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Mariah Carey Facts: Interesting Things You May Not Know

This American singer and songwriter is one of the most gifted singers of the last century, but do you know much about this pop diva? Well, we’re going to tell you some of the best Mariah Carey facts: interesting things you may not know below, so keep reading to find out more about her! 

Her Name Is Inspired By a Broadway Musical 

They Call the Wind Maria

One fact about Carey you might not know about is that her parents gave her the name Mariah because of the Broadway musical called Paint Your Wagon. This musical was released in 1951 and features the song They Call The Wind Maria, and while the spelling is different, the pronunciation of the name is the same. 

Mariah Carey’s Family Didn’t Have Money Growing Up 

Carey did not grow up in a household full of wealth, and she wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. The opposite is actually true, which is that her family didn’t have much money while she was growing up, and they struggled a lot. However, she doesn’t talk much about her struggles because she isn’t that way and doesn’t want people to feel bad for her or her family. 

She Was Born in Huntington, New York

1990 – Mariah Carey exiting the Shepherd’s Bush Theatre after promoting Vision Of Love on The Wogan Show. Image source: Mariah_Carey_1990.jpg: Redhoopoe at Flickrderivative work: Truu, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carey is a New York girl through and through and was born in Huntington, New York, on March 27, 1969. Growing up in Long Island helped make her into the strong and powerful woman we’ve come to know. 

She Walks On Her Tippy-Toes 

May 24, 2013 – Mariah Carey singing #Beautiful live on Good Morning America. Image source: SKS2K6, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ever since Carey was a little girl, she would walk on her tippy-toes, which is why she is seen everywhere she goes wearing heels. There are people out there who tend to walk on their tippy-toes, and it can cause a lot of issues with your ankles later on in life. She continues to this day to walk on her tippy-toes and is rarely seen without heels on. 

Mariah Carey Has Interracial Parents 

A lot of people don’t know that Carey is a biracial woman because her mother, Patricia Hickey, is white and her father, Alfred Roy Carey, is Black. Her mom was disowned by her own family when she started dating Alfred. 

Her Parents Divorced When She Was Little 

Like a lot of children, Carey comes from a broken household, and her parents divorced when she was only three years old. 

Her Family Was Often Attacked By Racists

April 8, 2018 – Bullet hole in a window in Downtown Minneapolis. Image source: Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Racists would often attack Carey’s family when she was younger, including people poisoning their dogs and even blowing up their vehicles. The family was even sitting in the kitchen eating dinner and had someone shoot bullets into their window. It was tough for Carey growing up and dealing with all of these attacks by racist people. 

Mariah Carey Took Singing Lessons at Age Four 

When she was two years old, Carey began to sing for her mother, and her mother was so impressed by her vocal ability even back then that she chose to enroll her daughter in singing lessons when she was just four years old. Carey’s mom was into opera singing and also had a background in vocal coaching, so she saw right away that her daughter had a special gift and should be developing it throughout her childhood. 

She Used To Regularly Skip School

While Carey may seem like she trains and works hard for her concerts, she didn’t have the same work ethic in school. In fact, she used to skip classes so regularly that her peers nicknamed her “Mirage” because one second she was there, and the next, she was gone. However, she would often tell her friends that she knew she was going to become a star and didn’t need to focus on school. 

Mariah Carey Moved To Manhattan And Went to Cosmetology School 

May 4, 2006 – Woman applying cosmetics to her lips. Image source: Andres Hernandez, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carey moved to Manhattan as a college-aged woman and went to school for cosmetology. To make ends meet and to afford rent, she began working various jobs including hostess, waitress, and coat-checker. 

Brenda Starr Helped Mariah Carey Get Her Big Break 

Brenda Starr took Carey to a Christmas party that was hosted by a music executive, and Tommy Mottola, the CEO of Columbia Records, was one of the people at this event. Starr had convinced Carey to give Mottola her demo tape, and he began listening to it while on his way home from the Christmas party.

