Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey's solo career began after a chance meeting with Columbia Records bigwig Tommy Mottola. Upon signing with Columbia, Carey immediately got to work on a string of hit albums, cutting her teeth on lively dance-pop fare like "Emotions" and "Someday" and powering through brash ballads like "Vision of Love" and "Hero." Carey's first four albums were wildly successful; 1995's Daydream topped off at a jaw-dropping 25 million copies sold worldwide.


Daydream was the first of many dalliances with hip-hop for Carey, who was quickly outgrowing her squeaky-clean conservative image. The Tom Tom Club-sampling "Fantasy" broke records as the first single by a female artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. "Fantasy" went on to spawn the legendary Bad Boy remix, featuring a scene-stealing guest verse from the Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard. Boyz II Men assisted Carey on the mournful but triumphant "One Sweet Day," whose four-month stay at the top of the Billboard Singles chart has yet to be bested. Carey's next few albums went on to cement her new role as a sexy R&B diva rubbing elbows with Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg, and many more.


In 2001, Mariah tried her hand at acting, taking the lead role in the loosely autobiographical Glitter. The film's slapdash, ill-conceived script coupled with the singer's own inexperience as an actress torpedoed the movie and the accompanying soundtrack. Mariah Carey's next work, 2002's middling Charmbracelet, barely broke platinum sales in the U.S. Just when things were looking bleakest, the runaway success of 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi provided Mariah's career with a much needed shot in the arm. Thanks to smash singles "We Belong Together" and "Shake It Off," Mimi went on to become Carey's best-selling album in a decade. Mimi and its sequel laid the latticework for a major career resurgence that Carey continues to ride to this day.


In 2009, she made her return to acting, this time garnering praise for her gritty role as a down-to-earth social worker in the Academy Award-winning Precious. Mariah Carey has seen astounding highs and dizzying lows throughout her decades-long career, but her five-octave vocal range, songwriting talent, and curvaceous good looks has proven to have staying power. ~Craig Jenkins

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