Mariah explains how the album came together

Friday 22 April 2005

It's Like That is a song that to me is just very much like, it's all about having a good time, and really just a fun, party record. I went to Atlanta and I was working with Jermaine Dupri. We wrote "Always Be My Baby" together and we've been friends for a really long time. He's just a great person and a great, great producer and writer. I just wanted a record that was really fun, really like for the clubs and just for the people who were getting ready to go out at night; one of those really let-your-hair-down, just have a good time, this is my night type of thing, like this is my song when I go out to have a good time. And that's how we came up with the song "It's Like That", we were just having fun.
We Belong Together is my second single from "The Emancipation of Mimi", and it's probably one of my top three favorite songs on the record, because it was a situation where I went back down to Atlanta to work with Jermaine after we had already written two songs for the album. And I didn't think we could top the songs that we wrote, cause I really liked them a lot. And then I got there, and we started going back and forth with concepts and ideas and we came up with "We Belong Together". And I feel like the end result was just a really heartfelt ballad that I think people can really relate to, even though it's like a very specific story, I think that everybody can probably apply it to their own lives.
Shake It Off is definitely one of my favorite songs from "The Emancipation of Mimi". It was the first time that I went down to Atlanta to work with JD and it was just like, I don't really know how to explain how the song happened, but Jermaine is just incredible with the beats. And we started singing different melodies, and coming up with different lyrics, and at first Jermaine was singing, "I gotta get away" and I was like, that's a cool concept and stuff but I feel like we can do something more specific. And we were just sitting around, and "shake it off" just came out of the blue, like happens when you're writing, and to me it just says so much cause it's like, when you're going through some drama, and you just wanna get through it, you put that song on and it just takes you out of whatever mood you're in.
Mine Again is a song that I wrote with James Poyser who is from The Roots, and he's an incredible, incredible musician and a really good person. We sat down at the piano, the first time we met, and he just started playing and he's one of those musicians where you can go back and forth and just riff off each other. And I was singing him, kind of like what ended up being the main piano riff of the song. And he's so talented that obviously he can just pick that up in two seconds and then you know, he would lead me in one direction, I would lead him in another direction. And we came up with a song that I feel is definitely like the power ballad of this record, and I feel like it's gonna be a lot of people's favorite. Cause it's a very big vocal moment, a big vocal performance. And it's one of those kind of like, break your heart songs, make you get together with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.
Say Somethin' is a song that came about when I, for the first time, went to work with the Neptunes. And obviously I had never worked with Pharrell before, but it was just a really cool experience because he just, musically, he's very, he's got a lot of diverse influences and it was cool that he took me to a different place than I would naturally go. And it was just a great session, because I mean, Snoop was in the other room working on his record. And Pharrell was like, "I really think it'd be hot if we put Snoop on this". And I love Snoop, we've worked together in the past, we did a song called "Crybaby" that's one of my favorite songs. And he came in and he did his part, and it just took the song to a new level. And that's a lot of people's favorite song on this album.
Stay the Night is a collaboration between myself and Kanye West. We've wanted to work together for a really long time, and I was really glad that it happened on this record. It was one of the first songs that I recorded for "The Emancipation of Mimi", and it was a track that he had, that I just like fell in love with when I heard it. And we started going back and forth with some ideas, melody stuff. And then I went away and sang it and I didn't realize when we were coming up with the concepts in writing, that it was in a really high key. And it was, the way I wrote it, it was like a belting-out song. And when I did it I was kicking myself, like "hy didn't I think about this?!" But then after I finished it, I was happy because it's very much a vocal performance... but it's organic to the song and to the nature of the feeling we were going for. It's kind of like giving you an old-schoolish, Jackson 5-type vibe, so I was happy with that.
So, Get Your Number is a song yet again that I did with Jermaine Dupri, only this time Jermaine is actually singing on the record, which I never would have expected in my life that that was gonna happen. But he was using it for his album, and he had sung the hook and it is a loop of the song "It's Just An Illusion" by a group called Imagination. And when I heard it he was like, you know, Jermaine was like, "I want to hear you singing over a loop!" And I was like "Well OK people always criticize me for singing over loops, but there's no other loops on the record, basically, so all right, let's do it." And when I started to resing the hook, it just didn't have the same quality as when Jermaine was singing it, because obviously we have very different voices. So I kind of made it into a duet with Jermaine singing his part on the hook and I do the verses. And a lot of people like it cause it's very, giving you kind of like a "Fantasy" type-feeling.