It only took him about two songs in to realize what Carey was capable of and immediately would contact her to get her to sign a deal. He was in the middle of a bidding war for Carey but would eventually convince her to sign with his label. 

Mariah Carey’s First Marriage Was To Tommy Mottola 

Mottola and Carey worked together but that wasn’t the end of their relationship. She would go on to marry him in what would be the first of two marriages she’d have in her lifetime up to this point. Her marriage to him was rough though, with him being controlling, and they divorced in 1997, just four years after getting married. 

Her Voice Can Hit At Least Five Different Octaves 

May 27, 2019 – Mariah Carey at Royal Albert Hall. Image source: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s not every day that you come across a singer who has the range Carey does, and it’s even more impressive that her voice can hit at least five different octaves. From her high-pitched scream to lower register notes, she is known for having one of the biggest vocal ranges of any female singer. 

She’s Sold Over 220 Million Albums Worldwide

Carey is a beast and a beloved artist, which is evident by the fact that she has sold more than 220 million albums worldwide! This not only proves that she is a very talented and gifted singer, but that she is an icon and has fans from all backgrounds and age groups. 

Mariah Carey Has Most Number One Hits As a Solo Artist 

Mariah Carey - We Belong Together (Official Music Video)

What’s unique about Carey is that she has more number-one hits than any other solo artist to date, with 19 of her songs hitting number one on the Billboard charts. Some of those hit tracks include Vision Of Love, We Belong Together, and Fantasy. 

Her First Song Was Composed In High School 

Mariah Carey - Here We Go Around Again (Official Audio)

Carey knew she wanted to be a singer from a young age, and by high school, she began focusing on doing what it took to make it big. Her first song was composed in high school which was Here We Go ‘Round Again, now spelled Here We Go Around Again. She said that this track had a very Motown feel to it, and it would be included in the demo tape given to Mottola, which had four songs on it. 

Mariah Carey Loves Marilyn Monroe 

1953 – Marilyn Monroe publicity photo for How To Marry A Millionaire. Image source: Sam Shaw, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s not that much of a secret that Carey loves Marilyn Monroe, and famously, she spent over $600,000 to own the baby grand piano that belonged to Monroe during an auction in 1999.  

She Was Diagnosed As Bipolar After Infamous TRL Meltdown 

Carey went on TRL in 2001 and had quite the meltdown on live television, which started with her unannounced visit followed by stripping off all of her clothes while using an ice cream cart as a prop.

After this, she went into a mental hospital for two weeks due to suffering from exhaustion, but at the time, she also was diagnosed as being bipolar. She did not talk about being bipolar until an interview in 2018 and kept her mental health status private until then. 

Mariah Carey Has Had A Number One Hit In Four Consecutive Decades 

December 6, 2013 – Mariah Carey Christmas concert in New York. Image source: The United States Army Band, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We all know Carey has had multiple hits that have spanned decades, but did you know she has managed to have a number-one song in four decades? She had number-one tracks in 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2020. Her hit number-one song from 2020 that earned her this title was All I Want For Christmas Is You from 1994, which made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. 

She’s Been In Movies Including Her Own Movie Glitter 

Glitter (2001) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Carey not only sings, but she also has been in several films in her career with the most infamous movie being her own movie called Glitter. This was not a very good film and did not get great reviews, but if you’re a fan of hers, then it might be worth checking out. She has also starred in other movies including Precious, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, and The Lego Batman Movie.

In 2016, She Won The GLAAD Ally Award 

Carey has been a notable ally of the gay community and has tried over the years through her celebrity status to teach everyone love and acceptance, especially towards the LGBT community. In 2016, her efforts didn’t go unnoticed as she was awarded the GLAAD Ally Award for both empowering and inspiring those in the LGBT community throughout the world. 

