Insider Tips: Mariah Carey's Plans, Ellie Goulding & Skrillex's Playlist
Insider Tips: Mariah Carey's Plans, Ellie Goulding & Skrillex's Playlist

The singer says her new album will have a 'lot more raw ballads than people might expect.'

"It's a lot to juggle, but I'm handling it," Mariah Carey says while driving to an evening studio session in Las Vegas for her new album. In town for the Vegas Week segment of "American Idol," the first-year judge was on her way to meet up with producers Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox after having put dem babies to bed. "It's about making sure I have tons of good music, because at the end of the day, that's the most important thing," says Carey, who had worked with the pair ("We have our own chemistry," she adds) until 6 a.m. that morning from the night before. She's also enlisted producers Big Jim Wright, Hit-Boy, The-Dream and Rodney Jerkins for tracks on the set.

Declining to reveal the album's title, she does allow that there are a "lot more raw ballads than people might expect." There are also uptempo and signature-type songs that represent her different facets as an artist. "Wherever we go with this project, I've tried to keep the soul and heart in it," she says, "with me obviously as the through-line." According to Dupri, "One particular song is definitely going to be a huge fan favorite, in my opinion."

Carey's last non-holiday studio album, 2009's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel," debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and sparked the hit "Obsessed." She's excited about collaborations with her No. 1 "Honey" cohort Q-Tip and DJ Cassidy this time around. The singer didn't specify if her collaboration with Q-Tip and DJ Cassidy would be for the new album.

"I was and still am in a very prolific space," says Carey, who recently released the single "Almost Home" for the March 8 Disney film "Oz the Great and Powerful." She co-wrote and co-produced the song with Stargate; a David La Chappelle-directed video is coming soon. Whether it or her 2012 single "Triumphant" with Rick Ross and Meek Mill will appear on the new album remains to be seen. In the meantime, Carey says she's enjoying her creative streak. "I could say, 'Let's stop now.' But that's not who I am, and that's not what I want this record to be. I really want the fans to love this record."