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festivemomentspow:Mariah Carey, 1991: MARIAH CAREY Not Another White Girl Trying To Sing Black' Daughter of Black father and White mother is hottest new artist By Lynn Norment ARIAH CAREY has a score to settle. Last summer, soon after her debut recording started racing up the record charts, she says a music critic referred to her as "another White girl trying to sing Black." Carey, indisputably the hottest new artist of the year, was infuriated A hit on Black and White charts, Mariah Carey is biggest new pop star since Whitney Houston 54 EB NY March 1991 Continued on Page 56 Denying reports that she is a White star imitating Blacks, talented singer-lyricist poses (left) at New York luncheon. "My father, Carey says, "is Black and Venezuelan, my mother is Irish. That makes me a combination of all those things." MARIAH CAREY Continued sing a certain way. I'm just trying to be Because she and her mother moved And now, here at a luncheon at Lolas me. And if people enjoy my music, often, she didn't have many close n Manhattan, she has the then they shouldn't care what I am, so friends or get involved in high school music programs. Instead, she spent af- straight and "tactfully" correct the Carey says she has always loved to ter-school hours writing songs and ing, and she gives credit and thanks to making demo tapes with longtime ac- perfect opportunity to set the record it shouldn't be an issue erring critic. "Im not a White girl trying to sing her mother for the "genes. Her quaintance Ben Margulies Black," the 20-year-old singer says in mother started giving her vocal lessons I 1987, right after finishing high an interview soon after. “My father is when she was four years old, and she school at age 17, she moved from her Black and Venezuelan, my mother is spent considerable time around her mother's home on Long Island into a Irish. That makes me a combination of mom's musically talented friends, one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan all those things. I am a human being, a soaking up the sounds of Billie Holiday with two other struggling performers During this exceptionally lean period, As a kid, she also spent a lot of time she slept on a mattress on the floor and Though barely out of her teens, Ma- listening to the radio and her sister's worked as a waitress, hat checker and riah Carey is indeed her own woman records. The soulful sounds of Gladys restaurant hostess to make ends meet She grew up in New York with her Knight, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Before and after work, she diligently mother, Patricia Carey, a vocal coach Wonder and Al Green were constant shopped her demo tapes from record and former singer with the New York companions. She sang along and stud- company to record company, but was person. What I am not is a White girl trying to sing Black. and Sarah Vaughan City Opera. Her parents divorced ed the lyrics and arrangements. By basically ignored when she was three, and Carey had an the time she was in high school, Carey ther, Alfred Roy Carey, an aeronautica which appear on her recordin a brother, 29, and a sister, 30.) back on-and-off" relationship with her fa was writing her own songs, several of up to Brenda K. Starr, and she was reg ularly doing studio session work. "We engineer in Washington, D.C. (She has Gospel music was also a great influ became good friends, and she helped ence. On occasion, she accompanied me out a lot," she says of Starr. "She Some people look at me and they her paternal grandmother, who is was always saying, Here's my friend see my light skin and my hair," she says Black, to a Baptist church. Even today, Mariah, here's her tape; she sings Eventually she began running a slender, neatly manicured she says, "I get up and go to bed listen- writes..。。.. hand through her long, semi-curly, ing to gospel music." Her favorites i It was Starr who took Carey to the honey-colored tresses for emphasis. "I clude the Clark Sisters, Shirley Caesar CBS party where she was discovered can't help the way I look, because it's and Edwin Hawkins, in addition to Ar me. I don't try to look a certain way or etha Franklin and Al Green 56 At t Sony Music Entertainment) president Continued on Page 58 EBONY March 1991 ways felt kind of different from every one else in my neighborhoods. I was a different person-ethnically. And sometimes that can be a problem. If you look a certain way everybody goes White girl, and I'd go, No, that's not Carey chose to express her inner- most feelings in her songs rather than become depressed and bitter. You re ally have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, Im proud of what I am and who I am and I'm just going to be myself And for Carey, that translates into being a "respected" singer and song writer. But her phenomenal success has not inflated her head or her bank account, for she has yet to realize any monies from the album's success. The days when she and two struggling roommates stretched out a boxed mac aroni dinner for a week are still too Vivid, she says And, no, I don't let stuff like this go to my head, because success isn't a scale for talent," says the singer. I don't want to be a big star,' but I want to be respected as an artist. I'm de- Black singers, Carey lighted and very thankful [that people Influenced by Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin and other started writing songs ike her work] in high school. She is a big gospel musio fan. "This is my love," she says emphat ically. "I want to sing for the rest of my MARIAH CAREY Continued more than two million copies. In At this point, she sings every chance Tommy Mottola a demo. In return, he ically, Carey wrote "Love Takes Time" she gets. In the studio. During promo gave her a Great-another demo for a second LP. But when Mottola tional stops. In the shower. Around her tape" smile, and Carey assumed it was another dead end. But on leaving the heard it, he insisted on stop g the one-bedroom Upper East Side Marn hattan apartment. To the boyfriend/ affair, Mottola popped the demo into but album, even though some record singer she's known since high school presses and adding the song to her de- his limo's tape deck. He liked what he ings were already in record stores heard so much that he immediately re- To her two Persian cats Carey says she was just as startled as Singing makes me incredibly turned to the party to find Carey. But anyone that Vision of Love" hit so big happy," she says. "Music makes me im she had already left because "it isn't hip-hop music, it isn't measurably h Having no address or telephone house music, and it isn't rap. But I am number did not deter Mottola from so glad and thankful," she says. That tracking her down. Ironically, another song really represents everything in record company had expressed mild interest in Carey, and a bit of a biddii war evolved my life. It is a song from the heart. ing Consider the lyrics: "Prayed through the nights/Felt so alone/Suf In December 1988, she signed with fered from alienation/Carried the CBS Columbia Records. Within a weight on my own/Had to be strong/So week she wrote Vision of Love" for I believed/And now I know I've suc- her debut album. In fact, she wrote ceeded/In finding the place I con- lyrics for all l songs on her self-titled ceived LP, and she even produced Vanish- the lissome artist with the clear, passio- inging "America The Beautiful" at the Just why would such a seemingly tender womanchild write these words Columbia went all-out to promote of despair and sing them with suclh deep passion? nate seven-octave voice, flexing a little "Well, just because you are young clout to get her the coveted task of doesn't mean that you haven't had a hard life," she says with a knowing lit 1989 NBA finals, where she was ex- tle smile. "It's been difficult for me, posed to 16 million people. Both "Vi moving around so much, having to sion of Love" and "Love Takes Time grow up by myself, basically on my have gone gold, and the album has sold own, my parents divorced. And I al EBONY March 1991 festivemomentspow:Mariah Carey, 1991

festivemomentspow:Mariah Carey, 1991