Daydream is Mariah Carey's fifth studio album.

It was released on October 3, 1995 by Columbia Records.

The album leaned more towards contemporary R&B and hip-hop music and served as Mariah's most personal & directly influenced album at time.

Album BackgroundEdit

During the album's recording, Mariah grew not only as an artist, but a writer as well.

For the first time in her career, she was able to make music that she truly related to: R&B and hip hop.

While Columbia allowed Mariah more leniency with the music she recorded, they became hesitant when she featured rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard in the remix for "Fantasy."

They feared the sudden change was completely left field for her music, and worried it would jeopardize the album's success.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mariah openly spoke of her issues with Columbia, stating:

"Everybody was like 'What, are you crazy?' They're nervous about breaking the formula. It works to have me sing a ballad on stage in a long dress with my hair up."

While Mariah's new musical direction caused tension between her and Columbia Records, it began to severely strain her relationship with her husband at the time, Tommy Mottola.

Tommy had always been involved in Mariah's career, because he was the head of Sony Music (the parent company of her label).

Since the time of Mariah's debut album, Tommy had controlled nearly every aspect of her career & kept her sound carefully regulated and insisted that she continue recording "middle-of-the-road pop music" despite her interest in hip hop.

Mariah confessed that she never tried to change the situation because "[she] used to be insecure and cautious, and so [she] would listen to what the people said."

However, the control Tommy exerted over Mariah's career soon "spilled into her personal life" once they were married which increased the amount of conflict between them.

Soon, it was obvious that their marriage was in shambles. According to a Vanity Fair article, "the couple began to argue at the drop of a hat."

Mariah was very involved in the project, more so than she had ever been on an album.

According to Time Magazine, she told them:

"I went into this phase of recording, recording, recording and doing it really fast. This time, I had more time, and I focused more on what I wanted to do."

As Mariah's career and work continued to reflect her views on how it should sound, her marriage to Tommy continued to "deteriorate."

Album Production & CompositionEdit

One of the first songs that was recorded for the album was "Fantasy."

While Mariah began developing new ideas for the album, she thought of the song "Genius of Love" by the Tom Tom Club.

She had always been a fan of the tune and presented Dave Hall with the idea of sampling the song's hook.

Dave incorporated a groove that he felt complimented Mariah's voice while she composed some of the other beats and wrote the lyrics.

Mariah recorded a remix to the song as well (featuring hip-hop verses from O.D.B of the Wu-Tang Clan) as well as production from Puffy.

Mariah spoke highly of the remix, complimenting Puffy and O.D.B, saying:

"He's so known in the street, and he's one of the best people out there...we kind of did what we both do and having O.D.B took it to another level. He was my ultimate choice, so I was really happy with the way it turned out."

"One Sweet Day" was a song that Mariah wrote with R&B group Boyz II Men.

After Mariah's friend and past collaborator David Cole died, she began writing and developing a song that would pay homage to him and all the friends and family her fans had lost along life's journey.

Mariah had the chorus and concept composed. After meeting with Boyz II Men, they realized they too had a similar idea in development.

Together, using Mariah's chorus and idea (as well as the melody they had produced), they wrote and composed the song.

It was produced by Walter Afanasieff (who built on the song's melody and added various grooves and beats).

Mariah expressed how the song was "meant to be" and how all the pieces fit into place:

"I wrote the initial idea for 'One Sweet Day' with Walter, and I had the chorus...and I stopped and said, 'I really wanna do this with Boyz II Men,' because...obviously I'm a big fan of theirs and I just thought that the work was crying out for them, the vocals that they do, so I put it away and said, 'Who knows if this could ever happen, but I just don't wanna finish this song because I want it to be our song if we ever do it together. [The] whole idea of when you lose people that are close to you, it changes your life and changes your perspective. When they came into the studio, I played them the idea for the song and when [it] finished, they looked at each other, a bit stunned, and told me that Nat "Nathan Morris" had written a song for his road manager who had passed away. It had basically the same lyrics and fit over the same chord changes. It was really, really weird, we finished the song right then and there. We were all kinda flipped about it ourselves. Fate had a lot to do with that. I know some people won't believe it, but we wouldn't make up such a crazy story."

