On the couch with Mariah Carey
Our "first time" happened in bed. I mean, my first interview with Mariah Carey, nicknamed
Mimi, way back in 1999 when she was in Hong Kong to promote her album, Rainbow. Mariah
was tired after several rounds of interviews with more than two dozen journalists from
around Asia and, toward early evening, she requested that we do the interview in her
hotel room, with us six journalists seated around her bed where Mariah reclined like a
Two weeks ago, we did it again. I mean, have another interview, this time with Mariah
reclining on a couch, as friendly and as down-to-earth and as accommodating as ever, even
violating a "no-photographs" rule and agreeing to pose for picture with me after I gave
her a copy of my first Conversation titled In bed with Mariah Carey. It happened at a
suite of The Peninsula in Tokyo where Mariah was promoting her new album, E=MC2.
Her face spelled H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S. Very obviously, she has made it "through the rain",
to quote the now-classic song titled Make It Through the Rain which she recorded during
a slump in her life and career a few years ago. A song that has become a favorite piece
among aspirants in singing contests.
But, of course, the fact that she's on honeymoon mode explained the glow around Mariah.
Last April 30, she surprised the world by getting married to singer-actor Nick Cannon at
a sunset ceremony near the ocean in the Bahamas where Mariah owns an estate. They
reportedly met in 2005 but started dating only last March.
The proposal was straight out of a romantic movie. Here's how People magazine described
it: On April 25, Cannon took Carey to the roof of her New York City apartment to see the
Empire State Building, lit pink and lavender to honor her album E=MC2. As he often did,
he gave her a Ring Pop candy shaped like a big jewel. But inside the wrapper was a
17-carat pink-diamond ring created by Jacob & Co.'s Jacob Arabo. Her reaction? "He has
ribbons around it, so I said, 'I think mine's broken'," says Mariah. When he dropped to
one knee, "she ran away and got all shy," he says. Finally, she said yes - twice. Cannon,
who filmed it all, proposed again to get a perfect take, this time on a helicopter.
"That," says Carey, "was beautiful."
Congratulations, Mariah! E=MC2 turned gold upon its release in the Philippines. (The
album/CD is released in the Philippines by MCA Music Inc.)
Oh, thank you!
You were in the Philippines a few years ago. How did you find it?
Oh, I had an amazing time in the Philippines and I'd love to go back. The crowd at the
concert was fun; it was a really, really festive crowd. After the show, I had a chance
to go to the beach and that was really beautiful; one of the most beautiful beaches that
I've seen in my whole life... and I've been to several of them. I want to thank my fans
in the Philippines for their love and support. Please extend my love to all my fans in
Why did you call it E=MC2?
Well, there's a lot of reasons but, you know, it's just fun and having a good time, and
"MC" is my nickname... and, you know, there's a lot of different reasons. I like people
to interpret it in their own way.
How did the album come to be?
Well, it's just some sort of a combination of different moments, really. It begins with
a song called Migrate which has a "dark" kind of a feel; I just love its beat. Everything
happens for a reason and E=MC2 is really one album that represents my life right now.
It's some kind of a soundtrack of my life.
Of course, "E" in the album's title stands for Emancipation (which happens to be in
the title of your immediate past album, also a hit), doesn't it?
Well, I say that sometimes when, you know... As I've said, other people have a different
interpretation of the word "E". But really, I think it is sort of like a dose of who I
am. You know what I mean - as a person and as an artist. And so, that's what it is. It's
kind of like about me.
"Emancipated" from what?
Well, from a lot of things. I mean, I think that as we grow old and we learn more about
ourselves, we become a little bit more free. It's difficult to be free if you don't
really know where you come from, or if you are not in touch with your feelings. It has
taken me a long time to get to that place because, uh, you know, I have gone through
rough roads along the way. They've been amazing times, though. Freedom and emancipation
and all those good things are really important to me.
You are such a beautiful survivor.
Oh, thank you!
To everybody, most especially your fans, you will forever be the diva.
