|From Science World
Pitch hitter - Mariah Carey
The reception was slamming. The newlyweds had just completed their first dance. Now it was time for the deejay to drop a dime.
"Here we go," he said as he cued up a record. "This is from the voice of one extraordinary canary, Miss Mariah Carey, and she calls it 'Emotions.'"
First came the funky bass, then the lovely soprano voice. Within seconds the dance floor was packed.
"Did you hear the note that child just hit?" my partner asked as she twirled around. "She sings like an angel."
"That's Mariah Carey," I responded.
"Well, baby, she's got a voice that's made in heaven."
I smiled. Had anyone other than my 70-year-old cousin Mollie made this comment, I simply would have agreed. But I couldn't let this slide. You see, Cousin Mollie only listens to opera singers like Luciano Pavarotti, Kathleen Battle, and that crew. But here she was giving it up for Mariah.
Obviously Cousin Mollie was reading my mind.
"Boy, don't look at me like that," Mollie said as she snapped her fingers. "That girl can saang!"
Cousin Mollie isn't the only person who thinks so. In 1990 Carey took the world by storm with her debut album. Now, three albums later, the 22-year-old soprano gets maximum respect from critics and music lovers alike. Her most valuable assets: a soulful delivery and an incredible four-and-a-half-octave range. Carey can hit notes so low they make you think of a tugboat horn, notes as high as the high note of a penny whistle, plus every note in between.
The soul comes from Mariah's feelings about her music. The range comes from her ability to do things with her vocal cords that mere mortals just can't.
STRIKE A CORD
Here's what we do have in common with Mariah: Whenever we sing--or speak--the sound comes from our vocal cords, leathery folds of tissue inside the voice box, or larynx, in the throat. As air passes up through the opening between the cords, they ripple, or vibrate, like flags flapping in the breeze. Those vibes produce the sound.
You can't usually feel it when it happens, but when you change the pitch--highness or lowness--of your voice, what you're doing is tightening or loosening your vocal cords. The tighter you stretch 'em, the faster they'll vibrate. The faster they vibrate--the higher the frequency of the vibes--the higher the note.
Most singers are limited to a range of an octave or two--maybe 16 consecutive whole notes, max. But through years of training--for example, singing scales every day for 20 minutes at a stretch since the time she could walk--Carey has gradually increased the flexibility of her vocal cords.
Now she can scale octave after octave, starting with that bass note, where her vocal cords are vibrating at a frequency of 220 hertz (220 vibes/sec), and climbing all the way to those incredible high notes in "Emotions." On those notes, her vocal cords are stretched so tightly that they vibrate at something like 3,500Hz--nearly the highest note on a piano!
Still, high notes aren't everything. Carey has also had training to increase the power behind her sounds. The trick here: proper breathing technique (from the gut, not the chest), says Iralene Swain, a voice coach. The more "wind" you force across your vocal cords, the stronger the vibrations will be and the louder the sounds you can produce.
"So if I go in for the same kind of lessons," you ask, "will I end up singing like Mariah?"
"Well, every person has his or her own unique voice," says Swain. But you can increase the range and power of yours. Who knows? Maybe someday you'll be hitting the notes that carry Cousin Mollie onto the dance floor.
THOMAS D. MOTTOLA, the president of Sony Music, and MARIAH CAREY, Sony's superstar singer, announced yesterday plans to marry on June 5 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. After the ceremony, a reception for more than 300 guests is to be held at the Metropolitan Club.
Ms. Carey, whose first three albums sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, was unavailable for comment, Dan Klores Associates, Sony Music's public relations firm, said. But a spokesman added that the bridal gown was being designed by Vera Wang Made to Order and Ms. Carey "is preparing for a fairy tale wedding that every girl dreams about."
Put this in the category of "Matters that take up the time of judges and lawyers." Judge MICHAEL B. MUKASEY of Federal District Court in Manhattan has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the singer MARIAH CAREY by her stepfather, JOSEPH VIAN, who claimed that she had reneged on an oral contract granting him the right to market Mariah dolls. The dolls would be modeled after Ms. Carey and would play her biggest hits.
According to the decision handed down on Monday, Mr. Vian, who is separated from the singer's mother, Patricia, charged that Ms. Carey had granted him the right to make the dolls in return for his support, which included "picking her up from late-night recording sessions, providing her with the use of a car, paying for dental care, allowing her to use his boat for business meetings and rehearsals and giving her various items including unused wedding gifts from his marriage to her mother."
The judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence that an agreement had ever been reached.
Mariah Carey weds Sony Music exec who brought her stardom - Tommy Mottola
Songbird Mariah Carey recently married record company exec Tommy Mottola during a lavish, star-studded ceremony in New York.
Ms. Carey and Mottola, Sony Music President, who took her from obscurity to stardom with the hit singles Vision of Love, Love Takes Time, Someday and I'll Be There, exchanged wedding vows during nuptials at the landmark St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Manhattan.
