1. In high school, Mariah’s nickname was “Mirage” because she often cut class.
This was a concern for her guidance counselor John Garvey. He encouraged a young Carey to pursue her singing career but also to obtain some marketable skill. In Marc Shapiro’s unauthorized biography, he quotes Garvey: “You could talk to her until you were blue in the face, and it didn’t do any good. When you talked to her about it, she’d let you know it wasn’t that important in her life because she was going to be a rock star.” To which Carey responds, “I don’t blame them for trying to encourage me to do better scholastically because they never saw me sing.”
2. She was named after the song, “They Call the Wind Mariah” from the musical Paint Your Wagon.
It has been mythologized that Carey’s mother sensed greatness in her daughter from birth, hence the strong, theatrical name.
3. Her godmother is R&B icon Patti LaBelle.
And there a lot of perks! According to Aol TV the singer appeared on The Wendy Williams Show and said, “She sends me four bottles of Cristal and she sends me beautiful white flowers, like 100 or 200 flowers. It’s just beautiful.”
4. Before making it as a singer, Carey studied cosmetology in New York City.
According to Biography.com, immediately after gradutating Harborfields High School in Greenlaw, New York. Mariah moved to New York City where she worked as a waitress and a coat check girl — most notably she studied cosmetology. All the while Carey was writing songs and pursuing her dream, largely at night.
5. Mariah has a five octave range.
Her voice is an alto; she can cover all the octaves between an alto and a soprano. According to the BBC, “Such a range is so unusual because the human voice is very limited and we use only a small part of it. This makes it very difficult to expand the vocal range and articulate such high notes. Exploiting the range we do have comes down to physical aspects, like body structure and the length of vocal cords, technique and psychological attitude.” Gillyanne Kayes, a vocal coach/researcher states, “The young Mariah Carey used to sing in a lowish voice and then these stratospheric notes would sound more and more like whistling. It takes a high degree of skill to sing across a range. The colour, or timbre, of a voice is not the same all the way through.”
6. Mariah Carey bought Marilyn Monroe’s white baby grand piano for over $600,000.
Not actually this one. This one is Ringo Starr’s.
Carey purchased the incredible instrument at the auction at Christie’s in 1999. The starlet’s obsession with Monroe is lifelong, perhaps because she saw a bit of herself in the icon. In Chris Nelson’s unauthorized biography, a friend discloses, “Aside from all the negative aspects of her life, she sort of idolized her. She liked the overall concept of being famous and the way Marilyn Monroe came to fame.”
7. She sang back up on Babyface’s 1997 hit “Every Time I Close My Eyes.”
Carey harmonizes on the track, and Kenny G performs a sax solo. It made it to Number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
8. Carey fans are known as her “Lambily.”
According to the Lambily website, Mariah started calling her loved ones, friends, and fans “lambs” in 2000. (There’s something to the equality of the term.) It originated as a term of endearment but has been speculated that it refers to her fans acting like lambs — following the leader.
9. The song “One Sweet Day,” which she recorded with Boyz II Men, holds the longest-running number one song in history.
The song spent 16 weeks in the top position on the Billboard Hot 100. The band and Carey wrote the song together. It’s also notable that Carey has writing and producing credits on almost all of her recorded material, an uncommon practice among many female pop stars.
10. Mariah Carey was supposed to sing on the Hole song “Samantha.”
According to Rolling Stone, Hole singer Courtney Love asked The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way if they would sing the lyric “People like you fuck people like me” on “Nobody’s Daughter” opener “Samantha,” while at director Brett Ratner’s Los Angeles mansion. According to Love, she inquired and heard a “little voice” say “‘I’ll sing it.’ I’m like, ‘Who’s that?’ The voice goes, ‘It’s Mariah.’” Apparently she did sing it — it just was never recorded. Bummer!
11. Mariah Carey suffered a physical and emotional breakdown in 2001.
She spent two weeks recovering in a Connecticut mental hospital, two months before the release of “Glitter.” The cause was extreme exhaustion. The height of her decline was her a bizarre appearance on MTV’s TRL. She showed up unannounced, started to strip off her clothes and said, “If you don’t have ice cream in your life, sometimes you just might go a little bit crazy,” to which host Carson Daly responded, “That’s a metaphor for a lot more, I’m sure.”
12. The Glitter soundtrack was released on September 11, 2001.
The movie came out two weeks later, and was brutally panned. Mariah has since declared it as “the worst day to release a movie,” and that if she could go back in time, she wouldn’t do it.
13. Mariah’s legs are insured for $1 billion.
Her favorite feature, Mariah insured her legs fo $1 billion, following her contract with Gillette’s “Legs of a Goddess” campaign in 2006. At the New York press conference, a sixteen-foot model of the star’s best asset was erected.
14. “Obsessed” is a direct shot at Eminem.
If anyone has a complex relationship/non-relationship, it’s Eminem and Mariah Carey. Eminem has directly referenced songs: “What you trying be? My new wife? / What, you Mariah? Fly through twice” on “Superman” and on “When The Music Stops” suggested that he would “beg Mariah to take [him] back” before censoring his lyrics. According to Complex, “Obsessed” is believed to be a direct reaction to Eminem’s constant references to Carey.
15. Husband Nick Cannon and Mariah have sex to her music.
Nick Cannon admitted on Howard Stern’s radio program that he and Mariah have sex to her music, and when she is away, he masturbates to it. When probed, Cannon responded, ““Why not? Sometimes you gotta be reminded of what’s at home… When you hear Mariah playing it’s going down.”