Mariah Carey’s lasting impact on the new generation of female pop stars
These days, everyone is talking and singing about Mariah Carey. With Fifth Harmony’s new song “Like Mariah”, it has never been evident that every pop star secretly dreams to be well, like Mariah. Even Pitbull raps “I’m no liar, she burned the spot / Look like Mariah, I took another shot” in Time of Our Lives single. Every pop star has referenced Mariah during interviews, including Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, P!nk, and more. Mariah Carey has become the epitome of a successful pop star, and her talent, image and personal life are indelibly a part of our culture.
TIME Magazine named Mariah Carey the Ultimate Pop Star of All Time. The feature fails to explain why. If you’ve ever played 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon, this is sort of like that. If you really look at the major female pop stars of music today, who are known for bold femininity, big voices, and hit singles, you will see a little bit of Mariah in everyone. These comparisons are not made to disrespect any of the other artists, it is mainly to point out the indelible impact Mariah Carey’s stardom, scope and longetivity. In fact, Mariah just recently announced on Ellen her first time ever Las Vegas Residency at Caesar’s Palace, aptly titled #1’s to showcase her body of hits.
Without her, we may not have the types of artists we have today, many of whom model themselves after Mariah in some way, shape or form. After much negative reviews lately and harsh criticism from the media, it’s time to really take a look at how much has influenced a generation of strong women. Whether they like to admit it or not, they grew up on Mariah’s music…and we all have.
ARIANA GRANDE – OFTEN IMITATED, NEVER DUPLICATED
The music industry has been gung-ho about finding the next Mariah for obvious reasons: Mariah Carey is gold! Since Kelly Clarkson and Leona Lewis, they have been looking for the perfect candidate. There is no doubt Mariah Carey has paved “The Way” for pop starlet Ariana Grande. From the sound and style of her music, her appearance and stage mannerisms, she (or her PR team) channels Mariah constantly. The vocal range and musical arrangements are very reflective of Mariah – right down to the whispers, bells and whistles. The constant comparisons in the media and internet make it quite clear who she is being molded after. Ariana covered Mariah’s “Emotions” quite well (with a lot of expert sound-mixing); just for fun, let’s imagine if Mariah covered an Ariana Grande song – intrigued?!
While it’s exciting to think “ANOTHER MARIAH!” – if you know music and understand that Mariah is very responsible for her mega-success from her ambition, song-writing, and actual musical talent. Mariah didn’t start out her career being modeled after someone else – Mariah Carey was discovered and became a living legend and her abilities still remain untouched, which is why she is now an icon. Ariana can belt ballads, but she does not have the skills of the 19 year old Mariah nor today’s Mariah.
Ariana recently addressed the comparisons:
“Mariah has been a huge influence on me since I was a little girl. I’ve even done a cover of one of her songs. I don’t think there are any negatives to being compared to one of the greatest vocalists of all time. It’s honestly a great honor.”
Ariana’s hit single “Problem” pairing with Iggy Azalea stylistically reminds of Mariah’s singles with female-rapper Da Brat (“Heartbreaker Remix”, Loverboy”)
TAYLOR SWIFT – ON TOP OF POP
Taylor Swift is not an overnight success. She is a truly talented, hard-working singer/songwriter/musician who just continues to churn music out year after year. In fact, Taylor writes her own music and she is never shy about it – a lot like Mariah!
Taylor has become the new definition of POP MUSIC, as was Mariah particularly in the Daydream to Butterfly eras. Taylor consistently writes about exes and naysayers. Mariah is notorious for her songs about exes or firing back– especially Eminem (Her song Clown and Obsessed are about him). No other artist right now can make her personal life seem so relevant in the music world, which is why Taylor is on top. Perhaps she took a note from Mariah – to not be silent and instead be vocal. Taylor does have her little diva moments and she gets away with it quite well. She is well-spoken, very subtle and has a sense of humor – and she doesn’t mind singing about rainbows and butterflies. Swift’s “1989” is just as catchy and pop as Always Be My Baby, and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off shares the same title as Mariah’s hit.