They met in 1988 when Ms. Carey, then 18, slipped the music mogul one of her demo tapes at a party.
Legend has it that during his limo ride home, Mottola popped in the tape and upon hearing Ms. Carey's five-octave range, ordered the driver to turn around and head back to the party.
He masterminded her rise to stardom, which included two 1990 Grammy awards in her first year as a recording artist. And as her music career blossomed, so did their love.
During the recent nuptials, a breathtaking Ms. Carey, 23, marched down the aisle while the bridegroom, 43, waited for her at the altar with the rest of the wedding party, which included 50 flower girls.
The bride was resplendent as she glided down the aisle in an off-the-shoulder, jeweled bodice gown with a 27-foot-long train that required six women to carry it. The crowning touch was a dazzling tiara with a tumbling veil.
On hand for the nuptials were New York Mayor David Dinkins, actor Robert DeNiro, singers Barbra Streisand, Michael Bolton, Darryl Hall and John Oates, Tony Bennett, Billy Joel and his wife, model Christie Brinkley.
Not even the drizzle that fell outside could put a damper on the celebrants or approximately 300 fans who lined the street across from the church to catch a glimpse of the pop diva and the record company boss. They were thrilled that she tossed her bouquet into the crowd as she left the church after the 30-minute ceremony.
A reception was held at the posh Metropolitan Club a few blocks away. In a room overflowing with red roses, 300 revelers feasted on grilled shrimp and spicy baby chicken with herbs. The newlyweds could barely contain their joy as they sliced into a six-tier cake at the end of the evening.
Following their fairy tale wedding, the newlyweds left for Florida for a romantic honeymoon.
|From US Magazine
At 23, she's won three Grammys and married a music mogul. Now, Carey's ready to reveal herself.
The dance beats are throbbing at New York City's
ultrahip Industria Studios -- disco, hip-hop and, yes, a few Mariah Carey
songs. Carey herself is doing her best to relax between photo shoots in
a dress that appears to be cut up to her collarbone. She's fiddling with
the hem, trying in vain to cover an acre-long stretch of thigh, as a battery
of stylists and photographers stands nearby analyzing the shoot in low
whispers. Just for an instant, Carey looks a bit weary; she heaves a
Carey, 23, is already a seasoned veteran of the
fame biz, which, it seems, is exactly what she wants. The youngest child
of a white mother (a former soloist with the New York City Opera Company)
and a black father (an engineer), she knew by the time she was three that
she was destined to be a singer. The day after she graduated from high
school in Huntington, Long Island, she headed for New York City to pursue
her career, checking coats by day and recording demos by night. But her
With Carey's ascent, however, come s the inevitable spate of rumors. Critics have carped that she hasn't paid her dues. Stories flew that she was linked romantically to Mottola before he split from his wife of 20 years. In 1992, Carey was hit by a lawsuit from her stepfather saying that she owed him a percentage of her earnings, which she will not discuss for legal reasons. Through it all, Carey has remained characteristically quiet.
But now, it seems, she is ready to talk. As the photo shoot draws to a close, Carey hustles into her dressing room to peel off her bell-bottoms and shrink-wrapped top. She emerges wearing a white cotton T-shirt, jean cutoff, Adidas sneakers and a plaid shirt tied at her waist; the only evidence of superstardom is the hunk of ice that glares blindingly on her left hand. As she settles into her seat at a model-infested restaurant, she does something else that belies her stardom: She hits me with a barrage of questions about my career, something I haven't encountered in five years of talking to the famous.
"I'm always interested in people that make it
at an early age," she says. "How did you do it? Do you like what you do?
How long will this piece be? Do you pick the quotes yourself? Do you use
all the questions?"
We'll be needing some details on your marriage.
Let's get right to it: Is it true that you studied
tapes of Princess Di's wedding to get some pointers?
Who caught the bouquet?
Why did you decide to record a new album and plan
your wedding at the same time?
We've all read reports of how you first met Tommy
Mottola, but I want to hear it in your own words.
What impression did you have when you first met
the man who is now your husband?
Tommy's older than you by nearly 20 years. Do
you feel any sort of a generation gap with him?
Are there any plans for a little Mottola?
So, back to you. I did an informal poll and asked
people what their impression of you was, and nobody had a clear idea of
what you are like. They would say, "She's beautiful," or "What a voice,"
but they said nothing about your personality. Why do you think this is?
When you're not recording or promoting an album,
what's a typical day?
How about an ideal day?
What kind of music do you listen to? What CDs
have you heard lately?
Let's talk about the lean years.
The lean year.
Have you been back to those places?
What's the worst job you ever had?
I have to ask. What was the name?
You've had your share of critics. How do you think
the press has treated you?
Do you read your own press?
Let's clear up a few charges that critics have
leveled at you. One is that you haven't paid your dues.
Some critics weren't exactly kind to your follow-up
Why do you think critics pitted you against Whitney
Ever dream of being in the movies? I rented 'The
Bodyguard' for the first time the other night and..
