14 things you probably didn’t know about Mariah Carey

mariah carey

  • Even before Mariah Carey released her smash hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You" in 1994, the singer was in the public eye.
  • Her parents named her after the song "They Call The Wind Maria" from the 1951 Broadway musical "Paint Your Wagon."
  • She is obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and bought the actress' baby grand piano at auction for over $600,000. 
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It's Christmas time, which means that it'll be practically impossible to go the next month without hearing Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Whether you love the song or hate it, there's no denying its mark on the music world: Mariah's hit is the first song to land at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in four different decades. 

That's not the only interesting fact about the singer. In honor of it being Mimi's time of the year, we rounded up interesting facts about her.

After she was born on March 27, 1970, Mariah Carey's parents named her after a song from a Broadway musical.

According to E!, Alfred Roy Carey and Patricia Hickey named their daughter after the song "They Call The Wind Maria" — which is pronounced "Mariah," despite its different spelling — from the 1951 Broadway musical "Paint Your Wagon."

So perhaps it was destiny that Carey would go on to become one of the most successful pop stars of all time. 

Carey takes after her mother, who is a Juilliard-trained opera singer and a vocal coach.

Carey reportedly wowed her mom by imitating her operatic singing at just 2 years old. She started vocal lessons when she was 4 and quickly honed her skills so that after graduating high school she could move to New York City and pursue her dreams. 

Despite their common talent, Carey and her mother's relationship has been far from perfect. In her new memoir, "The Meaning of Mariah Carey," the singer outlines their struggles throughout the years. An excerpt in People reveals that Patricia once told her, "You should only hope that one day you become half the singer I am.

"Still, to this day, what she said haunts and hurts me. I don't know if she meant to cut me down to size or it was just her bruised ego talking; all I know is that those words that shot out of her mouth pierced my chest and were buried in my heart," she writes in her memoir. 

In high school, she was notorious for cutting class.

During her years at Harborfields High School in Greenlawn on Long Island, New York, Mariah Carey was known by her friends as "Mirage" due to the number of times she cut class to work on her music, according to Page Six. 

Before hitting it big Carey attended cosmetology school in Manhattan.

After moving to New York City, Carey enrolled in beauty school to keep her busy while she figured out how to turn her musical dreams into reality. She and Stephen Colbert talked in September about the impressive 500 hours worth of studying she did and why she thought learning how to do her hair and makeup would be beneficial to her musical career. 

Although she ultimately dropped out of beauty school, Carey has put her skills to use during the coronavirus pandemic. In April the singer tweeted a video of her giving her daughter, Monroe, an at-home salon day. She wrote, "Passing time in quarantine… My 500 hours of beauty school came in handy!"

She also worked as a waitress, but the gig didn't last long.

In the same September interview with Stephen Colbert, Carey admitted that she hated the job and could never work the cash register properly. Failing remedial math, despite the fact her father was an aeronautical engineer, didn't help her efforts either. 

Carey went on to explain one more hilarious reason why she and waitressing didn't mix: "No one could remember my name so I didn't want to always have to explain oh, 'Mariah, this is how you pronounce it,' because back then nobody had that name. So I would oftentimes make up a name, I would say my name was like Debby or something more common and then I'd forget what name I told that table so they'd be like 'Debby?' and I'm sitting there like listening to my demo like not even aware that someone's calling me."

Her role as Brenda K. Starr's backup singer led to her landing a record deal.

After working odd jobs, Carey finally got her first break and began singing backup vocals for Brenda K. Starr in the late 1980s, according to New Jersey 105.1. Eventually, Starr handed Carey's demo to then-chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Tommy Mottola (who would become Carey's first husband) and the young singer's fate as a pop superstar was sealed. 

Carey has an impressive five-octave vocal range.

But what does that actually mean? Basically, Carey can reach five of the eight octaves in the vocal range (this chart is a great visualization of the feat). She sings her lowest note, an F#2, on the Jermaine Dupri song "Sweetheart" and her highest note, a G#7, on her bop "Emotions."