She Grew Up Never Wanting To Get Married

May 4, 2010 – Nick Cannon at the Time 100 Gala. Image source: David Shankbone, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Seeing as her parents divorced when she was just three, it makes sense that growing up Carey had never wanted to get married. She just didn’t think it was something that was in the cards for her, and she didn’t want to end up like her parents. However, she did get married, twice, with her second marriage being to Nick Cannon. Both of her marriages also ended in divorce. 

Mariah Carey Wants To Write a Book For Mixed Children 

Being of mixed race herself and dealing with the racial attacks she and her family experienced when she was younger had made her want to write a children’s book. She wanted to write a book on acceptance and love to show children of mixed races that they aren’t alone. It’s especially appealing to her since she now has mixed-race children with Cannon. However, even though that has always been a dream of hers, she still hasn’t put out this children’s book. 

Her Merry Christmas Album Is The Highest-Selling Christmas Album Ever 

Mariah Carey - Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (Official Audio)

What’s incredible is that Merry Christmas, which Carey released in 1994, still retains the title of the highest-selling Christmas album ever. Selling over 15 million records throughout the world, it is the most beloved Christmas album to date, and even people who aren’t fans of hers enjoy this album. 

Patti LaBelle Is Her Godmother 

July 15, 2008 – Patti LaBelle. Image source: David from Washington, DC, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of people don’t know that Patti LaBelle, the female R&B legend, is actually Carey’s godmother. The two of them talk about their relationship often, and LaBelle even admitted that when Carey was younger, she may have slapped her a time or two. 

She Calls Her Fans Lambs 

Back in 2000, Carey began using the word “lambs” to describe her fans as well as her friends and family. While she said it was an endearing term, some wonder if it’s because lambs are followers and will follow the leader of the pack, which in this case would be her. 

Music Box Is Her Best-Selling Album 

Music Box, which was released by Carey in 1993, is her best-selling album with more than 28 million records sold throughout the world. It’s also on the list as one of the highest-selling albums of all time. Some of her most iconic songs are on Music Box including Hero, Dreamlover, and Anytime You Need A Friend. 

Her Dogs Live Just As Lavishly As She Does

Carey loves her dogs, which are treated like royalty, living a similarly lavish lifestyle to her, including spending thousands for them to have spa treatments. She even flies them on private jets for these spa treatments all around the country.

August 16, 2014 – Jack Russell Terrier. Image source: Pastelero, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

She currently owns Jack Russell Terriers, and all of them are professionally groomed with food tailored to their specific likes and needs. We’re not surprised that she spends ungodly amounts of money on her dogs and treats them all as if they were kings and queens. 

Mariah Carey Has Five Grammy Awards

Mariah Carey - Vision Of Love

Throughout her career, Carey has won five Grammy Awards beginning in 1991 when she won one award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female for Vision Of Love and one for Best New Artist. She won three in 2006 including Best Contemporary R&B Album, Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. 

She Was Named Artist Of The Decade By Billboard

Sticking with some of her achievements for a minute, in 1999, she was named Artist of the Decade by Billboard. 

Mariah Carey Is In The Songwriters Hall Of Fame 

Carey has become one of the most iconic and beloved artists of all time, and she cemented that legacy with her induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2020. 

She’s Been Nominated For Over 300 Awards And Won More Than 160

January 19, 2014 – Mariah Carey at the SAG Awards. Image source: Neon Tommy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s no doubt that Carey is one of the best-selling artists of all time, and we can say this because, throughout her career, she has been nominated for more than 300 awards. Out of those 300, she has won more than 166 times, which is a fairly good percentage! Whether we’re talking about a Grammy, Golden Globe, Billboard, BET, or Soul Train Music award, she has definitely earned every nomination and award she’s been given over the years. 

She Gives To Charity 

Like a lot of other celebrities, Carey is known as a philanthropist and often gives money to charities that are near and dear to her heart. She focuses a lot of her time and money on children’s charity organizations such as for food, healthcare, and education. She also donates money all over the world for various disaster relief efforts. 

