Mariah Carey: The biggest reveals from her 2020 memoir
Mariah Carey is an enduring star, whose expressive voice & heartfelt lyrics have been the background for many a romance. Yet, she has always been guarded about her private life – at least until 2020.
In her new memoir, The Meaning Of Mariah Carey, the singer discusses growing up in poverty in a violent household, her experiences of racism, her music, her marriages, and much more. Co-written with Michaela Angela Davis, it shines a light on a gripping rags-to-riches story and analyzes the star’s image as a self-deluded diva. Here are some of the more revealing moments from the book.
Carey was exposed to domestic violence at a young age. “By the time I was a toddler, I had developed the instincts to sense when violence was coming,” she recalls in the book.
Carey remembers several incidents between her father Alfred & brother Morgan, writing in her 2020 memoir, “It was not uncommon for holes to be punched in walls or for other objects to go flying.” At the age of six, she called a family friend for help after her mother was assaulted.
With a black father & white mother, Carey recalls many of her friends didn’t realize she was biracial. She even recalled a teacher laughing & saying, “Oh, Mariah, you used the wrong crayon”, when, at age four, she drew her father with brown skin. Carey also describes a traumatic sleepover when a group of girls locked her in a bedroom and repeatedly shouted the n-word at her.
“I was disoriented & terrified and I thought that maybe, if I held on and just kept crying, surely a grown-up would come & stop the assault. But no one came,” she shared. Experiences like these later inspired the song “Outside,” in which Carey sings: “Inherently, it’s just always been strange / Neither here nor there / Always somewhat out of place everywhere / Ambiguous – without a sense of belonging to touch.”
In this 2020 exposé of her life, Carey wrote of being estranged from her older sister, Alison, early in her life. She dropped in & out of Carey’s life, through teenage pregnancy, drug dependency, and suicidal thoughts. Although they shared some tender moments, the singer describes several times she believes Alison puts her at risk.
Carey describes Alison offering her drugs multiple times, including giving her a Valium pill when she was twelve. Carey also claims Alison pimped her out to her then-boyfriend John, a budding panderer, who took Carey to a drive-in movie alone.
Carey describes another incident when she was on the phone with her father and tried to pass it to Alison, who threw hot tea on Mariah, causing third-degree burns. “It took years before I could accept a simple pat on the back,” Carey wrote. For Mariah, this was the last straw with Alison, whom she now calls her ex-sister. “Her arson was deliberate—she burned my back and my trust,” Carey wrote.
Carey married Sony Music executive Tommy Mottola in June 1993 and acknowledges she owes her success, in part, to him. Mottola gave her a record deal and even persuaded her to record a Christmas album, resulting in the multi-million record selling song “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
However, her 2020 chronicle reveals that as a husband Mottola was controlling and jealous. The couple’s $32 million home was “fully staffed with armed guards” and Carey refers to it as “Sing Sing” after the New York maximum-security prison.
Things came to a head in 1996 when Carey recorded a remix of “Always Be My Baby” with hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri and rapper Da Brat in the mansion’s private recording studio. Jonesing for french fries, Carey & Da Brat innocently drove to Burger King. Upon discovering Mariah was not in the house, Mottola allegedly went “berserk” and called out an armed search party.
Beatles best lesson
Many artists look to the Beatles for musical inspiration – but not Mariah. She was more interested in their business affairs. While still a teenager, the singer was offered $5,000 by a publishing company to put one of her songs, “All In Your Mind”, on the soundtrack of a movie.
Turns out though, Carey refused the offer, “I remembered seeing a documentary on “The Beatles” when I was growing up and being shocked that they didn’t have complete ownership of the songs they’d written – the Beatles!” she wrote. “So I knew not to give away all my publishing.”
Carey’s 2020 tell-all includes a little known musical digression in her career. Mariah, of course, is best known for sweeping ballads like “Vision Of Love” and girl–next–door pop songs like “Fantasy” & “Dreamlover”. But in the middle of recording her fifth album Daydream in 1995, she cut a secret alt-rock record, channeling the rage & anger she felt as her marriage fell apart.
“I created an alter–ego artist and her Ziggy Stardust-like spoof band,” Carey explained. “My character was a dark-haired brooding Goth girl who wrote & sang ridiculous tortured songs.” The album was released in 1995 under the pseudonym “Chick”. Song titles like “Love Is A Scam” & “Demented” give some unsubtle clues about Mariah’s state of mind at the time.
“I was playing with the style of the breezy–grunge, punk–light white female singers who were popular at the time,” Carey reveals in her 2020 recollection. “They could be angry, angsty & messy, with old shoes, wrinkled slips, and unruly eyebrows, while every move I made was so calculated & manicured. I wanted to break free, let loose and express my misery – but I also wanted to laugh.”