Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Wisdom of Mariah

Is she a ditzy diva or a savvy chanteuse? Although she's one of the most successful pop singers in history,
she continue to elude us.
I’d like to say a word on Mariah’s behalf: Mariah makes me laugh. She makes herself laugh, too—breathy chuckles that ripple through our conversation, as if she is leery of taking herself too seriously. She says she will sometimes wake up like that in the middle of the night—laughing. That, of course, is part of the image that Mariah Carey cultivates. It’s part of the charm, too.

“Darling, I’m eternally 12-years-old,” she purrs when the subject of her age is broached, a familiar line, and all part of the act. “I’m going to give her to you,” she says, clicking her fingers with a flourish. “Ready?” And she slides into a 12-year-old girly voice—“Hi”—all fluttering eyelids and adolescent bashfulness.

Carey loves this kind of pantomime. Her first, and most enduring influence was Marilyn Monroe, and you don’t need to spend long in her company to see that the identification runs deep. When I note the dazzling butterfly ring on her finger, she extends her hand theatrically, like a caricature of Monroe’s Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. “This is Van Cleef and it’s missing a diamond, and it is shocking,” she says, faux dramatically, before riffing, “shock and awe, shock and awe—I’m very upset now, Aaron, I gotta tell you.” She pretends to fling her ring across the room, before anticipating how this might read in print: “’It’s missing a diamond,’ She tosses it on a couch.” Another bubble of laughter. “There, I did it, so now you can say I did it.”

Carey traces her obsession with Marilyn Monroe back to her childhood, when she received a copy of Norman Mailer’s hefty biography of the actress as a Christmas gift. “I couldn’t have been more than 10,” she says. “I was a reader as a child, believe it or not.”

“Why should I not believe it?”

“It doesn’t go with the ditzy image, I guess. I have too many highlights!” She breaks into laughter, and I ask if that image—of the ditz—frustrates her. “No,” she replies. “I flirt with it, and I play with it. If it pisses people off, whatever.”

“Marilyn Monroe was pretty smart,” I point out.

“Marilyn was reading Nietzsche on the set of Something’s Got to Give," she responds. "Marilyn Monroe Productions was the first female-owned production company in Hollywood. She paved the way for women in Hollywood, and every single woman owes something to her for that, whether they agree with her image or not.”

It’s tempting to hazard that some of Carey’s struggles, in her personal life and within the entertainment industry, parallel her idol. With both women their public persona served as a disguise for a much more thorough grasp of their circumstances than either is given credit far. Like Monroe, Carey has also experienced the ways in which the entertainment industry tries to control women. In 2005 she told Allure magazine that during her marriage to Tommy Mottola, the chairman of Sony Music, she “ longed for someone to come kidnap me… I used to fantasize about that. A lot. I'd have my pocketbook with me at all times in case I had to make an escape.” It was Mottola, also, who engineered Carey’s most saccharine songs, resisting her efforts to explore other avenues in hip-hop and R&B. She was the biggest selling artist of the '90s, but rarely on her own terms. When she did get her way—such as inviting Ol’ Dirty Bastard from the Wu-Tang Clang to rhyme over her 1995 hit “Fantasy,” the results were inspired, but it wasn’t until her post-divorce 1997 album, Butterfly, that fans got to hear Carey as Carey yearned to be heard.

The toll of all those years must have been immense. The first Mariah Carey album was released in 1990, spawning four number one singles in the U.S. She has been a hit-making machine ever since, dropping albums approximately every 18 months, and generally burnishing her reputation as the most successful woman in pop of all time. That well-worn line about being eternally 12-years-old is no mere vanity. It’s her pressure valve.

“As a kid I literally made this pact,” she says, recalling an incident from her tough-as-nails childhood on Long Island. “There had been some sort of argument with my mom and the man she was dating at the time, and somehow I became a part of it—I was around 8 or 9 years old, and I said, ‘I’m never going to forget how it feels to be a kid, and you can’t be seen or heard.’ It’s as though your opinion doesn’t mean anything, or your feelings are not real.”

