Thirty years ago, a young singer born in New York and named after an old show tune stepped into the musical spotlight, and made it immediately clear she wouldn’t be returning to the shadows anytime soon.
Mariah Carey’s first five singles all went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, establishing her as the biggest new pop star of the ‘90s, and she’d score at least one more chart-topper every year through the rest of the 20th century -- eventually racking up 19 No. 1s, more than any other solo artist in chart history. Meanwhile, she bested the Billboard 200 albums chart six times, twice with LPs that would be certified Diamond by the RIAA, won 15 Billboard Music Awards (including artist of the decade for the ‘90s) and five Grammys, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Of course, all of these stats and achievements only scratch the surface on the full Mariah Carey story -- one that also includes several moments of game-changing collaboration, multiple generations of enduring artistic influence, more dramatic turns than one of her action-packed videos and a wider scope of highs and lows than even her five-octave vocal range. Much of that 30-plus-year history will be more fully explained by two much-anticipated projects Carey is releasing this week: The Meaning of Mariah Carey, her revealing memoir co-written with Michaela Angela Davis that dropped on Tuesday (Sept. 29), and The Rarities, a career-spanning compilation of B-sides and unreleased material to be unveiled on Friday (Oct. 2).