This week’s Billboard cover star Mariah Carey took some time during her photo shoot to take a trip down memory lane for Billboard‘s new video series Throw It Back. The pop icon recalled some of the most memorable moments in her career, including her debut album cover, her iconic Christmas classic, and singing with Whitney Houston.
Carey is first shown the cover art for her 1990 self-titled debut album, joking that she got “really creative” with the title, before sharing a hilarious comparison she has received to a certain US president with the picture. “My little brother/nephew once told me that I look like George Washington in this photo,” she confesses. “I think it’s the hair, I don’t know. So every time I look at this picture, all I think about is the fact that he told me that I look like George Washington.”
Next, the video for her 1993 hit “Hero” makes Carey declare that she’d kill someone for using that shot today since it’s focused on her “bad side.” She adds that while she would love to re-edit the video and performance, she is very thankful for the song and is still very proud of it, considering that it has endured for so long and impacted so many lives in different ways. “As a songwriter, it’s a huge deal for me that I have the song,” she adds. “So for me to nitpick the video about my bad side is kind of rude, but I’ll give myself break.”
Moving on to her current Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 holiday classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Carey exclaims, “This is so festive, you can’t say it’s not festive!” She adds that while she doesn’t love every shot in the video, it still makes her happy every year when she listens to it.
Looking at 1995’s “Fantasy (Remix)” video, Carey points out that people might not be aware that she directed those visuals, and that she had such a great time working on them — mostly because of the rollercoaster and her remix collaborator, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. But 1999’s “Heartbreaker” is one of Carey’s favorite videos she’s ever made, thanks to the fact that she got to play a villain and work with Jackie Chan.
Another special collaboration for Carey was her Whitney Houston team-up “When You Believe.” “Working with Whitney was an experience I’ll never forget,” Carey says upon looking at a photo of their Academy Awards performance of the song in 1999. “It was a bonding experience. Before that when we did the video…we really put all the rumors and nonsense behind us that there was a feud. There was nothing, we didn’t know each other. Once we knew each other, we had the best time together and I was honored to work with her, so when I look at this picture, I’m really proud that we had this moment together.”
You can watch the full Throw It Back video with Mariah Carey above to hear her share many more stories from her career, including how her male stalker character (who was “not anybody specific”) was created for her “Obsessed” video and how the recent Obsessed challenge on TikTok gave the song a resurgence on the charts.