BEYONCE – SOUL SISTERS
Let’s start this out by establishing: Mariah was working with Jay-Z way before Beyonce became famous. Jay-Z joined Mariah for the #1 hit Heartbreaker, and Mariah was featured on Jay-Z’s song Things That U Do. He then went onto teaming up with Beyonce for Bonnie & Clyde and the #1 Crazy In Love.
Beyonce is an amazing performer with millions of fans, but her music has always failed to truly connect with a primary audience and she really doesn’t have a catalog of classics like Mariah. However, Beyonce’s latest success is really incorporating hip-hop style R&B into her own soulful singing style. Mariah is mainly given hip-hop cred for her Fantasy remix in which she got Wu Tang’s ODB to join her, forever impacting rap music in the pop realm. Mariah not only featured rappers on her songs, she would return the favor back by being featured on hooks and choruses for rapper friends (Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, J.D.) For street cred, Mariah even jumped on popular underground mixtapes (DJ Clue, Damizza). I want to bring attention away from the fact that Mariah has sung with almost every rapper, and pay attention to style. Mariah fans know Mariah has been sing-rapping since her first album (Listen to “Someday”, “Prisoner” ”Make It Happen”). She really started to finetune and craft this unique element of her music with her Bone Thugs N Harmony collabos (“Breakdown” ”I Still Believe Pure Imagination Remix”). A really good listen is Emancipation of Mimi’s “One and Only”Part 1 and 2 with Twista. In fact, Mariah got dubbed“Hoodriah” for this aspect of her music. Beyonce’s new hood appeal may allow her to act as ratchet as she needs to be in “Drunk in Love” and “7/11”. However, I doubt Mariah will be twerking anytime soon.
Mariah also has alter-ego’s like Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce.
All things aside, Mariah and Beyonce are both friends, have extremely similar fashion choices, and proud mothers!
RIHANNA – WORKAHOLIC
MiMi and RiRi have extremely different vocal styles and music. But due to their demanding schedules, drama follows their personal lives. When Rihanna suffered the very public domestic abuse from Chris Brown, the singer’s personal life was suddenly exposed for all the world, and making her name and music ultimately relevant. The whole crossover of personal life and public persona is a huge factor into why Rihanna’s career took off. Before Rihanna, there was only one other pop star who had a very public “meltdown” (not including Britney Spears) that made her career far more interesting: Mariah. Mariah Carey told Larry King that she sympathizes with Rihanna and she knows what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship, and appears to be referring to marriage to Tommy Mottola. They both are powerful women, and extreme down-to-earth divas – which can be difficult for men to deal with. Rihanna is still vying to compete with Mariah for Billboard chart toppers and a quantity of album releases. Good luck, Rihanna! Rihanna just stated that Mariah’s first number one “Vision of Love” is the song that made her want to make music – Rihanna knows her stuff, now can you please do a cover!
2/5/15, 5:59 PM
“The song that made me want to do music was @MariahCarey, Vision of Love,” @rihanna: bit.ly/1Aricac pic.twitter.com/iLfJmMzCwT
KATY PERRY – THE COMPLETE COPYCAT
In Katy Perry’s most recent single, This Is How We Do, Katy Perry sings “suckin’ at Mariah Karaoke” and hires a drag queen to portray Mariah humorously. In a recent interview she made deceiving, condescending comments that Mariah is “fabulous… for a throwback”. Where Katy should be giving credit, she chooses to make fun.
Let’s begin with how Katy connects to young girls has been totally done by Mariah. Katy Perry plays up the whole inner child and artist concept, when Mariah has been doing the whole “eternally 12” thing forever. Let’s admit it, Katy Perry tries so hard to be an acceptable eccentric artist like Mariah. Katy’s obsession with cupcakes, cotton candy, lollipops and animals are a little reminiscent of Mariah Carey’s original album titles : “Music Box”, “Daydream”, ”Butterfly”, ”Rainbow”, ”Charmbracelet”.