Camp Mariah Is Named After Her 

Talking a little bit more about her charity work, she has donated so often to children’s causes that Camp Mariah was named after her by the Fresh Air Fund in 1994. Camp Mariah is a career-focused program that gives children in New York a chance to attend various sleepaway-style camps throughout the Hudson Valley. 

All I Want For Christmas Is You Spawned A Successful Christmas Collection

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You (Official Video)

As you probably know, Carey had a huge hit with her song All I Want For Christmas Is You, which has helped her develop a successful Christmas collection full of merchandise for the holiday. Whether you want some festive tree ornaments or a knick-knack, her line of Christmas products is a hot commodity every year. 

She Has A Perfume Collection

Not only is Carey into Christmas products, but she also has a successful collection of perfumes available. Her brand is huge and her fans love her perfume collection which is filled with lovely scents that women all over the world flock to the store to purchase. 

Mariah Carey Has a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star 

In 2015, she was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has a star on this iconic platform in her honor. 

She Was Friends With Prince

1986 – Prince in Brussels. Image source: Yves Lorson from Kapellen, Belgium, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carey listened to Prince when she was younger and grew up a huge fan of his, so when she became famous, he was one of the people she wanted to meet. The two of them became friends, and she would hang out with him when she could. She maintains that she will always love Prince and be a fan of him even though he’s no longer with us. 

Mariah Carey Has 12 Guinness Book of World Record Spots 

Throughout the years, Carey has broken records of other artists and has crossed multiple barriers in music, which has led to her holding 12 Guinness Book of World Records including the following: 

  • Biggest record deal
  • Most weeks at number one in Brazil
  • Highest consecutive years with a number-one song on the Singles chart
  • Highest-charting holiday song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart
  • Most number-one songs by an American female artist 
  • Top streaming song on Spotify for 24 hours for a female 
  • Most weeks at number one on the Singles chart 

Her Christmas Concerts Are One Of Her Biggest Events 

December 9, 2022 – Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas To All concert at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. Image source: Heartfox, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carey has cemented her legacy with All I Want For Christmas Is You, which in many ways is her signature tune. She performs concerts every year with some of them being televised events where she performs Christmas songs including All I Want For Christmas Is You. This is a huge event for her every year, and fans from all over the world tune in to the television or pay to watch her perform this track live. 

Sexism Plagued Her In The Beginning 

When Carey was first starting out in the music business, she had to deal with a lot of sexism that was going on back then. A lot of male artists were treated better than her and with respect and given more money and more opportunities. She, on the other hand, had to claw her way to the top in spite of the sexism found in the music industry. 

She’s Known As One Of The Most Talented Singers in History 

April 25, 2008 – Mariah Carey performing Touch My Body on GMA. Image source: all-systems-go at Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carey might have faced sexism when she started out, but now both the critics and the fans agree that she is one of the most talented singers in music history. It took her a long time to get to that point, but regardless of whether you like her music or not, you can’t deny she has an incredible talent and an amazing voice that will continue to captivate men and women long after she dies. 

She Co-Writes Several Of Her Songs

Mariah Carey - Fantasy (Official 4K Video)

While she might be best known for her voice, Carey is also a very gifted songwriter and has co-written a lot of her own songs, including We Belong Together, Fantasy, Hero, and Always Be My Baby. She has received several awards for her songwriting too, including the BMI Pop Awards Music Songwriter Of the Year more than once. 

Mariah Carey Won The Billboard Icon Award 

Billboard has given Carey multiple awards through the years, but the Billboard Icon Award is one of the more prestigious awards she’s won. This award celebrates not only her music and songwriting but her overall impact on the music business and influence in the industry. When she first started, women were not powerful or involved in business-making decisions, but she helped change that when she decided she wouldn’t be beholden to any man. That strength has empowered female artists ever since.

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