While the album's development was underway, Mariah expressed interest in working with Jermaine Dupri, whom she had been a fan of since his 1992 song "Jump."

Soon after, she, Jermaine and Manuel Seal began composing a song for the album.

As Manuel played the piano, Mariah began humming and playing with certain notes in the B-section until she came up with the chorus for "Always Be My Baby."

After the rest of the song was written and composed, Mariah recorded the song alongside longtime background singers Kelly Price, Shanrae Price and Melonie Daniels.

Together, they built "a wall of background voices" in which she would cover with her final belting notes.

The song featured a downbeat rhythm while its composition was described as "sassy and soft R&B" which displayed a "sexy and slow jam."

"Underneath the Stars" was the first song recorded for the album.

The song featured a "70s soul vibe" as well as synthetic record scratches in order to the give the song an authentic '70s sound.

Mariah felt the additions were simple steps taken to further display a contemporary R&B groove.

Additionally, she felt the song paid homage to the style of Minnie Riperton, who was one of her biggest vocal influences growing up.

The song had a soft sound and had "a lot [sic] of texture" and bass, showing a more creative side to Mariah.

For the album, Mariah covered rock band Journey's 1982 song "Open Arms."

The song was of her personal choice, as well as her own idea.

Together with Walter Afanasieff, they toned down the song's arrangement, making it a bit glossy, especially in comparison to the "raw and powerful 'One Sweet Day.'"

Additionally (with the help of her background singers), Mariah added a touch of gospel to the song.

One of the more gospel-influenced songs on the album was "I Am Free."

The song was created by Mariah, Walter and Loris Holland (with whom she had worked previously on "Merry Christmas").

Mariah began humming the melody with the lyrics she had already written while Loris played the organ and Walter worked on the song's programming, giving the song a genuine and unforced gospel feel.

The chorus was sophisticated and natural, with each following line "cascading onto one another," something that would have proved difficult for a "less skilled vocalist."

Mariah started leaning away from the "standard Celine Dion ballad" and more towards R&B jams, however, she was not going to completely abandon the type of songs that made her famous.

For this reason, Mariah wrote the song "When I Saw You" with Walter Afanasieff, a song that would truly embody some of her earlier work as well as show off her powerful vocals.

Returning to her R&B territory, she recorded the song "Long Ago" (which was the second song she wrote alongside Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal) which contains a strong hip hop background.

Mariah's vocals in the song were described as "sliding over the insistent bassline like silk."

"Melt Away" was a song that Mariah produced on her own and co-wrote with Babyface.

The song's writing and production were "superb" with each verse gliding into its chorus.

According to Chris Nickson, "Underneath the Stars" was as "strong as any slow jam released in the nineties and one that would find a lot of flavor late at night with dancers."

Another song that brought back reminders of older decades was "Forever."

The throwback was featured through the chord changes and in the way the guitar arpeggios "stayed at the forefront of the music."

The song displayed subtle vocals from Mariah as well as an undeniable richness.

The song "Daydream Interlude (Sweet Fantasy Dub Mix)" was one of the liveliest tracks on the album.

It was a club remix of "Fantasy" which was tuned and remixed by famed house music producer David Morales.

The song was directed to be a dance-club song, further broadening Mariah's "musical horizon."

The song incorporated her vocals and added them to a thumping house beat, something he would do for many of her future singles.

The song "Looking In" was the final track on the album. It was Mariah's most personal song at the time, one in which she let herself appear "naked" and "stripped down."

According to author Chris Nickson:

"[The song] reflected on her life now, the changes she'd gone through, and the difference between the public perception of Mariah Carey and the real person. Intimate and revealing, it made an appropriate end to the album, and was evident that Mariah was growing, changing, and becoming much more herself, confident of who she was and what she could do."

