30 Years of Mariah Carey’s “Mariah Carey.”

Released: June 12, 1990

Genre: Pop, R&B.

Label: Columbia

The palace now has a queen.

We know Mariah Carey as a legendary singer-songwriter, producer, actress, philanthropist, entrepreneur, mother of two incredible twins. When you think of legendary women Black singers, we think of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey. However, before she was a legendary queen, she was a teenager with a dream. Born to Patricia & Alfred Roy Carey, the youngest Carey excelled in music and literature.

Under the guidance of her mother (who is a classically trained opera singer,) she began vocal training and after high school, she moved to Manhattan & began singing for Brenda K. Starr..who was known for her emotional ballad “I Still Believe” (which Mariah sang background on, and would later cover for her 1998 compilation album #1s.

After going to a CBS gala with Starr, she handed her demo tape to the head of Columbia Records at the time, Tommy Mottola. Described as a “Cinderella story,” after listening to the tape, he requested the driver to turn around immediately and go find Mariah..but she had left the event by then. He spent the next two weeks trying to find her, and the rest is history.

It was a bidding war between Columbia and another label who was also interested in Mariah. Columbia won in the end, and Mottola signed Carey to work with the top producers Ric Wake, Narada Michael Walden & Rhett Lawrence.

Mariah’s eponymous debut album was released June 12, 1990. It’s success started off slow, but topped the Billboard 200 for eleven consecutive weeks after her first appearance at the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards.

The album spawned five singles, four of which topped the Billboard Hot 100…and began her love affair with that chart speaking that she has 19 number ones to this date. Selling 15 million copies worldwide, Mariah Carey has also been certified 9x platinum by the RIAA.

“Mariah Carey” has not only been deemed a pop & R&B classic, but for jumpstarting one of the greatest success stories in music history. It also challenged how pop culture viewed singers.

Before Mariah & Whitney, Dionne Warwick (ironically Whitney’s first cousin,) was America’s first BLACK pop star. After her, there weren’t many black pop stars until Whitney & Mariah came along. Mariah came out of the gate embracing her blackness (her mother is of Irish descent and father was of Black & Afro-Venezuelan descent) and is credited by breaking down racial barriers between R&B and pop music.

Mariah’s debut album has been complimented for her distinctive vocal capabilities. She’s known for her five octave range, utilization of the whistle register and her mastery of melisma, in which the Guinness World Records deemed Mariah the “Songbird Supreme.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Mariah Carey’s “Mariah Carey.”

Vision of Love

Written by Mariah Carey & Ben Margulies.

The Magna Carta of melisma, Vision of Love was the perfect song to not only be the intro to the album, but to introduce the world to Mariah Carey. It is a love song with pop, gospel, soul and R&B influences. The lyrical content from the song has been noted to speak about a relationship between Mariah and God, or a lover. Mariah has stated that VOL has a connection to her childhood, using her feelings about her life in the songs she writes instead of keeping those past scars bottled up.

Vision of Love was Mariah’s first number one hit record and quickly shot Mariah to stardom. This song has influenced singers to sing, and utilize melisma in their records. A whole QUEEN.

There’s Got to Be A Way

Written by Mariah Carey & Ric Wake.

There’s Got To Be A Way is a song that speaks about the cruel world we live in, and how there is definitely a way to come with a way to connect the world. Mariah denounces poverty, racism and war in a R&B-pop record with elements of gospel.

The theme of social activism in this song still resonates with everything that’s going on in the world 30 years later. In fact, Mariah recently responded to the senseless murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd by singing a snippet of this song.

I Don’t Wanna Cry

Written by Mariah Carey & Narada Michael Walden

Y’all know I am a SUCKER for a Mariah ballad! I Don’t Wanna Cry is my favoriteeeeee song from this album. Why? Because the music people! It is why I call her the Queen of Music. The somber yet soulful R&B ballad tells a tale of a love affair gone sour and how nothing will bring them back to the good times and memories they once shared.

One of my favorite producers Narada Michael Walden worked on this record…and it is crazy how Mariah dislikes the song due to the bad experiences that occurred during the production stages. Nevertheless it became her fourth number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the only first solo act to have their first four singles reach number one on that particular chart.

Someday

Written by Mariah Carey & Ben Margulies

Baby, how could you ever believe…that another could replace me? The one and ONLY?

Mariah showcased her versatility with the uptempo “Someday.” The dance-pop bop contains elements of new jack swing and R&B..and was included on her original demo tape she composed with Ben Margulies. Lyrically the song speaks about Mariah wanting bad karma to happen to the lover who left her. It is Mariah’s 3rd consecutive number one record.

Vanishing

Written by Mariah Carey & Ben Margulies

Vanishing is another highlight from the album that showcases the power of Mariah Carey. The one song she produced from the album, we get Mariah and a piano with gospel like influences. This lady blows us away while telling her lover that their love affair is dwindling.

Live versions of this song is even more remarkable. Like wow!!

All in Your Mind

Written by Mariah Carey & Ben Margulies

All In Your Mind is one of my favorite Mariah songs. Showcasing Mariah’s utilization of the whistle register, not since Minnie Riperton have seen the register sung so beautifully.

Alone in Love

Written by Mariah Carey & Ben Margulies

One thing I love about Mariah’s “Alone In Love.” It stands out on the album to me because…ah. It’s Quiet Storm greatness..and also its not a song you’ll hear on a 90s album. It is timeless, dahhhling.

You Need Me

Written by Mariah Carey & Rhett Lawrence

You Neeeeeeeeeed ME! Another song that showcases Mariah’s versatility as an artist. The rock influenced number has Mariah stating to her lover that she’s not the one to play with, and he better recognize!

Sent from Up Above

Written by Mariah Carey & Rhett Lawrence

Now this is my CUT y’all! If you want to have a playlist of her deep cuts from me, this is the song that’ll be at the top of the list. If you’re intrigued by 70s soul, this is the one.

Sent From Up Above is a soft R&B ballad with the doo wop technique incorporated. I just adore everything about this record. The production. The background vocals. Ahhh. & recently, Mariah has sung a snippet of this song! Like wow.

Prisoner

Written by Mariah Carey & Ben Margulies

That moment when Mariah sounded better than y’ all favorite female rappers! The upbeat number tells a story of how Mariah is not going to be held captive in a love that isn’t right for her anymore.

Love Takes Time

Written by Mariah Carey & Ben Margulies

The grand finale baby! Love takes Time serves as the second single for the album and was Mariah’s second number one. The album was finished and being mastered when she and Margulies wrote the record and made a quick demo.

The song was eventually played on a company plane, and sent to producer Walter Afanasieff, who would go on to collaborate with Mariah for the next decade. Love Takes Time is a song that has Mariah singing mourning the breakup with her ex lover and the title of the song is a confession you’ll heal even though those memories of your ex lover are still fresh in your brain.

Mariah Carey will always reign supreme. 30 years later, Mariah is a respected legend..selling over 200 million records worldwide, holds the record for the most number one singles by a solo artist, songwriter and producer who is a woman on the Billboard Hot 100, holds five Grammys to her name and is the second highest certified artist who is a woman in the United States.

There will never be another Mariah. Here’s to another 30 years of success and happiness. We love and treasure you Mariah! -MJ

Tagged with: