The Hollywood Reporter: There were a few record labels bidding for you. Why did you choose Universal?
Mariah Carey: My gut has always been to go with Universal, even before I did the (Virgin) deal. I learned a big lesson: You've got to go with the people that really know what they are doing.
THR: How is the new label going to be different from your ill-fated Sony label, Crave?
Mariah: Well, Crave really -- without going into too much detail -- was not my company. This is about me at this moment feeling empowered and feeling supported. (The new recording deal will result in Mariah getting a label of her own, which will be run by Jerry Blair, former Columbia employee, who in the past has helped Mariah achieve a record-breaking 15 #1 singles while at Columbia. According to Blair, a name and initial staff appointments for the label will be anounced within the next week to 10 days.)
THR: Why was the "Glitter" soundtrack such a sales disappointment?
Mariah: I feel like it was a domino effect, where the ignorance gets passed along. "Glitter" was a soundtrack record that was a concept album. It was not a studio record. And even still, I feel there were a lot of good songs on there that no one ever heard because they didn't get a chance to. Many multiplatinum artists have been on soundtrack records that were not "Titanic." It happens, and it doesn't warrant the world having this huge (reaction). The last studio album I had, I felt it did very well; it did about 9 million worldwide. I just exhausted myself trying to work my record the way I knew my record was supposed to be worked. We only had seven weeks to set the album up. And it came out on Sept. 11. There couldn't have been worse odds.
THR: You're in the studio working on a new album. Are you going in a different direction musically?
Mariah: I'm going to wherever the creative energy takes me. I'm not trying to sound New Age-y, but it's true. I'm doing a lot of stuff with live musicians, and I'm doing a lot of ballads.
THR: Are you writing new songs?
Mariah: More than 50% of who I am as an artist is because of my songwriting, and a lot of people don't report about that because they don't know. They then put me in the same category of a lot of women out here who don't write and don't produce. I feel it's slightly sexist.
THR: Has your writing changed on this album?
Mariah: There are a lot of songs I've done in the past that are very introspective and personal. ... This album has a lot of those type of songs. But it also has celebratory, fun songs; I'm not going to sit there and dwell. People are always asking, 'Is everything OK?' Look, I was not depressed; I was freaking exhausted.
THR: Your independent film "Wisegirls" is going to air on Cinemax later this year. Are you looking at other film roles?
Mariah: I'm so happy I did "Wisegirls." It's a character part, and it's so different from what people would expect from me. It's really in the direction that I want to go, and it has gotten me a lot of offers to do other character roles. You live and you learn. It's OK to wait to do something. You don't have to do the "predictable" thing with the whole studio system. Doing something independent was really freeing and great for me.
THR: Are you glad your deal with Virgin ended?
Mariah: That's the understatement of the day.
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