Currently touring in support of her 2005 album The Emancipation of Mimi, and on the road for the first time in three years, Carey has rebounded in a major way from a series of personal and professional misadventures. Two tracks on the album, "We Belong Together" and "Shake It Off", made Carey only the sixth artist ever to simultaneously occupy the top two positions on the Billboard "Hot 100" list. The album also generated her 16th and 17th No. 1 singles, putting her just behind Elvis Presley and the Beatles for the most chart-topping singles.
Not too shabby, especially considering music experts had pretty much written Carey off after a well-publicized artistic and personal meltdown just four years ago. She struggled to find a direction for her music, was dropped by Virgin Records and saw the semi-autobiographical film and recording project Glitter receive a universal thumbs down from film and music critics. It probably didn't help that Glitter was released Sept. 11, 2001. Ultimately, life came crashing down around Carey, who suffered a physical and emotional breakdown.
But The Emancipation of Mimi brought her back from the brink. Collaborating with producers including Kanye West and long-time collaborator Jermaine Dupri, Carey said the album was like "a party record. "It was the process of putting on makeup and getting ready to go out [to a party]," she said when the album was released. "I wanted to make a record that was reflective of that."
Mimi became the year's best-selling album in the United States, won three Grammy Awards and earned her some of her best reviews since her big years in the early 1990s. Although the album is already a multi-platinum seller, her decision to finally tour was to reward her fans for hanging in there and refusing to give up on her. And so The Adventures of Mimi: The Voice, The Hits, The Tour was born.
"I wanted to do the songs from the album for my fans, because it's kind of like our celebration," the 36-year-old singer and songwriter said in videotaped remarks released before she launched the tour in Miami on Aug. 5. "I mean, I have my 16th and 17th No. 1 records [on the album], and I think that's a victory for me and for my fans," she added.
But Carey is savvy enough to know that her fans won't let her off the stage if she doesn't perform some of her earlier hits. So with the help of musical director Randy Jackson (American Idol), Carey has taken some of her earliest hits and updated the arrangements. Others, she said, have been left intact. "I'm just taking everybody on this fun journey," Carey said.
The journey stops at the Trump Taj Mahal on Aug. 17 and 19. At 5,200 seats, the casino's Etess Arena is easily the smallest room she'll play on the tour by at least half, if not more. She's taking Friday night off because throughout her career, Carey has almost never worked two nights in a row. She credits her mother, a former opera singer and vocal coach, with teaching her how to protect and preserve her voice, which spans an astonishing seven octaves.
"As a songwriter, for some strange reason I write all of my songs up in the [octave] stratosphere," she said. "It requires vocal rest. And I learned a lot from my mom about not hurting your voice, not over-singing, not singing when you have a cold, and to make sure on off days that you don't speak." On her non-speaking days, Carey said she usually gets blisters on her fingers from "writing like a million notes".
Although her travel budget would probably allow for the use of a private jet on the tour, Carey is literally sticking to the road. Working practically every other night from now through early October, she's got a tricked-out tour bus in which she can crash and chill after a show and sleep as she and her troupe travel.
"[The bus] is my home away from home," she said. Although it's as luxurious as a motor coach can get, Carey said it isn't her ultimate bus. "That'll come on the next tour," she said. "I didn't have time to do [the bus] the way I wanted to, which would really be "pimp my ride' times 10."
(Atlantic City Weekly)
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