What? Did I miss something?
So, you were saying.
How do you think you've grown as an artist since
your last album?
When you write songs, do you just do it whe the
mood strikes? What exactly is the creative process?
It seems that you're experimenting with lower
note on 'Music Box'.
In the beginning of the song "Dreamlover," your
voice does the vocal gymnastics that you're known for. Is this kind of
a message to people that says you go over the top with your voice?
So this is the first time you'll be touring. How
does that make you feel?
Do you have dates nailed down?
Do you have to do anything special to take care
of your voice?
Why do you have trouble sleeping?
How late are we talking?
When you got your first check from your first
album, did you go out and buy something nutty?
You seemed to have been very determined to be
a singer since you were practically in diapers. Where do you think this
single-mindedness came from?
So, let's hark back to the cafeteria tables in
high school. Where are you?
|From NY Times (All rights reserved)
Venturing Outside the Studio, Mariah Carey Proves Her Mettle
Mariah Carey had everything to prove when she performed on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Although she has sold millions of albums since her first one appeared in 1990, her public performances were scarce, confined mostly to television appearances. Instead of working her way up the live circuit, she is starting at the top, touring arenas. With her triumphant New York concert, she's going to make it much harder to convince fledgling singers that they need to pay dues.
If Ms. Carey was nervous, it didn't show. Smiling and strutting across the stage, moving easily to the music without obvious choreography, she combined the assurance of an arena-scale pop performer with the casualness of a suburban girl-next-door. Chatting with an audience that was proud to claim her as a Long Island native, she announced that profits from her current single, "Hero," would be donated to the families of victims of last week's rampage on the Long Island Rail Road.
Ms. Carey's career -- guided by her husband, Tommy Mottola, who is also the president of her recording company -- has been carefully calculated. She arrived in the wake of Whitney Houston, whose ceaselessly positive, gospel-charged ballads and dance songs were best sellers. Ms. Carey worked with some of Ms. Houston's producers, trying to reach the same audience, which bridges romantic adults and dancing teen-agers; on her first album, she even rapped. Unlike Ms. Houston, however, Ms. Carey writes her own lyrics and collaborates on her music and production.
Video clips made the lithe, curly-maned Ms. Carey a familiar presence, singing about love as a wholesome, secular gospel of self-esteem and satisfaction, with the singer "feeling emotions higher than the heavens above." And when, after two albums, it began to seem odd that she had not given live concerts, she shrewdly performed on "MTV Unplugged"; the show was released as a live EP. With a new studio album, "Music Box" (Columbia), it was time to tour.
Ms. Carey's concert was about mastery, not innovation. It followed arena-pop conventions, with costume changes (all black until a red evening dress for the Christmas encore), a number sung seated at the edge of the stage, and cues for audience participation. Her co-producer, Walter Afanasieff, played keyboards in her band. A gospel choir appeared for a few songs, and male dancers arrived for uptempo tunes; wisely, Ms. Carey didn't join the chorus line, treating the concert more as a vocal showcase than as a spectacle. Her songs also follow conventions: big-build ballad ("I Don't Wanna Cry"), girl-group update ("Dreamlover"), uplifting pop-gospel homily ("Make It Happen"), dance workout ("Emotions"). But they are good-natured, catchy vehicles for vocal display.
Beyond any doubt, Ms. Carey's voice is no studio concoction. Her range extends from a rich, husky alto to dog-whistle high notes; she can linger over sensual turns, growl with playful confidence, syncopate like a scat singer. Although rock concerts aren't known for precise intonation, she sang with startlingly exact pitch.
She has soaked up ideas from gospel, soul, rock, jazz and pop singers, particularly the melismas of singers from Barbra Streisand to Aretha Franklin to Minnie Riperton to Thelma Houston. In some songs, Ms. Carey could challenge the world record for notes packed into a single syllable.
On albums, Ms. Carey's singing often sounds narcissistic, as if she has to cram every phrase with virtuosity. On an arena stage, however, her flamboyance was just right, especially because Ms. Carey didn't overdo it. Most songs were strategically plotted as arcs: introductory wordless "ooh's," slow and sultry opening verses, then a gradual climb to rippling gospel phrases and those ultra-high notes, followed by time to taper off. When Ms. Carey sang remakes of 1970's hits, like "Without You" or "I'll Be There" (a duet with Trey Lorenz, who also appeared with her on "MTV Unplugged"), she mimicked enough of the original to make a connection, then set off her own fireworks.
For all Ms. Carey's skill and discipline, her concert wasn't a display of cold perfectionism. After singing the S.O.S. Band's "Just Be Good to Me," Ms. Carey went to toss her disco-nostalgia leather hat into the audience, and accidentally flung it backward on stage instead. She retrieved it, joked about her dim prospects in sports, and hurled it forward as planned. The crowd was happy; its polished pop idol wasn't afraid to look human.
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Heroes of Mariah 2000