With Mariah Carey’s long-awaited memoir due for release tomorrow, snippets of juicy info have been leaking online, some from the singer herself.
Rumoured former lover Eminem doesn’t rate a mention in the book. Jennifer Lopez does, briefly – she still “doesn’t know” her. And her first marriage to Tommy Motola was an oppressive union that left her feeling like a prisoner with little contact with the outside world.
But today, Carey herself dropped a secret from the book that nobody could’ve predicted.
Back in 1995 – at the height of her pop star powers, with hits like Fantasy and One Sweet Day topping the charts – Carey secretly wrote, produced and sang an entire indie rock album.
Oh, and it was released – with nobody knowing of Carey’s involvement for 25 long years.
As Carey dropped the news, her fanbase – the “lambily” – went into sleuth mode. There it was, listed on Amazon, a long out-of-print album by a little-known band called “Chick” called Someone’s Ugly Daughter.
A representative for Carey today told Pitchfork that Carey “wrote, produced, and sang background vocals on every song from Chick’s album.” Carey’s longtime friend and former roomate Clarissa provided lead vocals and appeared in the music videos, keeping Carey’s involvement a strict secret.
Among the handful of reviews on the little-heard album’s Amazon listing is this cryptic 2015 update from “C. Hughes” saying they “loved making this CD” and teasing that there is a “secret ingredient”:
More sleuthing turns up video clips like the one below, for the Chick song Demented. The song’s chorus – “I crave you, I crave you, I crave you,” – strongly suggests that this is actually The Crave Song, an “unreleased” Daydream-era track Carey’s been teasing fans with for years (“It’s a secret… one day I’ll talk about it,” she said of the song back in 2003). Turns out, it was released, 25 years ago – and you can even hear Carey singing lead at around the one-minute mark:
It’s an utterly shocking turn of events given just how glossy and commercial Mariah Carey’s own music was in 1995. Her album Daydream would go on to sell more than 20 million copies worldwide off the back of massive hits like the bouncy Always Be My Baby and the treacly Boyz II Men duet One Sweet Day, a US number one hit for 16 weeks:
We now know that privately, Carey was creating an album’s worth of songs that wouldn’t have sounded out of place alongside 90s grunge and riot grrrl artists like Hole, Sleater Kinney and Liz Phair:
In the excerpt from her memoir explaining the process, Carey revealed she made the two very different albums simultaneously:
“I’d bring my little alt-rock song to the band and hum a silly guitar riff. They would pick it up and we would record it immediately. It was irreverent, raw, and urgent, and the band got into it. I actually started to love some of the songs. I would fully commit to my character. I was playing with the style of the breezy-grunge, punk-light white female singers who were popular at the time. You know the ones who seemed to be so carefree with their feelings and their image. They could be angry, angsty, and messy, with old shoes, wrinkled slips, and unruly eyebrows, while every move I made was so calculated and manicured. I wanted to break free, let loose, and express my misery — but I also wanted to laugh. I totally looked forward to doing my alter-ego band sessions after Daydream each night.”
So why do it? Given what she’s said about her first marriage to Mottola – who was the head of her record company – the answer must lie there. Carey has alleged that Mottola was incredibly controlling of her career and image, resisting even her R&B and rap collaborations as he steered her towards more middle-of-the-road music.
It wasn’t until her 1997 post-divorce album Butterfly that Carey was able to fully explore those influences. Which begs the question – did Mottola have any idea about Chick? Did he know his wife and most bankable artist made a secret grunge album right under his nose?
This is a truly wild day to be a Mariah Carey fan, tracing a 25-year secret that even her most devoted followers never discovered until she made the annouuncement.
There’s many an easter egg to be found: Carey’s dog makes a brief appearance in a Chick music video. She even put a song on her 2008 album E=MC2 called I’m That Chick. The clues were all there, we just didn’t know we should be looking for them!
MARIAH WAS LITERALLY HANNAH MONTANNA IN REAL LIFE, everyone thought chick was this unknown little band that never had success, when all along it was just mariahs outlet for her inner feelings😭😭 pic.twitter.com/sMQS9VhvWM
— 𝔰𝔞𝔪𝔞𝔯𝔦𝔞𝔥 | BLM (@mariahslefttit) September 27, 2020
Can we just appreciate how Mariah straight up did rock music? This Chick revelation is BIG
— biblefly stan | #RaritiesEra (@1998Riah) September 27, 2020
Chick – Demented (1995) https://t.co/uhxz8m8soV
-the monarch butterfly
-the lingerie she would later wear on Butterfly MV
-211 will find its way in Crybaby (Rainbow)
-guitar riffs would later be heard in her BOTH cover
-spin-a-bottle on Candy Bling (Memoirs)
— 𝐌𝐢𝐆𝐎𝐒 (@LambNinja) September 27, 2020
Originally published as Mariah reveals shocking 25-year secret