It was also as a kid that Carey found her voice. “I started singing when I started talking,” she says. “My mother was doing Rigoletto—she’s from the Midwest, but she got a scholarship to Juliard and came to New York, this young girl with the high shorts on, meets my father who she thought was Yul Bryner, driving around in a Porsche—there weren’t many bald black men driving around in a Porsche and he was fly.” The marriage lasted just three years, and Carey spent her childhood dealing with the dichotomies of her mixed-race background, neither white enough, nor black enough, to fully belong anywhere. “Being biracial is so much a part of who I am that it’s almost, ‘let it go already,’ ” she says. “But it’s intrinsic to me, but I think a lot of my fans relate to me because they felt different.”

There is also the small matter of being a mother herself, now, to fraternal twins Morocco and Monroe (from her second marriage, in 2008, to the multi-hyphenate Nick Cannon whose Wikipedia entry lists him as actor, comedian, rapper, entrepreneur, record producer, radio and television personality). “Pulling them away from me is so hard,” Carey says. “It’s unconditional love, and I never, ever thought I was going to have kids—ever.” Why did she think she would never have kids? “I remember as a child saying I’m never going to get married; I’m never going to have kids.” She pauses. “Here’s the thing: would I have been better off if my parents stayed married? No way. They were miserable together, but the grass is always greener. I feel I had a great childhood in some ways—and that’s an amazing thing to be able to say—but I also feel I didn’t because I was the caretaker and I still am, like it started long before I had any financing.”

Her explanation for wanting to purchase Marilyn Monroe’s baby grand piano at auction in 1999 is instructive. “It was her only piece of the childhood she’d never had,” she says. “It was very important for her to find something to cling to.”

One reason Carey has developed such a strong and rewarding friendship with the director Lee Daniels, who cast her in Precious, is that both can connect over their hardscrabble childhoods; both, also, grew up feeling like outsiders. “He brings out the schoolgirl in me,” Carey laughs. “You can’t lose the inner child, but everybody does.”

Carey’s schoolgirl plays better with some audiences than with others. At the OUT100 Awards in New York last November, she generated rousing cheers and whoops from several thousand gay men assembled to see her present an award to Daniels. “I’m a straight girl—I don’t really know why they asked me to be here, but my boobs have been out for years,” she joked, channeling a drag queen shtick as she flapped a lacy black fan against her face. By contrast, she shudders at the memory of an appearance with Daniels at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2010.

“We didn’t really know what we were walking into, but it was a pretty conservative crowd,” she recalls, name-checking Sean Penn, Sidney Poitier, and Clint Eastwood, among the attendees. “Lee calls me Kitten, and I call him Cotton, it was just a private joke, on stage, on champagne, and nobody got it but us, and the world was like, WTH, WTF, we don’t understand.” That appearance is one of several that are routinely aggregated in online symposia assessing Carey’s state of mind.

The most notorious remains an unscheduled appearance on the VH1 show, Total Request Live, in July 2001, when Carey surprised the host, Carson Daley, by pushing an ice cream cart on to the set, before whipping off her T-shirt to reveal snug hot pants and a body-hugging top underneath. That incident, in which she told the live audience, “I just want one day off when I can go swimming and eat ice cream and look at rainbows,” was widely viewed as a nadir in Carey’s career, and came shortly before the release, on September 11, 2001, of Glitter—the soundtrack to her semi-autobiographical movie. The extensive panning that both movie and album received knocked her career for six and lead to the annulment of her $100 million, five-album contract with Virgin Records.

Even now with Carey’s career back on the rails—her best-selling 2005 album, The Emancipation of Mimi, easily saw off the spectre of Glitter—the web is a viper’s nest of snarky asides about Carey’s less-scripted moments. In 2008, the woman’s interest site Jezebel—usually a citadel of indignation at the ritual humiliations that women undergo—resurrected that TRL clip with the headline, “Remember when Mariah Carey Went Crazy.” But for those less wrapped up in her baby doll image, that appearance made Carey likable, real, and true. Who doesn’t sometimes feel it’s all too much? Who does not, in their heart of hearts, pine to spend a day swimming and eating ice cream? How much more preferable that sounds to being ground down by the mill of expectation.