Album PromotionEdit

In order to promote the album, Mariah embarked on her second head-lining tour.

Originally, she had not planned to tour due to the long travel times and hassle, however, after many requests from fans, she agreed to tour.

The tour reached Japan and select European countries, not visiting the United States possibly due to the mixed reception of Mariah's 1993 North American "Music Box Tour" received three years prior.

The shows were all spaced apart, giving Mariah time to rest her vocals.

According to her:

"It's very strenuous to sing all my songs back to back, but I'm actually really looking forward to it."

Many musicians joined Mariah for the tour including Randy Jackson who served as the musical director & played the bass, Dan Shea on the keyboards, Vernon Black playing the guitar, Gigi Conway on the drums and percussion & music sequencing by Peter Michael and Gary Cirimelli.

All of the musicians and background vocalists were under the supervision of Walter Afanasieff, who played the piano and guided the production.

Before embarking on her world tour in 1996, Mariah performed a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden in 1995.

The performance was filmed and released as a DVD titled "Fantasy: Mariah Carey at Madison Square Garden." It became her fourth video release.


  1. Fantasy (4:04) (written by Mariah Carey, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Dave Hall, Adrian Belew & Steven Stanley; produced by Mariah Carey & Dave Hall)
  2. Underneath the Stars (3:33) (written & produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff)
  3. One Sweet Day (feat. Boyz II Men) (4:42) (written by Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff, Michael McCary, Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris & Shawn Stockman; produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff)
  4. Open Arms (3:30) (written by Steve Perry & Jonathan Cain; produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff)
  5. Always Be My Baby (4:18) (written & produced by Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri & Manuel Seal Jr.)
  6. I Am Free (3:09) (written & produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff)
  7. When I Saw You (4:24) (written & produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff)
  8. Long Ago (4:33) (written & produced by Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri & Manuel Seal Jr.)
  9. Melt Away (3:42) (written & produced by Mariah Carey & Babyface)
  10. Forever (4:00) (written & produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff)
  11. Daydream Interlude (Fantasy Sweet Dub Mix) (3:04) (written by Mariah Carey, Chris Franz, Tina Weymouth, Dave Hall, Adrian Belew & Steven Stanley; produced by Mariah Carey & David Morales)
  12. Looking In (3:35) (written & produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff)

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Daydream" entered the Billboard 200 at number one, with 224,000 copies sold, staying at the top spot the following week with 216,000 copies sold.

It gained power again in the upcoming weeks of holiday sales peaked in the year's final week with 760,000 units sold.

The album moved 760,000 copies during the Christmas week of 1995, the album's highest sales week.

It also reached number one on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

The album was the second best-selling album of 1996 and the eighteenth best-selling album on the 1990s decade in the US.

According to Soundscan, the album has sold 7,657,000 copies in the U.S., not including sales in BMG music clubs.

In the United States, the album became Mariah's best-selling album, being certified diamond by the RIAA (RIAA), denoting shipments of at least ten million copies.

In Canada, the album peaked at number two on the charts, and was certified seven-times platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).

The album experienced success in Europe where it reached number one in Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

In France, it peaked at number two and was certified double-platinum by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP).

The sales in France are estimated at 730,400 copies.

The album was certified triple-platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), denoting shipments of well over three million copies throughout Europe,to date,the album has sold 3.800.000 copies in Europe.

In Australia, the album was certified five-times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting shipments of over 350,000 copies. It finished ninth on the ARIA End of Year Charts in both 1995 & 1996.

In Japan, the album debuted at number one on the Oricon charts.

According to the Oricon, the album has become the third best-selling album in Japan by a non-Asian artist, selling over 2,200,000 copies.

"Daydream" remains one of the best-selling albums of all time, with sales of over 25 million copies worldwide.

Critical ReceptionEdit

Critically, "Daydream" has been lauded with a universal acclaim by contemporary music critics.

