Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Mariah: Free at Last
by Lawrence Ferber
2005-04-06

This article shared 4372 times since Wed Apr 6, 2005
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


What makes a superb crossover pop/ dance/r&b/hip-hop album? An artist with one-of-a-kind personality, phenomenal vocals, excellent production, talented guest contributors, and that sparkly quality the hip-hop kids ( and now the Oxford English Dictionary! ) call 'bling-bling.'

'I would say there definitely is 'bling' in the album,' admits Mariah Carey, amused. She's discussing her latest and possibly greatest album, The Emancipation of Mimi ( Island Def Jam ) . With production/vocal contributions from Jermaine Dupri, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Twista, Snoop Dogg and Nelly, and Carey's unmistakable voice arranged and textured in fresh new ways, the album represents a superb 21st century reinvention of the seven-octave performer. And yeah, it's just bursting with jewelry-like bling-bling. 'I like bling,' Carey laughs. 'It's got a certain quality that when you put it on it lights up the moment.'

Carey has plenty of work to do today, yet the earthy and forthcoming diva happily made time for a 'gay' interview. 'There was a time when all I was allowed to do was go to gay clubs,' she recalls, 'because my quote-unquote husband was so afraid of me being around straight people.' But back to The Emancipation of Mimi. A year and a half in the making, the album's catchy, Jermaine Dupri-produced first single, 'It's Like That,' is already burning up the charts and dance floors. David Morales has performed his club magic on the track and an upcoming nine-minute remix of 'Say Somethin'.' Other upbeat album standouts include 'Shake It Off,' the playfully '80s-ish pickup ditty 'Get Your Number,' and smooth super-blingy 'To The Floor.'

'This is very much like a party record,' Carey says. 'Since the time I was in junior high the process of putting on makeup and getting ready to go out ... those are the moments you want to put on a record and get excited [ about ] whatever it is you're gonna do. I wanted to make a record that was reflective of that.'

Yet The Emancipation of Mimi is balanced out by a generous handful of ballads and downtempo numbers, many of which deal with heartbreak, bad relationships, and cheating lovers. 'In some ways I feel the songs flow together really well,' Carey insists. 'Like you're going out, you're coming down from going out and then another song picks you back up.'

As on all of her previous albums, Carey co-wrote every song on Emancipation. So where did all those breakup songs come from? 'Past experiences darling,' she laughs. 'You try to take those moments and channel them into something because if not you just become bitter!'

'Shake It Off' takes a playful approach to bitterness—and, more specifically, a cheatin' bad apple—with lyrics like 'I gotta shake you off/ just like a Calgon commercial.' 'That's probably one of my favorite songs on the album,' she admits. 'Shake it off can apply to anything. Whatever personal dramas we go through, put that song on and you lose the anxiety or intensity of the moment. I'll listen to that song when I've just come out of an annoying meeting. I gotta shake this off.'

The Emancipation of Mimi isn't a concept album per se, but it definitely sees Carey, whose closest friends and family call her Mimi, shaking off what audiences have come to expect. 'It's more the record I always wanted to make type of a thing,' she notes. 'Everyone expects [ an album title ] like Rainbow or Butterfly, from me. So I thought The Emancipation of Mimi was cool—that Mimi side of me coming out as opposed to the 'Mariah Carey' celebrity or stigma or whatever preconceived notions people have of me as that person. This time I really experimented and played with how [ my vocals ] sounded as a whole.'

That said, longtime fans will find plenty of her vocal/lyrical signatures and 'drama' on tracks like 'Mine Again,' 'Joy Ride' and 'I Wish You Knew.'

A Long Island, New York native, Carey's life in music started the moment she was born: her mother named her after a song, 'They Call The Wind Mariah.' Mom also helped instill a sense of open-mindedness and acceptance in Carey, which surely helped lead to her garnering legions of gay fans and friends. 'I've always tried not to judge people,' she explains. 'My mom being an opera diva, artsy love everybody kind of rebellious girl from the Midwest who married a Black man and who had predominantly gay friends. Nothing ever seemed like it was wrong or strange to me. It was a loving type of vibe I got. I basically was raised by two gay men, Ernie and Mort, who were best friends. When we didn't have a place to stay we stayed with them. So I feel like God recognizes us all as human beings and loves us as we are.'