Sitting in the hotel suite, with its tasteful arrangement of white roses, and the fancy Diptyque candle, and the glasses of Prosecco, it’s hard to tell whether Carey is on or off-script this particular evening. She talks in a gush, changing direction mid-sentence, forcing me to keep up with the zigzags in her conversation. One minute she is talking about her nodules (“That’s how I hit those notes because I’ve learned to manipulate them somehow); the next she is tugging at the back of her dress. “The zippers to these dresses,” she says, all good-natured exasperation and curves and smiles. “They make them and they break; it doesn’t matter how much you pay for it, they frickin’ break. There was a seamstress there, but she had gone; they had to call her back—Natalia from Italia. So, it took a minute to get our tiny tailor and everybody to come back, and here we are, Aaron—I apologize, truly.”

It takes a moment to realize this wardrobe malfunction is Carey’s explanation for her three-hour delay, a familiar drill to those who’ve interviewed her before. Some 14 of us were lined up to chat to her that night, a veritable conveyor belt of platitudes and sound bites, predicated on the imminent release of her 14th album, formerly known as The Art of Letting Go, and later to be titled Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. We’d each been promised an exclusive playback, prior to meeting Carey, but a long-running series of delays and false dawns meant there was still no album to play. Instead, we listen to three songs, all previously issued: “#Beautiful,” a duet with Miguel, “The Art of Letting Go,” and “You’re Mine (Eternal)”, released on Valentine’s Day. None of these have yet succeeded in setting the charts alight, and the album’s birthing problems gave rise to rumors of deeper, underlying issues. Carey’s post-Mottola career has been distinguished by big hits and modest hits, but lately it’s the column of modest hits that gets longer. Carey’s last album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, sold just over 2 million worldwide, compared to 12 million for The Emancipation of Mimi, which earned eight Grammy nominations (and three wins).

Carey insists she just wants to get the album right. “I want the album to be heard and felt [as] an experience,” she says. “I don’t want to just be, like, ‘Here’s another iTunes moment,’ and this and that. Back then I allowed people to—how do I say it?—dictate policy to me, meaning if I didn’t like something they didn’t care. I listened to people—I was, like, ‘Fine, cool, do whatever.’ So now I’m just being adamant.”

But does Carey feel at all anxious that, at 44, she may soon have to reckon with the challenge of pop culture’s fixation with youth, a whole lot harder for women than for men. When I point out that she’s been a pop star for 25 years (her first number one singles in the U.S. was 1990’s "Vision of Love") Carey goes into full-on Eartha Kitt mode. “First of all, don’t round up,” she admonishes. “If you’re going to round, round down!” There is that laugh again. She continues: “I don’t count years, but I definitely rebuke them—I have anniversaries, not birthdays, because I celebrate life, darling.” As if realizing this is almost too much a caricature of a diva, she adds, “Please put an LOL next to this, because people are going to be, like, WTF?”

Of course, there is no written rule that a musician must find a way to keep putting out platinum-selling albums. Carey’s musical hero, Aretha Franklin, hasn’t had a major album since 1985’s Who’s Zoomin Who?, released when Franklin was 43, and her last commercially significant single was a 1987 duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting.” Carey, who describes her first meeting with Franklin like meeting the Queen, says she already received the ultimate accolade last Christmas when she got to sing with Franklin at the tree-lighting ceremony at the White House. “Of course, me—like an idiot—stands there and sings, with no umbrella, in the rain, my hair was destroyed, after I went through so much trouble in my white ensemble, and Aretha, she had her umbrella, she had everything, it was magical, and she walked by my trailer singing, (Carey’s massive hit) ‘All I want for Christmas is you.’ ”

Carey begins to laugh. She is still laughing as a publicist ushers me out of the room to make way for the next writer. It’s a genuine laugh, and long after I leave the hotel, I can hear it, tinkling in my ears.

(Source: Out Magazine)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mariah Carey launches “Butterfly” beverage

Mariah Carey is getting in the beverage business. Following the No. 3 debut of her album, the Elusive
Chanteuse held a press conference at the St. Regis in New York on Monday to announce the launch of her Go N’Syde bottle Butterfly. With the company’s founder Kevin Liles by her side, Mariah sipped from a champagne glass.

The drink, which comes in a pretty pink bottle, is described as “a melodic beverage inspired by the magic of Mariah Carey.”

By holding a smartphone up to the bottle, fans will be able to access an entertainment network curated by Mariah.

Butterfly will be available in Walgreens nationwide and at all Manhattan Duane Reade locations.

To view pictures from the launch event, please click here!

