This hour-long interview from Mariah Carey back in ’99 gives an inside peek into the very aware, very tired global icon.
More than 15 years ago, the music industry was an entirely different animal than it is in today’s booming digital age. Artists didn’t have tools like Twitter and Facebook to assist in promotion, and music sales weren’t swirling down the drain due to piracy and streaming, so this new interview from Mariah with a reporter that began making the rounds on the Internet this week is a very unusual and candid look into the mind of one of the most famous people on the planet at the time, and still is.
It’s hard not to listen to Mariah’s keen and aware former self during an interview, so when you have an hour this weekend, take the moment to listen. She details what it was like starting out in an industry that didn’t perceive her as biracial, feeling insecure, writing her own music and feeling miserable. Here are nine moments that sparked our interest from what’s dubbed as “The Lost Mariah Carey Interview 1999.”
Warning: She’s tired
After filming music videos, editing remixes, arranging background vocals, approving photos, traveling and still trying to maintain a shred of sanity, Mariah admits she is exhausted and to excuse her if she comes across that way.
“I’ve had about three hours sleep over the passed… I’ve been consistently sleepless since I got back and promoting and doing all this stuff.”
Making house music
Mariah loves recording house music because she can feel free and creative.
“Those house records are actually almost my favorite thing to do. It’s very free. When I do those vocals (that’s why some of them are a mess) I just sing whatever. I barely edit it. I barely redo stuff.”
She got a lot of heat for being biracial.
“The pop press would rather focus on… a black/white perception thing. I think a lot of it has to do with me being visually perceived as white by a lot of people who don’t understand about mixed race people, and that’s been a gripe of mine for a long time.”
She had it tough growing up.
“I experienced a lot of stuff. My reality has been very altered since I was a little girl. I grew up very fast in terms of my perception of the world, and my understanding of what it’s like to be mixed.”
Her reality bouncing from Mariah Carey the super star to just Mariah was difficult.
“When you go out on stage and you have all this amazing, glorious feeling of adoration from the fans. If you go out afterwards you have a party, you feel great, and you relax and you go to sleep. If you do that and then you go and sit in a car, and you have tense energy around you, and it’s like all people who are maybe corporate and not about having fun, and everybody’s nervous and uptight and you’re there. You don’t get the feeling of ‘wow I just did something amazing and I feel great.’ You get the feeling ‘I just did something amazing and now here I am back in my weird reality…’ I just wanted to enjoy my life a little bit. I was really miserable for a long time.”
Mariah loves to make remixes, but she honestly loved the first version of “Heartbreaker.”
“When I was doing the original ‘Heartbreaker,’ and Jay Z came in and did his part, we were all like ‘Yay!’ We were all like little excited fans. Jay would not be on something he didn’t like. He’s got a lot of integrity as an artist. He’s very particular about his stuff.”
MC admits she doesn’t take songs without participating in the writing process, even from legends like Diane Warren.
“I don’t take songs. I prefer to write mine… If I felt it was great, undeniably, I couldn’t write something better for myself, I might [take a song]. I think that my true fans know the difference when I’m singing something I wrote. I have never something someone else wrote except when I did that Whitney duet or that remix.”
If she’s a people pleaser
Mariah says no one would work a crazy schedule like her, and felt like she’s insecure and has to maintain how far she’s come because she didn’t get to enjoy the first half of her career at the time.
“I just think I have an overblown insecure streak that runs through me, and sometimes it manifests itself as me being a workaholic, like you see, some artists would not tolerate this kind of schedule… I just work, and I think it’s because for a lot of the early part of my life… I felt like I had to always scramble, and I didn’t know whether I had any stability… I never felt that euphoric fame feeling. I never had that.”
What is one goal that isn’t work related?
She laughs at first, then says:
“I want to have a fun New Year’s Eve. I want to be in a warm place. I want to have a party. I want to see fireworks. I want to be with people that I love. I want to not worry about what people think… I just want to detach for a minute.”