Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1969 or 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. She rose to prominence after the release of the first single taken from her eponymous debut album in 1990, "Vision of Love". More than two decades later, Rolling Stone defined the song as an influence on "virtually every other female R&B singer since the nineties". Mariah Carey produced four chart-topping singles in the US and began what would become a string of commercially successful albums which solidified the singer as Columbia's highest selling act. Carey and Boyz II Men spent a record sixteen weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 with "One Sweet Day", which remains the longest-running number-one song in US chart history. Following a contemptuous divorce from Sony Music head Tommy Mottola, Carey adopted a new image and traversed towards hip hop with the release of Butterfly (1997). In 1998, she was honored as the world's best-selling recording artist of the 1990s at the World Music Awards and subsequently named the best-selling female artist of the millennium in 2000.
Carey parted with Columbia in 2000, and signed a record-breaking $100 million recording contract with Virgin Records. In the weeks prior to the release of her film Glitter and its accompanying soundtrack in 2001, she suffered a physical and emotional breakdown and was hospitalized for severe exhaustion. The project was poorly received and led to a general decline in the singer's career. Carey's recording contract was bought out for $50 million by Virgin and she signed a multi-million dollar deal with Island Records the following year. After a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to the top of music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). The album became the best-selling album in the US and the second best-seller worldwide in 2005 and produced "We Belong Together", which became her most successful single of the 2000s, and was later named "Song of the Decade" by Billboard. Carey once again ventured into film with a well-received supporting role in Precious (2009), and was awarded the "Breakthrough Performance Award" at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Throughout her career, Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. According to the RIAA, she is the third-best-selling female artist in the United States, with 63.5 million certified albums. With the release of "Touch My Body" (2008), Carey gained her 18th number-one single in the United States, more than any other solo artist. In 2012, the singer was ranked second on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Women in Music". Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Carey has won 5 Grammy Awards, 19 World Music Awards, 11 American Music Awards, and 14 Billboard Music Awards and has been consistently credited with inspiring a generation of singers. Referred to as the "songbird supreme" by the Guinness World Records, she is famed for her five-octave vocal range, power, melismatic style and signature use of the whistle register.
Carey began dating Mottola while recording Music Box, and married him on June 5, 1993. After the release of Daydream and the success that followed, Carey began focusing on her personal life, which was a constant struggle at the time. Carey's relationship with Mottola began to deteriorate, due to their growing creative differences in terms of her albums, as well as his controlling nature. On May 30, 1997, the couple announced their separation, with their divorced finalized by the time Mottola remarried on October 11, 1997. Carey was in a three year relationship with singer Luis Miguel from 1998 to 2001.
Carey met actor and comedian Nick Cannon while they shot her music video for her song "Bye Bye" on an island off the coast of Antigua. On April 30, 2008, Carey married Cannon in The Bahamas. At 35 weeks into her pregnancy, she gave birth to their fraternal twins, Monroe and Moroccan, on April 30, 2011.
In August 2014, Cannon confirmed he and Carey had separated a few months earlier. He filed for divorce on December 12, 2014.
On January 21, 2016, Carey and Australian billionaire James Packer announced that they were engaged.
Carey is a Christian. She stated in 2006: "I do believe that I have been born again in a lot of ways. I think what I've changed are my priorities and my relationships with God. I feel the difference when I don't have my private moments to pray. ... I'm a fighter, but I learned that I'm not in charge. Whatever God wants to happen is what's going to happen. I feel like I've had endless second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth chances. It's by the grace of God I'm still here."
Throughout Carey's career, she has collected many honors and awards, including the World Music Awards' Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium, the Grammy's Best New Artist in 1991, and Billboard's Special Achievement Award for the Artist of the Decade during the 1990s. In a career spanning over 20 years, Carey has sold over 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the biggest-selling artists in music history. Carey is ranked as the best-selling female artist of the Nielsen SoundScan era, with over 52 million copies sold. Carey was ranked first in MTV and Blender magazine's 2003 countdown of the 22 Greatest Voices in Music, and was placed second in Cove magazine's list of "The 100 Outstanding Pop Vocalists". Aside from her voice, she has become known for her songwriting. Yahoo Music editor Jason Ankeny wrote, "She earned frequent comparison to rivals Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, but did them both one better by composing all of her own material." According to Billboard magazine, she was the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States. At the 2000 World Music Awards, Carey was given a Legend Award for being the "best-selling female pop artist of the millennium", as well as the "Best-selling artist of the 90s" in the United States, after releasing a series of albums of multiplatinum status in Asia and Europe, such as Music Box and Number 1's. She is also a recipient of the Chopard Diamond award in 2003, recognizing sales of over 100 million albums worldwide. Additionally, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lists Carey as the third-best-selling female artist, with shipments of over 63 million units in the US. In Japan, Carey has the top four highest-selling albums of all time by a non-Asian artist.
Carey has spent 79 weeks at the number-one position on Billboard Hot 100, the greatest number for any artist in US chart history. On that same chart, she has accumulated 18 number-one singles, the most for any solo artist (and second after The Beatles). In 1994, Carey released her holiday album Merry Christmas has sold over 15 million copies worldwide, and is the best-selling Christmas album of all time. It also produced the successful single "All I Want for Christmas Is You", which became the only holiday song and ringtone to reach multi-platinum status in the US. In Japan, Number 1's has sold over 3,250,000 copies and is the best-selling album of all time in Japan by a non-Asian artist. Her hit single "One Sweet Day", which featured Boyz II Men, spent sixteen consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart in 1996, setting the record for the most weeks atop the Hot 100 chart in history. After Carey's success in Asia with Merry Christmas, Billboard estimated Carey as the all-time best-selling international artist in Japan. In 2008, Billboard listed "We Belong Together" ninth on The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs and second on Top Billboard Hot 100 R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song was also declared the most popular song of the 2000s decade by Billboard. In 2009, Carey's cover of Foreigner's song "I Want to Know What Love Is" became the longest-running number-one song in Brazilian singles chart history, spending 27 consecutive weeks at number-one. Additionally, Carey has had three songs debut at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100: "Fantasy", "One Sweet Day" and "Honey", making her the artist with the most number-one debuts in the chart's 52-year history. Also, she is the first female artist to debut at number 1 in the U.S. with "Fantasy". In 2010, Carey's 13th album and second Christmas album, Merry Christmas II You, debuted at No.1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, making it only the second Christmas album to top that chart. On November 19, 2010, Billboard magazine named Carey in their "Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years" chart at number four. In 2012, Carey was ranked second on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Women in Music". Billboard magazine ranks her at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making Carey the second most successful female artist in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In August 2015, Carey was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.