- December 19, 2011
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Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, and released her self-titled debut studio album, Mariah Carey. The album went multi-platinum and spawned four consecutive number one singles, on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. After the success of the album, she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1991. Following her marriage to Mottola in 1993, a series of hit records established her position as Columbia’s highest-selling act. Music Box (1993), was certified diamond and became one of the best-selling albums of all time and Merry Christmas (1994), eventually became the most sucessful holiday album. Daydream (1995), made music history when the lead single “Fantasy” debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, making her the first female artist to accomplish a number one debut in the U.S. The second single, “One Sweet Day” a duet with Boyz II Men, spent a record sixteen weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, and remains the longest running number one song in US chart history. During the recording of the album Carey began to deviate from her pop background, and slowly traversed into R&B and Hip-hop. After her separation from Mottola, this musical change and personal transformation was clearly evident with the release of Butterfly (1997), which she personally considered her best album.
Carey left Columbia in 2000, and signed a record-breaking $100 million recording contract with Virgin Records. In 2001, Carey ventured into film with Glitter (2001). Before the film’s release she suffered a physical and emotional breakdown and was hospitalized for severe exhaustion. Following the film’s poor reception, she was bought out of her recording contract for $50 million, which led to a decline in her career. She signed a multi-million dollar contract deal with Island Records in 2002, and after a relatively unsuccessful period, returned to the top of music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). It became the best-selling album by a solo artist globally of that year, marked by the success of “We Belong Together“, which became the most successful solo single of her music career, and was later named “Song of the Decade” by Billboard. Following Carey’s success with The Emancipation of Mimi, she once again ventured into film, and starred in Precious (2009). Her role in the film was met with critical acclaim, she was awarded the “Breakthrough Performance Award” at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and a NAACP Image Award nomination.
In a career spanning over two decades, Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 1998, she was honored as the world’s best-selling recording artist of the 1990s at the World Music Awards. Carey was also named the best-selling female artist of the millennium in 2000. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the third best-selling female artist in the United States, with 63 million certifiedalbums. With the release of “Touch My Body” (2008), Carey gained her eighteenth number one single in the United States, more than any other solo artist. Additionally, she remains the best-selling international artist in Japan, and holds the top four best-selling albums by a non-Asian artist. Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Carey has won five Grammy Awards, seventeen World Music Awards, eleven American Music Awards and twenty-eight Billboard Music Awards. As part of her artistry, she is often cited as one of the most influential voices in pop music, and is credited for her five-octave vocal range, power, melismatic style and signature use of the whistle register.