Oh, I'm very grateful for that. I believe that I owe it to the fact that I'm a person
who has a lot of spirituality. I believe in God very strongly but I'm not necessarily a
religious person. I have devoted and dedicated fans; I really care about them. Some
people that I've met, you know, they see their fans and say, "Oh, 'em people are crazy"
Some people have told me that.
So you are in touch with your fans.
Oh yes, I am. When I do a concert, I go down the stage even if my partner would tell me,
"MC, don't go down there!" Look, I like being part of the crowd, I like the feeling.
It's something different. I know others seldom do that, but I do. I love it when my fans
show me clippings of articles about me or books and magazines about me. Getting personal
with them is a wonderful experience.
You have gone through so many things. How did you do it? Where do you draw your
I definitely draw my strength from my personal relationship with God. I've been able to
pray my way through tough times and things like that. You know, I think that's important
for people to know that everything is possible. You know, no matter what kind of mess you
are going through, there's always something bright around the corner. There's always
What inspires you to write songs? Do you write better when you are happy or when you
You know, I've written some songs when I was really, really sad; and then again, I've
written successful songs when I was really, really happy. Some songs I wrote while I was
going through difficult times. I wrote some songs that discuss issues that were difficult
but that turned out to be something that healed me.
So, music can be a form of therapy as it is with many artists.
Yes, it can be. I do think that music is very therapeutic not just for me, you know, but
also for people who listen to it. A song can put lonely people in a good mood, you know.
Would you say that you are happy now more than ever?
Yes, I can say that. This is a very happy time for me. Nothing is ever perfect... there's
always something that you have to deal with. You know, things about you that people don't
necessarily understand, like artists like me are doing what they do for a living. It's
not as if every day is a holiday. I love music and being creative.
You look as smashing as ever. As I've said, you are such a beautiful survivor. How do
you keep in shape?
It's just diet and exercise. Boring!
As an equation for surviving, what's the magic "formula" behind E=MC2?
Well, to me it's all about never losing faith in yourself... always believing in yourself.
People ask me all the time, "Oh, how could you go on? People were writing you off and
treating you like..." whatever it is... "You would never gonna succeed again!" You know
what, people looked at me like that before I became famous. So I can't even entertain
what other people think. It's about me continuing to make music or whatever the project
is. You know, people told me that I could never act again and I was fortunate to make two
films which are coming out this year. It's all about faith, about God and never ever
Obviously, stardom hasn't changed the basic goodness in you.
I still look at myself as the same girl as I was before I joined showbiz. I still
remember being a little kid. I often tell myself, "Don't ever forget what it feels like
to be a kid." You see, adults misunderstand kids so much that they forget what it is like
to be a kid. I still remember when I was struggling and I had only one pair of shoes.
The friend I had at that time is the same friend I have today. She and I would sleep
together on a mattress on the floor of our Manhattan pad. She used to help me get
waitressing jobs. But I was so bad... I was 17 and I was too young to be serving food.
I also got fired because I was listening to my Walkman all the time, to my demo tapes.
I was a complete mess in that regard.
How was your childhood like?
I grew up in New York... without my mother. She was a former opera singer with the New
York Opera and a vocal coach. She was the dominant force in my life because I didn't have
my father (an African-Venezuelan; her mom, Irish) around. I saw my father every now and
then but it was my mother who raised me. She allowed me to develop my personality from a
very young age. She introduced me to all those artistic people. She was a strong-willed
woman; she married my father against wishes of her family. That was in the '60s when
marrying a black man was a no-no. She eventually separated from my father and married a
What about your school life?
I had fun in school but I also had this feeling that I was different, that I was a
mixed-race kid. I was insecure about my looks. It took me a while to get over this
feeling. There's a line from one of my songs that says, "I've learned there's an inner
peace I own, something of my soul that they cannot possess. I won't be afraid of darkness
because there's a light in me that will shine brightly..." and another line from another
song, "They can try but they can't take that away from me." Meaning, no matter what
anybody says, if you have that power within yourself you get through it. And that's what
got me through everything in life because I had a kind of screwed-up childhood.
During our first interview almost a decade ago, I asked you to describe yourself in
...what did I say?
You said you were "workaholic, insecure and optimistic".
Oh, did I say that? (laughs)
(ABS CBN News)
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