Carey began singing by age four, wrote songs by middle school, and moved to NYC after high school to pursue a musical career. She admits that love—and sex—took a backseat during much of her youth. 'I'm kind of a prude, especially with straight guys because they can be dogs,' she admits. 'My sister had a baby when she was 15—I'm thankful she did because her son is an amazing person, but I looked at what was going on with that and I made a conscious effort to focus on my career. And people would make fun of me because I was this virginal girl who walked around in tight dresses. They were like what is this dichotomy going on here? So [ in terms of sexual experimentation ] I haven't really been the most exploratory gal in the land. I know that's boring for the readers!'

Her self-titled 1990 debut launched Carey into the pop ( and drag queen lip synch repertory ) stratosphere with four No. 1 singles, including 'Someday,' and two Grammy wins for Best New Artist and Best Female Vocalist. More hits, awards and platinum discs followed over the years for Emotions ( 1991 ) , Music Box ( 1993 ) , Daydream ( 1995 ) , Butterfly ( 1997 ) and Rainbow ( 1999 ) . Yet in summer of 2001, Carey hit a spot of rough road with the critically mauled film Glitter and a series of personal/public breakdowns ( not to mention the death of her father and breakup with boyfriend Luis Miguel ) .

Carey looks back at that quintessentially 'Behind The Music'-worthy period 'as something that had to happen in my life,' she says. 'The drama would not have been high enough without that. I really do feel a lot was made out of that time period, it was so blown out of proportion. That movie and that soundtrack—which I think had some really good songs that hopefully one day I'll get to redo—the fact it came out on September 11th people need to remember. How can we expect anything from that? I was a scapegoat in a lot of ways for a lot of talk show hosts who wanted to get away from the real stuff going on in the world. We all have to go through our tests to see how strong we are and come out on the other side.'

She's definitely on that other side now, and Carey says she owes this fact to God and spirituality. The final song on Emancipation, 'Fly Like a Bird,' boasts dashes of gospel, soul, and plenty of calls/thanks to a higher power. Her pastor even makes an appearance on the track. 'To me the most important thing is the message he says in the beginning of the song,' she notes. ''Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.' I felt like a lot of people may not hear that message and a lot of people need to. It wasn't to be preachy. A lot of times people will hear songs that I write that are not the typical songs people look at as 'Mariah Carey songs.' Like 'Close my Eyes,' which only real fans would know but a lot of [ them ] relate to. It's about having a difficult childhood and going through a lot of deep stuff. There's a song called 'Outside' that's about being biracial. A lot of people relate to it because they felt like outsiders all their lives. There are a lot of songs I've put on albums as a [ personal ] release but I know it helps other people. To show that someone else has gone through what they've gone through.'

Marriage is one thing Carey doesn't plan to go through again just yet. When asked about her feelings regarding the hot topic of gay marriage, Carey first responds by stating 'I think it's a huge political thing and I'm notoriously not political. If you asked me about any candidate I'm pretty much clueless. But I feel like everything in life is a personal choice.' Then, after a few minutes, she adds that 'when you mention [ gay ] marriage, marriage in general, after going through the experience I went through I think my whole view on marriage is tainted no matter what kind of marriage we're talking about. I feel like I went into my situation being married for the wrong reasons. I've been traumatized.'

Happily, gays—such as Heatherette designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains— have been and continue to be a positive presence in her life and career. 'I don't want to out anybody!' she laughs when asked for names of gays who have worked alongside her. 'But I would venture to say yes! Definitely!' And Mariah does have an exciting series of projects ahead. She's considering another foray into film acting ( her performance in the underrated Wisegirls, opposite Mira Sorvino, garnered attention from many movie producers ) , a possible remix EP, producing a track for 12-year-old vocalist Paul Robbins ( they appeared on Oprah ) , and 'there's possibly a Broadway Christmas show happening, based around my Christmas songs.' Bling-bling it on, Mariah!


This article shared 4372 times since Wed Apr 6, 2005
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

MOVIES 'George Michael: Freedom Uncut' to be released June 22 2022-05-24
- Sony Music Entertainment and Trafalgar Releasing will release the movie George Michael: Freedom Uncut as a global event on Wed., June 22—and it's fitting that the documentary about the late gay singer will air during Pride ...