In 2019, Classic FM determined that she had the greatest range of all iconic singers.

Carey is *slightly* obsessed with Marilyn Monroe.

Ever since receiving a copy of Norman Mailer's biography of the actress for Christmas as a child, Carey has been obsessed with the actress, she told The Guardian in 2014. So much so that in 1999 Carey bought Monroe's baby grand piano at auction for over $600,000 and she named her daughter after the actress. 

She also wrote in her new memoir that in place of her abusive family, her only childhood friend was the poster of Monroe hanging on her bedroom wall. 

Part of her admiration stems from Monroe's impact on women in Hollywood.

"Marilyn Monroe Productions was the first female-owned production company in Hollywood," she told the Guardian. "She paved the way for women in Hollywood, and every single woman owes something to her for that, whether they agree with her image or not."

She has a camp named after her.

The Fresh Air Fund named its Career Awareness Program "Camp Mariah" in honor of the singer joining the fund's board of directors in 1994. The organization provides thousands of children in New York City with the opportunity to attend sleepaway camps throughout New York's mid-Hudson Valley, according to its website. 

Patti LaBelle is Carey's godmother.

Unlike most godparents, LaBelle wasn't named Carey's godmother at birth. LaBelle told Wendy Williams in 2010 that Carey asked her to be her godmother and she said yes. "I wanted to be — I love that voice, I mean, you don't find many voices like that," LaBelle said. "So she just asked me and I said, 'Of course, you're my godchild.'"

During an appearance on "Busy Tonight," LaBelle told host Busy Philipps that she has mentored Carey (and other women including Beyonce and Mary J. Blige) for many years, and occasionally had to talk some sense into her. 

"I had to slap her every now and then," LaBelle joked. "She's so phenomenal and so good, she doesn't need to be slapped anymore. That's my baby."

In 2019, Carey posted a video to her Instagram of the two singing a duet of her 2018 single "With You." To LaBelle's shock, Carey dropped the F-bomb to which she asked, "Oh, you say F with you?" Carey excitedly responded, "She didn't know I said that!" 

Maybe LaBelle still has a few lessons to teach her goddaughter after all. 

Ex-husband Nick Cannon has said he and Carey had sex to the singer's music.

"She makes sexy music. She got the 'Don't Forget About Us,' the 'We Belong Together' … I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person in the world that listens to Mariah Carey when having sex, it just so happens I'm having sex with Mariah Carey," Cannon told HuffPost in 2013. "If I made sexy music I would put myself on too! Like I think that builds the ego right there," he continued. 

The couple, who have two children together, married in 2008 after just weeks together, but they split in 2014. They filed for divorce two years later.

Carey has eight dogs, and they reportedly live a pretty lavish lifestyle.

Mimi's eight Jack Russell terriers — Cha Cha, Jackie Lambchops, JJ, Jill E Beans, Squeak E Beans, The Good Reverend Pow Jackson, Pippitty L Jackson and Mutley P Gore Jackson The Third — have experienced more luxury than most of us ever will. 

According to the Daily Mail, it's fairly common for Carey's dogs to join her in first class or on private jets when the diva travels. They've also joined her on stage, in music videos, and even in the bath, sharing every bit of their mom's luxurious life as possible. 

Carey's support of the LGBT community won her the GLAAD Ally Award in 2016.

The award is given to a media figure who uses their platform to support and advance LGBT equality and acceptance, according to the organization's website. 

Speaking of Carey, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, "Through her music and outspoken support, Mariah Carey has inspired and empowered countless LGBT fans across the globe." Ellis continued, "She is a longtime ally and friend to the LGBT community who has worked tirelessly to move acceptance and inclusion forward."

She is the only artist in history to have a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in four different decades.

After Mariah Carey's 1994 Christmas hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You" ranked No. 1 on the first Billboard Hot 100 chart of 2020, it became the first song to ever rank No. 1 in four different decades: 1990, 2000, 2010, 2020. 

Carey sent out a very on-brand celebratory tweet reading, ""Yaaaaaaaaay!!! WE. DID. IT. But… what's a decade?"

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