Reviews applauded the little changes of style from previous Mariah Carey releases, some of whom adding that it is her best record.

Bill Lamb from gave the album four out of five stars.

He complimented the album's direction and called it a "near-perfect blend of uptempo R&B/hip hop and lush ballads."

Specifically, he highly praised "Fantasy," noting that:

"The bumping beat of Tom Tom Club's classic "Genius Of Love" underlying "Fantasy" is utterly irresistible."

Another song which Lamb heavily praised was "One Sweet Day" where he called Mariah and Boyz II Men a "perfect vocal match" and wrote:

"Together they turn what could be a rather morose ballad into a truly inspiring and hopeful performance."

Allmusic's senior editor, Stephen Thomas Erlewine awarded the album four and a half out of five stars.

Erlewine called the album her "best record yet" and wrote:

"Mariah Carey certainly knows how to construct an album. Positioning herself directly between urban R&B with tracks like "Fantasy," and adult contemporary with songs like "One Sweet Day," a duet with Boyz II Men, Carey appeals to both audiences equally because of the sheer amount of craft and hard work she puts into her albums. Daydream is her best record to date, featuring a consistently strong selection of songs and a remarkably impassioned performance by Carey. Daydream demonstrates that Carey continues to perfect her craft and that she has earned her status as an R&B/pop diva."

In his review for the album, Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly called the album "her best record since her 1990 debut," writing:

"in fact, it's easily the best collection Carey has put out since her self-titled 1990 debut, the album Daydream most resembles in its emphasis on R&B grooves." Tucker specifically complimented "One Sweet Day," "Always Be My Baby," "Forever" and "Daydream Interlude" (Fantasy Sweet Dub Mix), writing "One Sweet Day, her collaboration with Boyz II Men, radiates a breezy sexiness that Carey, for all the brazen hussiness of her public persona, rarely permits herself to reveal in song. I like the relaxed swing of "Always Be My Baby", and the brisk waltz tempo of Forever. But it's on what many Carey fans will probably find the most throwaway cut, "Daydream Interlude (Fantasy Sweet Dub Mix)", that the singer really defines herself. At her best, as she is on this clipped, spunky track, Carey is a disco diva for the '90s, a worthy successor to trailblazing women like Donna Summer and Vicki Sue Robinson, R&B singers with an affinity for the endless groove."

Stephen Holden, editor of The New York Times, gave the album a positive review. He wrote the following regarding the album, saying:

"Ms. Carey's songwriting has taken a leap forward, becoming more relaxed, sexier and less reliant on thudding cliches."

Holden praised "Fantasy" which he wrote:

"with 'Fantasy,' Ms. Carey glides confidently into the territory where gospel-flavored pop-soul meets light hip-hop and recorded some of the most gorgeously spun choral music to be found on a contemporary album."

Additionally, he complimented "One Sweet Day," "Melt Away," "Always Be My Baby" and "Underneath the Stars," calling them "the best on the album."

People gave the album a positive review, calling it "her fourth and best album."

Additionally, People praised the album and its songs, writing:

"Daydream vaults over its pop predecessors because the material is both funkier and mellower. Carey also has better control of her instrument—her voice evincing greater muscularity and agility. She still pours it on a little thick at times when it comes to fervor, as on the midtempo 'Melt Away,' which Carey cowrote with Babyface. For the most part she buzzes from strength to strength, from the bravura belting on 'One Sweet Day,' a duet with Boyz II Men, to the rich gospel feel of 'I Am Free,' which has a mood so churchy you can almost hear the ladies' handheld fans snapping."

While the album was positively reviewed by critics, Mariah's cover of Journey's 1982 song 'Open Arms' was universally panned.

Bill Lamb felt the song was "uninspired" and wrote "it's simply an uninspired song selection."

Stephen Thomas Erlewine also criticized the song, calling it "second rate."

"Open Arms" received a negative review from Stephen Holden as well, who called it a "sobbing remake."