Gay News

Siskel to show 'Judy Garland Summer Centennial Retrospective' 2022-05-23
- This June and July, the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., will celebrate Judy Garland to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth (June 10, 1922). The Judy Garland Summer Centennial Retrospective will involve ...


Gay News

THEATER Musical 'Get Out Alive' running July 8-Aug. 7 2022-05-23
- Haven will continue its 2021-22 season with Nikki Lynette's multidisciplinary afrogoth musical Get Out Alive, co-directed by Roger Ellis and Lucky Stiff, which features the writer and her personal journey with mental health. The production will ...


Gay News

Lakeside Pride to present 'Sweet Home Chicago" May 29, part of Pride Bands Alliance Conference 2022-05-23
-- From a press release - On Sunday, May 29 at 7pm, Chicago's Auditorium Theatre will host the culmination of the 40th annual Pride Bands Alliance conference. Chicago's Lakeside Pride is welcoming Pride Bands Alliance members from its family of 38 affiliate ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Broadway, JoJo Siwa, WEHO Pride, 'Jurassic World,' Madonna 2022-05-22
- The Broadway League announced that all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City have extended the current mask requirement for audiences through at least June 30, Playbill noted. Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer playwright, LGBTQ+ films, BMI Pop Awards, new superhero 2022-05-15
- Jeremy O. Harris, the queer Tony-nominated author of Slave Play, has been named the presiding playwright for the 2023 Yale Drama Series Prize—one of the theater world's most prestigious playwriting honors, Deadline noted. Harris joins the ...


Gay News

Inaugural Heatwave Music Festival in Chicago on July 16-17 2022-05-14
- Auris Presents announced the debut edition and artist lineup for the Heatwave Music Festival, coming to Chicago on July 16-17 in Douglass Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Dr. According to a press release, the festival will be ...


Gay News

MUSIC Ty Herndon releasing 'personal' album 'Jacob' on July 15 2022-05-13
- Out gay Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning country artist Ty Herndon announced the release date of his forthcoming album, Jacob. Jacob—called Herndon's "most personal album to date"—will be out July 15. ...


Gay News

Casting announced for 'Queer Eye: The Musical Parody' at Second City 2022-05-13
- Comedy institution The Second City announced the cast and crew of Queer Eye: The Musical Parody, which will start running Thursday, May 26. (The production will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at ...


Gay News

MUSIC Riot Fest to take place Sept. 16-18 in Chicago 2022-05-12
- Riot Fest—one of the largest remaining independent festivals in the country—is slated to return to Douglass Park on Sept. 16-18. Festival organizers revealed a jam-packed lineup taking up five stages and performing punk, indie rock, hip-hop, ...


Gay News

57th Street Art Fair marking 75th anniversary on June 4-5 2022-05-12
- The 57th Street Art Fair, the Midwest's oldest juried art fair, will mark its 75th anniversary with an in-person celebration on June 4-5 featuring nearly 200 artists, live music presented by Buddy Guy's Legends, and a ...


Gay News

THEATER Underscore's 'Notes & Letters' running through May 28 2022-05-12
- Underscore Theatre Company celebrates its 10th-anniversary season with the world premiere of the musical Notes & Letters, which features book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Lee Revak (she/her) and is ...


Gay News

Chicago Gay Men's Chorus to present 'Unimaginable' on May 20-22 2022-05-11
- The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus will present the spring show "CGMC: Unimaginable," on May 20-22 at three Chicagoland venues. The performances will take place Friday, May 20, at 8 p.m. at Chicago's Athenaeum Center for Thought ...


Gay News

Kokandy Productions to present 'Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical' June 9-Aug. 7 2022-05-10
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (May 10, 2022) — Kokandy Productions is launching its 10th-anniversary season this summer with the Chicago storefront premiere of Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical—a flirty and fun, nostalgia-packed show ...


Gay News

Tonys: Queer-themed 'A Strange Loop' leads nods; 'Paradise Square,' 'MJ' close behind 2022-05-09
- Nominations for the 75th Tony Awards were announced May 9—and a Pulitzer Prize-winning original musical and a play that recounts the 2008 financial crisis led the nods, CNN reported. Leading the nominations was A Strange Loop, ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.