(Source: Rap Up)

Friday, June 6, 2014

NBC gets sour note as World Music Awards miss air date

The World Music Awards is turning into a disaster of global proportions. Confidenti@l has learned that the multimillion-dollar broadcast - already delayed a week because of a series of screw ups blamed on
"technical difficulties" - will likely never see the light of day.

The flashy ceremony, which includes performances by Miley Cyrus and Mariah Carey, was taped May 27 in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and scheduled to be broadcast on NBC the following day. But host Sharon Stone dropped out at the 11th hour over a payment problem and was hurriedly replaced by Pamela Anderson and "Talk Dirty" singer Jason Derulo.

After the last-minute fill-ins were found, the show ended up running so late that there wasn't enough time to do the cuts and editing for broadcast. It failed to make the two-hour 8 p.m. slot reserved by NBC. According to a source, the network - which scrambled at the last minute to fill the airtime with a repeat of "Last Comic Standing" - was promised an edited version by late last week, but is still waiting for the final cut.

Now we're told NBC execs are livid over the mess and planning to pull the plug altogether. "NBC has said that they're cutting their losses and dropping the broadcast," says an insider. "It's already caused too many problems and too much embarrassment. They've lost their patience with the whole thing. The 'WMA' team are desperately doing everything they can to convince NBC execs to air it, but the chances are looking bleak," the insider said. "They're hoping they can come up with a version that's so great, NBC can't refuse it." A second insider said it would be unfair of NBC to bury the production. "It would be really terrible to let down all the artists and the record labels and managers who sent them to Monaco on the understanding that the show would air in prime time on NBC," said the source.

In addition to running the awards, the "WMA" organization does charity work. According to its website, it has built 23 hospitals, schools and orphanages around the world. For now, fans of musicians who were at the show - which salutes artists from all over the world - can see who won on Twitter, which live-tweeted the event.

The awards were founded in 1989 and have doled out prizes to Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi, among others. The show went on hiatus in 2010; this year was supposed to bring its return to TV. A rep for NBC did not return a request for comment.

(Source: New York Daily News)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

'Elusive' Sales for Mariah Carey's New Album

Mariah Carey collects her 17th top 10 album on the Billboard 200 chart as Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive
Chanteuse enters at No. 3 with 58,000 sold in the week ending June 1 (according to Nielsen SoundScan). Her last non-holiday studio effort, 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, also debuted at No. 3, but with 168,000.

The debut of "Elusive is Carey's smallest opening for a non-holiday studio effort since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991. Her previous low came when 1991's Emotions launched at No. 4 with 156,000. Carey has tallied six No. 1 albums between 1991 and 2008.

Chanteuse was released on May 27 by Def Jam Records -- nearly five years after her last non-holiday studio album, 2009's Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel. Notably, this is her longest gap between studio projects.

Chanteuse was tentatively earmarked for a release in March 2013, but was then pushed to July 23, then to May 6, 2014 and finally May 27. The promotion for the new set arguably started in August 2012 with the release of the single "Triumphant (Get 'Em)," a song which does not appear on Chanteuse. The new album's most recently charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 was "You're Mine (Eternal)," which spent one week on the list, peaking at No. 88 (on the March 1-dated chart).

The set previously logged a No. 15 hit with "#Beautiful," featuring Miguel," in June 2013. Comparably, the Memoirs album launched with the No. 7-peaking single "Obsessed." (Carey holds the mark for the most Hot 100 No. 1s, 18, among soloists. Among all acts, only the Beatles, with 20, have more.)

Between "Triumphant" and "You're Mine (Eternal)," Carey released a few other singles with varying results.

In early 2013, she bowed the track "Almost Home" from the film "Oz the Great and Powerful." It reached No. 20 on the Adult Contemporary airplay chart, and does not appear on The Elusive Chanteuse. After that, "#Beautiful" became a significant hit, reaching No. 15 on the Hot 100 and No. 3 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Then, in November of last year, Carey issued the song "The Art of Letting Go," which missed the Hot 100, but did reach No. 46 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

(Source: Billboard)

Mariah Carey's "Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse" is #1 on Soundscan R&B Albums

ME. I AM MARIAH... THE ELUSIVE CHANTEUSE, released May 27th on Def Jam Recordings, the brand new album by multi-platinum global super­star Mariah Carey, is greeted with critically overwhelming raves across the board, and soars to #1 on the iTunes pop chart in 33 countries including the U.S. The new album also debuted at #1 on the Soundscan R&B Albums chart, which marks her 15th Top 5 album.