One and Only is featuring Twista. I got the track from a really, really hot producer named Traxster, who had actually initally made that beat for Twista to rhyme on. And I didn't even know that when I got the record and I just started writing it and it happened to be in that kind of you know fast singing, rythmic style, whatever you wanna call it, just natually cause that's kind where the beat was taking me. And I happened to run into Twista backstage at a show in LA, and I was like "Oh, I have this beat" (cause Traxster produces for Twista a lot) I was like and I love it, it would be so great if you could get on it, I'm a big fan. And he was just so cool. I mean, I was so happy that he's on it cause I'm a really big fan of his. I think his style is amazing.
Circles is a song that I did with Big Jim Wright, who is an incredible musician. He worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and he also does outside projects like Sounds of Blackness and a lot of different gospel things and he's just very very talented. Basically we were going for like an old-school type vibe, it's all live musicians, and I feel like it has that organic kind of feel, like basically we were going for a somewhat retro, urban record that wasn't overly produced that gave you the feeling of you know like something from maybe like the 70s, you know, very soulful kind of record and that's how I tried to produce the background vocals, to kind of give you that vibe of like just a really basic soul record.
Your Girl is a record that I did with Scram Jones who is a hot producer that I just happened to run into when I went to the studio with N.O.R.E, when I went to visit N.O.R.E at the studio, and Scram Jones was there and I didn't know who he was. But he was playing beats and they were hot, and I was with my nephew-slash-cousin who got Scram Jones' number for me, cause he was like, he saw me really loving that beat, but there was nobody that worked with me there, so he just took his number and we got together and I did this song. And it's like, most of my friends who are singers really love that song, like it's one of their top favorite songs because of the style of the singing, the background vocals, and that whole thing. So it's one of those happy, uptempo records but it's still giving you kind of, very thugged out moments cause that's kinda, Scram Jones' thing.
I Wish You Knew is a song that I wrote with Big Jim Wright, one of the songs I wrote with Big Jim. Yet again we recorded it with a live band, and I sang with the band as they were recording it, as they were laying down their track so they could feel where I was gonna go, and you know just the nuances and stuff. And it was a really good experience, even just singing parts to the guitar player or the whatever, whatever instruments were going on, the keyboards, you know, just having the entire moment, the live moment. And I added the live audience in there, there's like a spoken section and I know that I'm gonna do this song live, and it's gonna be fun, because it's giving you old-school kind of Diana Ross moments, of like a live concert where she'll just break down a song and start talking. And I was kinda joking when I did it in the studio but then my friends were there and they were like, "you should leave that". And I was like, alright whatever. Anyway, it's one of my favorite songs off of the record.
To The Floor is a song that features Nelly. I was working with the Neptunes, and Snoop was in one room; Nelly was in the other room. And Nelly came in at one point and Pharrell was like, "you guys should be on this record together". Cause he had this really hot beat. And I was like, "Wow, that'd be incredible." And we all wrote the song together and it was just very much like, you know, I'm a fan of the Neptunes and obviously I'm a fan of Nelly's, and I just wanted basically like a club track. You know, I think it's a little bit more unique than your average club record, because... I think the combination of us kind of duetting without making it like, I wasn't trying to oversing or anything like that with him, as a duet. It was more about the vibe of the track. That's a lot of people's favorite song off the record, as well.
Joyride is a song that almost didn't make it on the record, and I'm really glad that it did because the original track was produced by a 15 year old named Young Genius, and I think it's really cool that, you know, to be 15 and to have done that track is pretty amazing, and then there was this whole thing cause we didn't have, we kind of lost part of the track or something like that... Ee had to mix it to basically two tracks, not to be too technical but it's not the ultimate way to mix a record but it really didn't matter because.. it was so well done the first way so I was happy just to like mix the vocals and call it a day. But it's a ballad and it's kind of like one of those, they call it the baby-making song of the record. I don't use that terminology, but they can call it the baby-making song if they want.
Fly Like a Bird is my favorite song on the album, "The Emancipation of Mimi", mainly because it's very much a spiritual message. It was, I wrote it with Big Jim Wright. We had already written "Circles" and "I Wish You Knew" and I kind of thought we were done writing for the night. And I went upstairs and the melody for "Fly Like A Bird" and the words for the chorus kind of like came to me at this moment, and I was like, "What do I do? Should I finish working tonight? Should I just like record this and do it tomorrow?" And I was like, let me run downstairs. We were in Anguila, working on having this writing session. So I went downstairs and I wrote this song with Big Jim. He layed down the chord structure, and stuff like that, And I later took it and wrote the lyrics and put the choir on it and sang it. And I sang it in Capri, which was just like so inspiring to sit there and sing this song looking out the window, just like at the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. And actually my pastor, Pastor Clarence Keaton, is featured on the song. He opens the song and he says a little something in the middle of the song. And I just felt like the message was really important to include on the album and that's why it's the final song on the album. It kind of sums up everything. It kind of leaves you on a spiritual high moment.

(America Online)

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