Mariah Carey Fantasy First Female Artist to Debut at Mumber One

Mariah Carey Fantasy First Female Artist to Debut at Mumber One, 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.

Following her marriage to Mottola in 1993, a series of hit records, including Emotions (1991), Music Box (1993) and Merry Christmas (1994), established her position as Columbia's highest-selling act. Daydream (1995), made music history when 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 was evident with the release of Butterfly (1997). 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 an unsuccessful period, returned to the top of music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). Its second single "We Belong Together", which became the most successful solo single of her music career, and was later named "Song of the Decade" by Billboard. Carey once again ventured into film, and starred in Precious (2009). Her role in the film was well-received, and 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 certified albums. 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. Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Carey has won five Grammy Awards, and is famed for her five-octave vocal range, power, melismatic style and signature use of the whistle register. During the week of September 25, 2005, Carey set another record, becoming the first female to occupy the first two spots atop the Hot 100, as "We Belong Together" remained at number one, and her next single, "Shake It Off" held the number two spot. On the Billboard Hot 100 Year-end Chart of 2005, the song was declared the number one song, a career first for Carey.

Billboard listed "We Belong Together" ninth on The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs and was declared the most popular song of the 2000s decade by Billboard. The album earned ten Grammy Award nominations in 2006–07: eight in 2006 for the original release (the most received by Carey in a single year) and two in 2007 for the Ultra Platinum Edition. In 2006 Carey won Best Contemporary R&B Album for The Emancipation of Mimi, as well as Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for "We Belong Together". The Emancipation of Mimi was the best-selling album in the United States in 2005, with nearly five million units sold. It was the first album by a solo female artist to become the year's best-selling album since Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill in 1996. An elastic talent who moved easily from glossy ballads to hip-hop-inspired dance-pop, she earned frequent comparison to rivals Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, but did them both one better by composing all of her own material. Born in Long Island, NY, on March 27, 1970, Carey moved to New York City at the age of 17 -- just one day after graduating high school -- to pursue a music career; there she befriended keyboardist Ben Margulies, with whom she began writing songs.

Her big break came as a backing vocalist on a studio session with dance-pop singer Brenda K. Starr, who handed Carey's demo tape to Columbia Records head Tommy Mottola at a party. According to legend, Mottola listened to the tape in his limo while driving home that same evening, and was so immediately struck by Carey's talent that he doubled back to the party to track her down.

After signing to Columbia, Carey entered the studio to begin work on her 1990 self-titled debut LP. The heavily promoted album was a chart-topping smash, launching no less than four number one singles: "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday," and "I Don't Wanna Cry."

Her overnight success earned Grammy Awards as Best New Artist and Best Female Vocalist, and expectations were high for Carey's follow-up, 1991's Emotions. The album did not disappoint, as the title track reached number one -- a record fifth consecutive chart-topper -- while both "Can't Let Go" and "Make It Happen" landed in the Top Five.

Carey's next release was 1992's MTV Unplugged EP, which generated a number one cover of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." Featured on the track was backup singer Trey Lorenz, whose appearance immediately helped him land a recording contract of his own.

In June 1993, Carey wed Mottola -- some two decades her senior -- in a headline-grabbing ceremony; months later, she released her third full-length effort, Music Box, which became her best-selling record to date. Two more singles, "Dreamlover" and "Hero," reached the top spot on the charts.

Carey's first tour followed and was widely panned by critics; undaunted, she resurfaced in 1994 with a holiday release titled Merry Christmas, scoring a seasonal smash with "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Released in 1995, Daydream reflected a new artistic maturity; the first single, "Fantasy," debuted at number one, making Carey the first female artist and just the second performer ever to accomplish the feat. The follow-up, "One Sweet Day" -- a collaboration with Boyz II Men -- repeated the trick, and remained lodged at the top of the charts for a record 16 weeks.

After separating from Mottola, Carey returned in 1997 with Butterfly, another staggering success and her most hip-hop-flavored recording to date. #1's -- a collection featuring her 13 previous chart-topping singles as well as "The Prince of Egypt (When You Believe)," a duet with Whitney Houston effectively pairing the two most successful female recording artists in pop history -- followed late the next year.

With "Heartbreaker," the first single from her 1999 album Rainbow, Carey became the first artist to top the charts in each year of the 1990s; the record also pushed her ahead of the Beatles as the artist with the most cumulative weeks spent atop the Hot 100 singles chart.

However, the early 2000s weren't as kind to Carey. After signing an $80 million deal in 2001 with Virgin -- the biggest record contract ever -- she experienced a very public personal and professional meltdown that included rambling; suicidal messages on her website; an appearance on TRL where, clad only in a T-shirt, she handed out Popsicles to the audience; and last but not least, the poorly received movie Glitter and its attendant soundtrack (which was also her Virgin Records debut).

Both the film and the album did poorly critically as well as commercially, with Glitter making just under $4 million in its total U.S. gross and the soundtrack struggling to make gold sales. Following these setbacks, Virgin and Carey parted ways early in 2002, with the label paying her $28 million. That spring, she found a new home with Island/Def Jam, where she set up her own label, MonarC Music. In December, she released her ninth album, Charmbracelet, which failed to become a success.

The Emancipation of Mimi, her most successful work in years, appeared in 2008. It climbed to multi-platinum status and earned Carey three Grammy awards -- Best Contemporary R&B Album and, for the single "We Belong Together," Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song -- thus restoring her status as a megastar.

Two weeks before the release of her subsequent album, April 2008's E=MC2, Carey scored her 18th number one hit with "Touch My Body," a feat that pushed her into second place (past Elvis, no less) among all artists with the most chart-topping singles. Although that hit song, along with the late April news that she married Nick Cannon, kept her in the spotlight that year, the remainder of the album's spinoffs weren't nearly as successful; only "Bye Bye" managed to scrape the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100.

She went back to work fairly quickly, however, and Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel -- featuring collaborations with the-Dream, as well as a cover of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" -- became her 12th studio album upon its September 2009 release.

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