|“||Astonishing vocal range high ideals||”|
– Entertainment Weekly
Mariah became the first artist since the Jackson 5 to have their first four singles to top the Billboard charts in the United States.
Writing and recordingEdit
After Carey had secured her recording contract, she and her writing partner Ben Margulies were excited at the prospect of being able to professionally record all of the songs they had written together. Because Tommy Mottola and other Sony Music Entertainment and Columbia Records executives believed that Carey had high potential to be the next big superstar, her debut album was carefully co-ordinated by a panel of executives, and as a result it was deemed unwise for Carey and Margulies to produce. The pair had already produced her famous demo tape and other rough demos, but the executive committee believed those recordings were too heavily influenced by R&B. Mottola and the committee wanted a debut album with a more contemporary sound much like Whitney Houston's 1985 debut album, Whitney Houston that would cross over and appeal to both the R&B and mainstream music markets.
The committee enlisted some of the top producers of the time to produce the songs that Margulies and Carey had written, and to produce and co-write new material with Carey herself. The producers included Rhett Lawrence, Ric Wake, and Narada Michael Walden, and only six of the nearly twenty songs that Carey and Margulies had written made the album initially, though eventually the two were each allowed to produce one more song for the album. With ten tracks finished, Carey's album was mixed and sent to be pressed. During a promotional trip, Carey decided to play a new song that she and Margulies had written called "Love Takes Time", which she thought would be perfect for her next album. Sony executives were extremely impressed by the track, and argued that it should be on the first album. Carey and Margulies were eventually persuaded to add the song to the track listing of Mariah Carey, and producer Walter Afanasieff was given the task of producing the song in only a few days to make the deadline of the album's pressing. Though he made the deadline, a few early copies of the album were mislabeled.
In order to raise her profile before the release of Mariah Carey, Carey performed three songs, accompanied only by Richard Tee on the piano, in front of an invitation-only audience at an intimate soirée. She made her television debut on The Arsenio Hall Show, and Columbia Records arranged for her to perform "America the Beautiful" at the NBA National basketball finals. Carey was also asked to go on tour, but she refused as she was afraid of performing publicly.
Mariah Carey entered the U.S. Billboard 200 at number eighty and entered the top twenty in its fourth week. It reached number one in its forty-third week, and stayed there for eleven consecutive weeks — to date, the longest stay at number one in Carey's career. It remained in the top twenty for sixty-five weeks and on the Billboard 200 for 112 weeks (just over two years), and it was certified nine times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on December 15, 1999, making it one of the best-selling debut albums in the country. Mariah Carey was quite successful for a debut album outside the U.S. It experienced most success in Canada, where it topped the charts for a week and went four times platinum. The album peaked within the top ten in the United Kingdom and Australia; in the former country it spent thirty-six weeks in the top seventy-five, and in the latter it went five times platinum. Its success in Brazil and across continental Europe was limited.
The singles released from Mariah Carey were unsuccessful in most music markets but became very popular in the U.S., making Carey a star there. "Vision of Love" became the first of many Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits for Carey, and topped the charts in Canada, Brazil and New Zealand. "Love Takes Time" reached number one in both the U.S. and Canada, but was only a moderate success in other markets and in some, such as the UK, it failed. "Someday" became another number one for Carey in the U.S. but only reached the top five in Canada, and elsewhere it had little impact. "I Don't Wanna Cry" tied Carey with The Jackson 5 as the act to have their first four singles hit number-one in the U.S., but it had minimal success in other markets except Canada, where it peaked within the top ten. "There's Got to Be a Way" was released in some European countries such as the UK, where it missed the top forty. A fifth single, "Prisoner", was scheduled for release in the U.S. after "I Don't Wanna Cry", but because of the impending release of Carey's second album, "Emotions," it was used only as a promotional single.
Mariah Carey was nominated for the 1991 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, while "Vision of Love" received nominations in the categories of Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Carey won for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and also received the award for Best New Artist. The Album of the Year award was given to Back on the Block by Quincy Jones, Julie Gold won Song of the Year for "From a Distance" by Bette Midler and Phil Collins won Record of the Year with "Another Day in Paradise".
- "Vision of Love" (Carey, Ben Margulies) — 3:30
- "There's Got to Be a Way" (Carey, Ric Wake) — 4:53
- "I Don't Wanna Cry" (Carey, Narada Michael Walden) — 4:48
- "Someday" (Carey, Margulies) — 4:08
- "Vanishing" (Carey, Margulies) — 4:12
- "All in Your Mind" (Carey, Margulies) — 4:45
- "Alone in Love" (Carey, Margulies) — 4:12
- "You Need Me" (Carey, Lawrence) — 3:51
- "Sent from Up Above" (Carey, Lawrence) — 4:04
- "Prisoner" (Carey, Margulies) — 4:24
- "Love Takes Time" (Carey, Margulies) — 3:49
|U.S.||1 (11 weeks)|
|Canada||1 (1 week)|
|Songs||"Vision of Love" · "There's Got to Be a Way" · "I Don't Wanna Cry" · "Someday" · "Vanishing" · "All in Your Mind" · "Alone in Love" · "You Need Me" · "Sent from Up Above" · "Prisoner" · "Love Takes Time"|