Let’s not forget Mariah was the first female pop star to name her fan base! Mariah named her fans Lambs way before every other female pop star started doing this. Katy Perry followed suit with naming her fans Katycats.
Now let’s take a look at pop numbers. Mariah Carey’s debut album spawned 5 hit singles in 1990 (Vision Of Love, I Don’t Wanna Cry, Someday, Love Takes Time, There’s Got to Be a Way), 4 of which made #1 Singles . Perry’s second album Teenage Dream did something similar with five #1 singles off that album in a year. To add to their sex appeal, Katy Perry, like Mariah Carey, has no problem using her curves to play the sexy pinup – probably a great way to connect with the male audience.
Also Katy Perry wrote Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow” featuring Rita Ora, which sounds very close to Mariah’s recent song “Thirsty” from Me. I Am Mariah. The Elusive Chanteuse. Listen here:
Needless to say both of their recent albums failed to produce album sales. However with Prism being Katy Perry’s third album, she should remember Mariah is still selling like cupcakes, and that …”Honey” catches more flies than vinegar.
KELLY CLARKSON – THE IDOL AND THE FAN
When American Idol first began, the dream was to be the next Mariah Carey. Years later, it resulted on American Idol recruiting Mariah Carey herself as a judge. Kelly Clarkson became the first-ever American Idol, and she would be positioned to sing big ballads with her big voice. Kelly Clarkson has named Mariah as an idol, and has professed her love for the singer. Here’s what happens when they meet:
LADY GAGA – NEW YORK BROADS!
It’s difficult to compare purely sensational artist Lady Gaga to Mariah or anyone. They are both very unique artists and truly one and only talents. Meanwhile
they both enjoy the mega stardom that comes with it!
Like Mariah, Lady Gaga enjoys the super devoted fan bases, hit singles and multi-personas. Mariah has paved a pathway into the music pop world for such nuances for Mariah’s many different album eras have painted lasting impressions on the music pop culture world. Before there were Monsters, there were Lambs. Before Twitter, Mariah was leaving personalized messages on her website MariahCarey.com (until the meltdown incident). Basically, before Gaga, there was the one and only Mimi.
It is striking Gaga’s current fashions, image choices, and juxtapositions that look a bit familiar.
Gaga’s as of late has been positioned alongside Donatella Versace – one of Mariah’s long time friends, designers and supporters. Gaga has been known to emulate/copy/reference other pop stars – but she’s definitely in hot pursuit now. Gaga’s hair extensions in her G.U.Y. video and some of the compositions definitely take from of Mariah’s huge comeback video It’s Like That – in which Mariah was channelling Donatella. A few Obsessed moments are borrowed as well (in similar diva fashion like Taylor Swift’s Blank Space references to We Belong Together and Touch My Body). Gaga’s recently attempts to possess the coveted diva-goddess image Mariah has defined so well for so long.
Classic Diva Songbirds
Mariah’s versatility gave her mass appeal on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Adult Contemporary. Lady Gaga proves she can also not only please her younger audience, but that she has a sensibility for real music.
Gaga released a duet album with Tony Bennett. Coincidentally, her image choice is very reminiscent of young Mariah’s photo with Bennett years earlier.While Mariah herself may not have had the idea of this duet album, Mariah is the queen of duets. She has sung alongside some of the very best singers including Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Brian McKnight, and Tony Bennett himself on Duets II (When Do the Bells Ring For Me?)
Mariah and Lady Gaga love pianos! Mariah actually owns Marilyn Monroe’s white baby grand piano. And Lady Gaga is known for her untouchable piano acts. They both sexualize this ivory-keyed instrument quite well!
Very recently, Lady Gaga stopped by for Mariah’s AIWFCIS Christmas show to support her original New York diva herself!
Fifth Harmony – “Like Mariah“
Although this article was written weeks before the release of Fifth Harmony’s “Like Mariah” single, we couldn’t agree more. Listen to “Like Mariah” which samples Mariah Carey’s hit song “Always Be My Baby” (from Daydream)