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Mariah Carey says it took a lifetime to gather “the courage and clarity,” but she’s ready to tell her story in her words in the memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey.
Set for publication Sept. 29 as one of the first titles to debut from Andy Cohen Books — the Henry Holt & Co. imprint overseen by the Bravo guru — the memoir will also roll out on Audible with Carey as narrator and performer as her words will be interwoven with musical components.
Carey promises an unfiltered look at her life and legendary career as one of the biggest-selling female acts of all time and one of the few that has written nearly her entire catalog. As of last year, Carey, 50, became the only artist in history to have a track atop the Billboard Hot 100 in four decades after her “All I Want for Christmas Is You” hit the top spot, becoming her 19th No. 1 in a surprise showing nearly 25 years after its release.
One thing is certain: Carey has no shortage of material for a memoir. Her rags-to-riches backstory is well documented yet has never received a true in-depth take. She went from humble beginnings in New York as the daughter of a Black man, Alfred Roy Carey, and white opera singer, Patricia Carey, to singing backup for Brenda K. Starr and dropping out of beauty school. She was discovered by Sony boss Tommy Mottola, whom she married and later divorced amid allegations of emotional torment. For years, however, headlines focused on her jaw-dropping chart success as she churned out No. 1 after No. 1 and a dizzying set of albums including Music Box, Daydream, Butterfly, Rainbow, Glitter (the album and film of the same name), Charmbracelet, The Emancipation of Mimi, E=MC2, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, Merry Christmas II You, Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, and the most recent Caution.
Carey has won five Grammys, 15 Billboard Music Awards, 19 World Music Awards and 10 American Music Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as appeared in a string of Hollywood films, including Glitter, Precious, The Butler, Tennessee and Wise Girls. The memoir release is coming in a year that marks the 30th anniversary of her self-titled debut, and as part of today’s announcement, it has been noted that “additional surprises and rarities” are expected to follow in the coming months.
To the casual listener, Carey may be most closely associated with butterflies, rainbows, Christmas and as the first major female pop star to infuse her music with R&B flavor. However, for her diehard fans — “lambs” or “lambily” — the “elusive chanteuse” is known for infusing her work with ultra personal lyrics that reveal weightier subjects, from abuse and abandonment to insecurities and race issues, and even her religious faith. She has also devoted many a tune to falling in and out of love, tracing relationships with high-profile men including Luis Miguel, Derek Jeter, onetime husband Nick Cannon and current boyfriend Bryan Tanaka.
Carey teased in a Tuesday Instagram post that she will cover much of the above. “Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a 10-minute television interview,” she wrote in reference to the memoir launch. “And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me.”
She continued: “This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side.”
Carey, repped by Roc Nation, CAA and Imprint PR, worked with writer Michaela Angela Davis on the text, edited in print by James Melia, senior editor at Holt, with Kat Lambrix, senior director at Audible Studios producing the audio version for her company. Davis is described as “an award-winning writer, image activist, producer and cultural commentator” who has focused predominantly in her work on elevating stories about Black women’s identity and culture.
“Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing,” Carey said. “My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me but also about the resilience of the human spirit.”
A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on
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