.

What are 3 facts about Mariah? ›

12 facts about Mariah Carey that will blow your mind
  • Mariah Carey's name was inspired by music. ...
  • Mariah used to cut class. ...
  • Mariah kept her singer-songwriter works a secret from her mom. ...
  • Mariah studied cosmetology in Manhattan before making it big.
Apr 20, 2016

What is something unique about Mariah Carey? ›

Carey has an impressive five-octave vocal range.

Basically, Carey can reach five of the eight octaves in the vocal range (this chart is a great visualization of the feat). She sings her lowest note, an F#2, on the Jermaine Dupri song "Sweetheart" and her highest note, a G#7, on her bop "Emotions."

What is the description of Mariah Carey's voice? ›

Mariah Carey has a very impressive soprano vocal range that has a lot of versatility. In classical range terms, she is a lyric coloratura soprano, which is a fancy way of saying that she has a very agile and light upper range that allows her to perform vocal leaps and trills almost effortlessly.

What are 2 facts about Mariah Carey? ›

Top 10 Interesting Facts about Mariah Carey
  • Mariah Carey was named after a song. ...
  • She had a tough childhood. ...
  • She dropped out of school. ...
  • She worked odd jobs while starting as a singer. ...
  • She won two Grammy Awards for her debut album. ...
  • One of her songs holds the title for being the longest running number one song in the charts.
Feb 5, 2023

What diseases does Mariah have? ›

Bipolar disorder and why people don't seek help right away

Type II Bipolar disorder, which Carey suffers from, is a less severe form of this disorder and not as extreme as Type I Bipolar disorder, in which people can suffer full-blown manic episodes.

How old was Mariah when she had a baby? ›

Mariah Carey

One of the most anticipated celebrity births of 2011 was that of then-42-year-old Mariah Carey, who gave birth to twins Moroccan and Monroe, whom she shares with ex-husband Nick Cannon, in April of that year.

Is Mariah a variant of Mary? ›

Mariah is a variation of the feminine name Maria.

Who has 5 octave vocal range? ›

Axl Rose's octave range

This American singer-songwriter, composer, record producer and musician has 5 octaves.

Who has a higher voice than Mariah Carey? ›

Axl Rose

What is Mariah's highest note? ›

On record, Carey's vocal range spans five octaves: from F2 at the lowest end, on her song Sweetheart, to G7 on her track Emotions, her highest recorded note.

What type of vocal range does Mariah Carey have? ›

About 2 to 3 octaves, but for some artists it can reach further, such as Mariah Carey who has a 5-octave vocal range.

Who inspired Mariah Carey? ›

Musical Style and Influences

Mariah's biggest musical influence was Aretha Franklin. Not only was she Mariah's mentor, but she was her friend. Initially Mariah was inspired by the intensity and power in her voice, but on a deeper level, she appreciated how Franklin was a revolutionary.

What are three accomplishments of Mariah Carey? ›

Three of her major achievements include: Billboard's Artist of the Decade (1990s), World Music Awards' Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium and a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1991. Throughout her career, Carey has won 5 Grammy Awards, 19 World Music Awards and 16 Billboard Music Awards.


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