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'I've Faced My Worst Fears'
In this weekÃ‚â€™s issue of PARADE, Mariah Carey talks to James Kaplan about leading a public life, being call a Ã‚â€œdivaÃ‚â€ and reconciling with her father. Below, the singer talks more about how she had to deal with the pains of her past to work her way back to the top.
On Her Ex-Husband, Former Chairman of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola
Ã‚â€œSome of the songs on the new album discuss a certain time of my life that was so intense. I grew up with such dysfunction that I was just used to it. I assumed that I didnÃ‚â€™t have a right to be a happy in a personal life. If I had a career and all these other things, I thought, Ã‚â€˜you asked for it, you got it.Ã‚â€™ But I look back at it now and I feel that part of that was my fault, for allowing the relationship to linger Ã‚â€” or, dare I say, fester Ã‚â€” for so long. I knew that I needed to be singing and expressing myself, or I never would have gotten through that period. I do believe that I learned a lot from him, and that he really did believe in my talent and I am very grateful for that. On my new album, the song 'Side Effects' says, Ã‚â€˜Kept my tears inside, Ã‚â€˜cause I knew if I started IÃ‚â€™d keep crying for the rest of my life.Ã‚â€™ ItÃ‚â€™s really true. At that point in my life [during my marriage] I didnÃ‚â€™t cry because I had to be so emotionally cut off to deal with it.Ã‚â€
On Maintaining Artistic Integrity
Ã‚â€œI never really felt famous. Even when my album Music Box was out, I didnÃ‚â€™t feel that thing other young singers or songwriters who are just starting out feel when they become famous. I see other people who have one hit and theyÃ‚â€™re already thinking theyÃ‚â€™re the biggest star in the world. But I didnÃ‚â€™t feel that because of the relationship that I was in and because I think there was a concerted effort to keep me from feeling too empowered. So how do you keep your artistic integrity while you become a corporation? YouÃ‚â€™ve got to go through some stuff! I feel like I connect to people through song because itÃ‚â€™s filling a void in me. I donÃ‚â€™t do it just because I want to make money or I want to be famous. I need to make music. If I didnÃ‚â€™t have this, I donÃ‚â€™t know where I would be.Ã‚â€
On Being an Outcast
"I felt very much like an outcast when I was younger. No matter where I went, there was always this sense of not really falling into place or into one category. I moved around a lot when I was growing up, so nobody knew me and I was never one thing or the other. Being biracial, I didnÃ‚â€™t really have somebody to look at and say, Ã‚â€˜Okay, this person is exactly the same as me, and theyÃ‚â€™re out there.Ã‚â€™ A lot of kids have said that to me, Ã‚â€˜Until you put your first record out, I didnÃ‚â€™t feel like there was anybody that was the same as me.Ã‚â€™ People who donÃ‚â€™t feel like they fit in can identify with me. I promised myself when I was a little girl that I would never forget what it felt like to be a kid. I never wanted to grow up and be out of touch with what that feels like.Ã‚â€
On Her Mother
"I must give my mother credit for really inspiring and encouraging me to sing. She was an opera singer and went to Juilliard. She still sings and was a classically trained musician. IÃ‚â€™m not a technical person, so I went the other way and got into R&B because I can just do whatever and sing whatever comes to mind. But she instilled the belief in me that I could become who I am today. She tells a story about when she was rehearsing a part of the opera Rigoletto, and I stopped her and said, Ã‚â€˜No, you made a mistake, it goes like this,Ã‚â€™ and sang it back to her in another language at 4 years old. So my mother thought, 'Okay, she has an ear.'Ã‚â€
On Getting Older
"IÃ‚â€™m eternally 12. And that 12-year-old inside me is an eternal optimist. I know what it feels like not to have fame or money, and I do still feel like that same person in many ways. Honestly, I donÃ‚â€™t even have birthdays. I call them Ã‚â€˜anniversaries.Ã‚â€™ It really is about being as young as you feel. Some people convince themselves theyÃ‚â€™re old, or they think, Ã‚â€˜I have to grow up now; I canÃ‚â€™t have fun.Ã‚â€™ I will still always choose a day at Disney World over a night in Las Vegas, because thatÃ‚â€™s who I am. "
On Her Ã‚â€œBreakdownÃ‚â€
Ã‚â€œHow do you climb back from the shambles when everybody counts you out? That can be a very difficult thing to come to terms with, especially when youÃ‚â€™ve had so much success from such an early age. I have such faith in God that I really had to surrender everything and just know that I was going to be okay. ThatÃ‚â€™s truly where I had to go to when it felt like the bottom. More than anything, it was learning to grow up and take care of myself. Not treat myself like the corporation wanted to treat me, but treat myself like a human being. IÃ‚â€™ve faced my worst fears and come out of them okay. Everything is always going to be all right as long as I hang on to the person inside of me. "