Imagine that moment when Mariah Carey raises that single finger to check her pitch while singing—now, add 29 more fingers to it. That’s how many years it’s been since the iconic singer released her debut album. Yes, 30! Wow, time flies.
In a recent interview with Vulture to celebrate the momentous occasion, Carey reminisced and reflected on a few key moments of her life and career, including her biggest-ever song, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” If you can believe it, the song has raked in an estimated $60 million-plus in royalties since it premiered from her 1994 holiday album.
Also, since fans are anticipating her long-awaited memoir with Michaela Angela Davis, The Meaning of Mariah Carey (which drops on Sept. 29), of course, this interview served as a good preview of the even more vulnerable and unfiltered Carey. “There’s so much more dragging that could have been done,” she tells Vulture. “I really didn’t say everything.”
The most oft-discussed thing is her biracial identity, and how colorism factors in her success.
“The truth is I will never say I had the same experience as a darker-skinned woman,” Carey starts in. She acknowledges the privilege in her being accepted by white audiences and a white-run music industry, but to her, it also means “having a white mother, and being forced to live in white neighborhoods, and feeling ashamed that there is nobody visibly Black there … and I’m being so real right now that I want to edit myself,” she pauses.
“Believe you me, I’m not thrilled to be this skin tone all the time.” Then she launches into the questions she has asked herself her whole life and maybe continues to ask: “How was I supposed to fit in? I was, like, the only one that’s this weird mutant, mutt — using an antiquated phrase that I’m not asking anyone else to ever use again, but I’m embracing it — mulatto girl. I’m not even embracing it. It’s a horrible way of defining somebody. It actually means ‘mule.’ ”
Whatever it did for her career, she says, it also “distanced me from the comfort of support and protection from some Black people. Which is an even deeper kind of a pain, pile of pain, if that makes sense. It’s been a lot.”
Speaking of the book, Carey also reflected on the fact that so many of her peers are gone, including Whitney Houston and Prince, and opened up about how the fact that she was among the few who actually lived to write her own story made her feel.
“Jay [as in Z] has that great story of when we were all there together at the club and Prince was taking so long to perform? Whatever, it’s a long story, but he didn’t go on until like 5 a.m. with Chaka Khan, who was having Hennessy and smoking and still singing like a trumpet, and it was amazing. It was amazing,” she recounted.
Mariah’s Carey’s life is amazing.