In support of the album, Mariah sat down with NBC's Matt Lauer for a one-time only exclusive rare and

personal prime time interview in her home last week which won the network and demographic timeslot. "Mariah Carey: At Home In Concert With Matt Lauer" aired release week (Saturday May 31st). As a compassionate philanthropist, Mariah was honored last week and received the Hero Award from The Fresh Air Fund for her work as founder of Camp Mariah, a retreat for inner city children to explore career development. The benefit raised over $1.5 million dollars for The Fresh Air Fund.

As executive producer of ME. I AM MARIAH… THE ELUSIVE CHANTEUSE, nearly every track on the album (with the exception of a cover of George Michael's #1 classic "One More Try" and the uplifting, inspirational, and emotionally charged album closer, her tribute to the late Reverend James Cleveland, "Heavenly (No Ways Tired/Can't Give Up Now)" was written and produced by Mariah. Two different exclusive album configurations with distinctive artwork are available, the Standard Edition (15 tracks) and the Deluxe Edition (18 tracks). This marks Mariah's first new album release since her worldwide best-selling Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel in 2009.

Steve Bartels, CEO of Def Jam Recordings, says "It is wonderful to see Mariah, the iconic artist, stay true to herself and deliver a carefully crafted body of work that will once again showcase her mass appeal across an enduring legion of worldwide fans."

Mariah Carey is the best-selling female artist of all time with more than 200 million albums sold to date and 18 Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles (17 self-penned), more than any solo artist in history. Mariah is a singer/songwriter/producer recognized with multiple Grammy Awards, 21 American Music Awards, Billboard's "Artist of the Decade" Award, the World Music Award for "World's Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium," and BMI's "Icon Award" for her outstanding achievements in songwriting, to name a few – with her distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific songwriting, and producing talent,Mariah is truly the template of the modern pop performance. Mariah Carey's ongoing impact transcends the music industry to leave an indelible imprint upon the world at large. Mariah Carey made her entree into the world of independent film with her breakthrough performance for her role in WiseGirls staring alongside academy award winner Mira Sorvino and Melora Walters. In 2009, she was recognized with the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Spring International Film Festival for her critically acclaimed role in Lee Daniel's "Precious" and most recently appeared in his latest stellar ensemble in "The Butler" (2013). A Congressional Award recipient, Mariah has generously donated her time and energy to a range of philanthropic causes near to her heart including Save the Music, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, World Hunger Relief, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, among many others. A tremendous supporter of children's charities, both domestic and international, Mariah founded Camp Mariah in partnership with the Fresh Air Fund, a retreat for inner city children to explore career development.

(Source: Def Jam Recordings)

LambzRus alternate cover artwork for Me I Am Mariah...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mariah Carey plans to release “You Don’t Know What to Do” as next single!

After releasing three singles that have not generated much success, having released an excellent new
promotional song ‘Thirsty‘ with a high potential as an official single, but ultimately discarded, after the confirmation by Mike Will Made-It that ‘Faded‘ is the next single via his twitter account.

The pop diva continues promoting her fourteenth studio album ‘Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse‘, released on May 27, 2014 via Def Jam. Now, she’s planning to release the fan-Favorited track “You Don’t Know What to Do” as the next official single and it’s confirmed by Jermaine Dupri.

The song was exclusively premiered live on TODAY Show on May 16th and it was instantly one of the most eagerly awaited to hear the studio version included on the album. It was a wise decision editing as a single, because the production has a high potential to get a good spot in the Billboard Hot 100.
“You Don’t Know What to Do” was written by Carey, with the collaboration of Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, Olubowale Akintimehin, Patrick Adams and Terri Gonzalez. It was produced by Carey, Dupri and Cox. It has the guest vocals of American rapper Wale.

The song is expected to impact American pop radio in June, and it has two versions with and without rap. And apparently ‘Faded‘, will be an official single too, but planned for later.

(Source: LambzRus)

DOWNLOAD: Mariah Carey - 3 songs (Live on Today 2014-05-16) 1080i HDTV




DOWNLOAD: Mariah Carey: At Home in Concert With Matt Lauer 1080i HDTV