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October 5, 2012 Page 43

Neighbor By judy s. klinghoffer


hen “American Idol” begins airing in January, hundreds of would-be songbirds will find themselves looking into the eyes of three new judges—country star Keith Urban, outrageous rapper Nicki Minaj, and the woman whose style most of them have tried to imitate—Mariah Carey. Pick any one of her 18 top 100 singles, which, according to Billboard, nudges her ahead of Elvis and right behind the Beatles for the most songs in the top 100, and you will hear in a heartbeat why Carey has influenced a generation of young singers. This influence has been so enormous that Sean Daly of The St. Petersburg Times wrote that the “American Idol” hopefuls seemed to fall into three categories—“The talented kids, the weird kids, and the Mariahs.” With a five-octave range, a vocal quality that ranges from R & B smokysultry-sexy to an insanely high register worthy of the “Queen of the Night,” all wrapped up in a mastery of the melisma, Carey has many admirers and imitators, but no equal. Born on Long Island, Carey now has an estimated wealth of $500 million, a lingerie closet in her home that was featured on “MTV Cribs,” and bona fide status as a diva. But before “Visions of Love,” Carey’s first hit single, took over the airwaves in 1990, Carey’s life was waiting tables, taking odd jobs, and getting a lot of doors slammed in her face. Carey’s father was an African-American aeronautical engineer and her mother an Irish-American opera singer and vocal coach. Mariah’s music talent was evident early on. Carey heard her mother practicing one of Gilda’s arias from Rigoletto, and imitated her, singing in Italian, just as her mother had done. She was three years old. By high school, Carey had started writing poetry and setting her words to music. With session drummer Ben Margulies, Carey co-wrote and recorded a foursong demo that she shopped around. By now, Carey was sharing an apartment in the city with four other girls, waiting tables, and trying unsuccessfully to get someone in the recording industry to spark to her demo. It was ’80s pop star Brenda K. Starr, who became friends with Carey and passed the demo to Tommy Mottolo, head of Columbia Records, at an industry party. What happened next has been called a Cinderella story. After playing the demo on his way home, Mottolo was so impressed with Carey’s voice he turned the car around and returned to the party to find her. Carey had already gone home. Mottolo spent the next two weeks trying to find her, eventually reaching her through Starr’s management. Mottolo signed Carey, and her first self-titled album gave her four singles

Mariah Carey SINGER

Carey imitated her mother practicing arias from Rigoletto. She was 3 years old. that all reached number one on the charts. During her Columbia years, Carey released her Emotions and Music Box albums, which gave Carey one of her biggest hits, “Hero.” That same year, Carey and Mottolo married in front of a star-studded guest list that included Barbara Streisand and Billy Joel. Next for Carey was Merry Christmas, a holiday album that included “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which became an instant holiday classic and provided the climactic moment in the film Love Actually. As Carey’s career continued to flourish, her marriage to Mottolo floundered. In 1997, they would divorce, creating a strained atmosphere

for Carey professionally as well. In 2000, she would jump ship to Virgin Records, signing on the dotted line for a payday of $100 million for a fivealbum deal. Carey would later describe her experience at Virgin as “a complete and total stress-fest,” and would soon move to Island Records. After that first wave of consistent success, Carey’s career was experiencing growing pains. She was also trying her hand at acting, often receiving praise for her performances even in projects that were less successful with critics. The Emancipation of Mimi, Carey’s 2005 release, brought the singer back to prominence with hits like “We Belong Together” and “Shake It Off.” Mimi earned Carey 10 Grammy nods. She took home three awards, for Best Contemporary R &B Album, Best R & B Song and Best Female R&B Performance. Even Carey’s personal life hit a new high. She met actor Nick Cannon while filming the music video for “Bye Bye.” They married on her estate in the Bahamas. Her acting career was flourishing, too, with a role as a social worker in the hit film Precious, earning her praise from Variety, which described her acting as “pitch perfect.” Carey sang at Obama’s Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, and joined Tony Bennett on his Duets album. On her third wedding anniversary, Carey gave birth to twins Monroe and Moroccan, after a difficult pregnancy marked by high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Motherhood didn’t seem to slow down Carey’s output as a singer/songwriter. She was soon working on her 14th album, due to be released in spring 2013, and over the past summer released the first single “Triumphant.” Also in 2013, look for Carey to star in The Butler, sharing the big screen with acting notables, Jane Fonda, Forrest Whittaker, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey, and Alan Rickman. Of course, Carey will be gracing the small screen with her current stint as “American Idol” judge, netting her $18 million to listen to a lot of wouldbe’s trying to sound like Mariah Carey. Since husband Cannon has been hosting “America’s Got Talent” since 2009, the couple has serious creds in reality TV. For the past three years, Cannon and Carey have been enjoying summers in the Hamptons, renting suitable digs for their lifestyle. One summer, “suitable” was Tommy Hilfiger’s five-bedroom East Hampton home with a rental price tag of $350,000. With 1-year-olds Monroe and Moroccan in tow this year, the couple opted for a 7,500 square foot, 6-bedroom, 6.5 bath North Haven home sitting on a very private two acres. The home, which has a $15 million price tag, has a negative edge pool, floating cabanas, and smart house functions that can all be operated from an iPad. Not bad at all for a “local girl.”

Dan's Papers October 5, 2012  

Dan's Papers October 5, 2012 Issue

Dan's Papers October 5, 2012  

Dan's Papers October 5, 2012 Issue