Mariah Carey's Debut Album Turns 25 This Summer
Just try and get through this without feeling the urge to tease up your hair and change keys several times
Years before she became Mimi – 25 years ago this summer, to be exact – Mariah Carey was just an 18-year-old with a big voice and an even bigger debut album.
After struggling for years to get signed to a record label, Carey was discovered by Tommy Mottola – then the president of Sony Records, later her husband – at an industry party in New York. It took him weeks to track her down, but once he did, he offered her a contract on the spot, and claimed that she was “destined for superstardom.”
Turns out his vision was right. On May 15, 1990, Carey released her first single, “Vision of Love,” which held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four consecutive weeks. After the album hit stores in June of that year, her next three singles – “Love Takes Time,” “Someday” and “I Don’t Wanna Cry” – all reached the top spot as well, making her the first artist since The Jackson 5 to have their first four singles reach No. 1.
In fact, Mariah Carey was so successful that The New Yorker credited her vocal runs as making “melisma a required move for both R&B singers and contestants on American Idol.” And it was those very runs that inspired artists like Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Rihanna to start singing in the first place.
Aside from changing the pop landscape for good, Carey’s debut album earned her a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, along with two other nominations for “Vision of Love” (and the unofficial honor of being one of the most difficult songs in karaoke history).
But while the rest of us mere mortals might struggle to nail every vocal run, key change and whistle note in “Vision of Love,” Carey proved that she can still hold her own at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards when she performed a mash-up of her debut single and her newest song “Infinity” to promote her Vegas residency.
Apparently, the trick to singing Carey’s songs isn’t about hitting the high notes, but about being the best diva in the game.