The music industry took note of Mariah's success.

She won two awards at the 1996 American Music Awards for her solo efforts: "Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist" and "Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist."

Throughout 1995 & 1996, Mariah was awarded various prestigious awards at the World Music Awards, including "World's Best Selling Female R&B Artist", "World's Best Selling Overall Female Recording Artist," "World's Best Selling Pop Artist" and "World's Best Selling Overall Recording Artist."

Additionally, "Fantasy" was named "Song of the Year" at the BMI Awards and "Favorite Song" at the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards where Mariah also won the award for "Top Pop Female."

In 1996, Mariah won many awards at the Billboard Music Awards, including "Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year", "Hot 100 Airplay (Always Be My Baby)," "Hot Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year" and "Special Award for 16 weeks at #1 for 'One Sweet Day.'"

Grammy ControversyEdit

"Daydream" was proven to be one of the best-selling and most acclaimed albums of 1995.

When the Grammy Award nominees were announced and the album was nominated for six different awards, critics began raving how it would be "cleaning up" that year.

The 38th Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 28, 1996 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Mariah (being a multiple award nominee) was one of the headlining performers.

Together with Boyz II Men, she sang a live rendition of "One Sweet Day," to a very positive response, however, as the award winners were announced one by one, Mariah watched as her name was not called up even once.

The album had lost all of its six nominations, shocking most critics who branded it the "album of the year."

With every passing loss, the television cameras continued to zoom on Mariah's face, who was finding it more difficult to retain her smile.

By the end of the night, Mariah had not won a single award. The disappointment on her face was painfully obvious.

Reportedly, after the awards ceremony, Mariah and Tommy entered a heated argument over the nights outcome, further tearing the couple apart.

While Mariah was nominated again the following year, she did not perform again until the 2006 ceremony, when she was nominated for eight awards (winning three) for "The Emancipation of Mimi"

According to Mariah about her disappointment with the outcome of the Grammy Awards:

"What can you do? Let me put it this way. I will never be disappointed again. After sitting through that whole show and not winning once, I can handle anything. But-and I know everyone always says this-I wasn't expecting to win."

Album PersonnelEdit

  • Mariah Carey – vocals, producer, arranger, crowd noise
  • Walter Afanasieff – producer, arranger, programming, synthesizer, bass, keyboard instruments, drum programming
  • Babyface – keyboards, background vocals
  • Michael McCary – writing, vocals
  • Nathan Morris – writing, vocals
  • Wanya Morris – writing, vocals
  • Shawn Stockman – writing, vocals
  • Manuel Seal – piano, writing
  • Tristan Avakian – guitar
  • Melonie Daniels – crowd noise
  • Jermaine Dupri – producer, arranger, lead and backup vocals
  • Mick Guzauski – mixing
  • Dave Hall – producer, arranger, programming
  • Jay Healy – engineer, mixing
  • Loris Holland – organ, hammond organ
  • Dann Huff – guitar
  • Kurt Lundvall – engineer
  • David Morales – bass, arranger, keyboards, programming, producer
  • Kelly Price – crowd noise
  • Shanrae Price – crowd noise
  • Mike Scott – engineer
  • Manuel Seal – producer, lead and backup vocals
  • Dan Shea – synthesizer, bass, keyboards, programming, moog synthesizer, drum programming, synthesizer bass
  • Andy Smith – engineer
  • David Sussman – engineer, mixing
  • Phil Tan – engineer
  • Steve Thornton – percussion
  • Dana Jon Chappelle – engineer
  • Terry Burrus – piano
  • Satoshi Tomiie – bass, keyboards, programming, synthesizer bass
  • Brian Vibberts – engineer
  • Gary Cirimelli – programming, digital programming
  • Randy Walker – programming
  • Acar Key – engineer
  • Frank Filipetti – engineer
  • Mark Krieg – 2nd engineer
  • Kirk Yano – additional tracking engineer
  • Mick Guzauski – mixing


(These photos were tooken from:

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