Mariah Carey Biography: Life and Career of the Pop Diva
Mariah Carey Biography: Life and Career of the Pop Diva

Mariah Carey Biography: Life and Career of the Pop Diva

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Born March 27th, 1970 in Huntington, New York, Mariah Carey struggled with racial discrimination as a result of her mixed racial heritage early on in life. She overcame this to pursue her dream in music and was discovered in the late '80s by Tommy Mottola. After her self-titled debut spawned several number one singles, Carey continued to top the charts throughout the '90s thanks to her incredible and incomparable voice and popular songs. The 2000s saw her suffer some personal and professional problems but soon, she was back on her feet with more number one singles, another marriage and a gig on "American Idol." In this video, takes a look at the life and career of Mariah Carey.

This diva’s career has been a sweet sweet fantasy, baby. Welcome to, and today we’re taking a look at the life and career of Mariah Carey.

Growing Up

Mariah Carey was born March 27th, 1970 in Huntington, New York. With an African-American and Venezuelan father and an Irish mother, Carey endured much racial discrimination, and her parents’ divorce drove her to find solace in music. Early vocal training came from her opera singING mother, and she began writing her own songs in high school.

Tommy Mottola

After graduation, she moved to Manhattan and worked on a demo. Thanks to pop singer Brenda K. Starr, Carey’s tape landed with Columbia Records head Tommy Mottola, who was so impressed he signed her within weeks.


Spanning R&B, pop and soul, Carey’s 1990 eponymous debut showcased her singing through slow and upbeat tracks. Positive critical response, multiple number-one singles and two Grammys eventually helped the record climb to number one the next year.

Successful Second Record

1991’s Emotions gave her another number one when the title cut became her fifth consecutive single to top Billboard’s Hot 100.

Unplugged on MTV

Next, Carey quieted detractors who believed she was a studio-produced artist by demonstrating her multiple octave range on “MTV Unplugged.” That successful acoustic performance produced a top five EP and another number one single.

Marriage and More Number Ones

In 1993, Carey wed Mottola and topped the charts with the more pop-influenced Music Box. It became one of the best-selling albums ever and generated the number ones, “Dreamlover” and “Hero.” The worldwide star also faced her stage fright with a small North American tour.

Holiday Music

Then, after her top two duet with Luther Vandross, Carey released the successful holiday record, Merry Christmas.

Topping the Charts

With its R&B and hip hop flavors, 1995’s Daydream put Carey back on top and produced three number ones. “Fantasy” made Carey the first female artist to have a song debut at number one, while “One Sweet Day,” her duet with Boyz II Men, made history by spending 16 weeks at number one. However, despite six nominations, Carey left the Grammy ceremony empty-handed the next year.

Separation and Independence

After separating from Mottola, she demonstrated her newfound independence on the more hip-hop-inspired Butterfly. That 1997 album saw Carey modify her singing style and flaunt her feminine appeal in accompanying music videos.

Oscar Win

The next year, Carey compiled her thirteen chart-toppers for #1s, and included her Oscar-winning duet with Whitney Houston for “The Prince of Egypt” movie.

Making History

1999’s Rainbow yielded two number ones, with “Heartbreaker” making her the first artist to top the charts in every year of that decade.

Personal and Professional Problems

Unfortunately, she left her label after increasing problems. And, despite a subsequent $100 million contract with Virgin Records, she suffered personal troubles that resulted in her hospitalization. To add fuel to the fire, Carey’s film “Glitter” and its soundtrack were critical and commercial disasters.

Mixed Reviews

After finding a home with Island Records, she received mixed reviews for her vocals on 2002’s Charmbracelet. Her ensuing well-received world tour proved she hadn’t lost her touch.

Back on Top

She returned to topping the charts with 2005’s musically diverse and personal The Emancipation of Mimi. Meanwhile, the singles “We Belong Together” and “Shake It Off” made Carey the first female artist to conquer the top two spots of the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously.

Breaking Records and Second Marriage

After a successful showing at the 2006 Grammys, Carey became the solo artist with the most American chart-toppers thanks to her eighteenth number one, “Touch My Body” in 2008. Its parent album, E=MC2, also went to number one. During production for the music video “Bye Bye,” Carey began dating future husband Nick Cannon.


In 2009, she appeared in the positively reviewed drama “Precious” and dropped the top five effort, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. She came out with Merry Christmas II You the following year.

Twins and “American Idol”

The next two years saw Carey give birth to twins and collaborate with numerous artists. She also released the song “Triumphant (Get ‘Em).” By 2013, Carey was an “American Idol” judge, but she continued to act and work on her music.

Musical Legacy

Mariah Carey is a musician, philanthropist and businesswoman who has influenced many thanks to her incomparable vocal range and singing style. With over 200 million albums sold, the songbird supreme also brought R&B and hip hop to the masses and is one of history’s best-selling artists.