She sings, she writes, she acts and she directs. Now the multi-talented Mariah Carey takes on a new challenge with the launch of her first fragrance, M.
Mariah worked closely with Elizabeth Arden on its creation, from concept to the final product. Perfumers Carlos Benaim and Loc Dong of International Flavors and Fragrances, worked with her to capture her essence, drawing inspirations from her favourite travel destinations, the isle of Capri and Morocco. To make the scent her own, Mariah included a unique marshmallow accord, reminiscent of childhood days spent in the kitchen with her father. And as a final flourish, the singerÃ‚â€™s signature butterfly (the title of her 1997 hit album) acts as a perfume stopper marking the product as undeniably Mariah Carey.
In her home town of New York City to promote the fragrance, and wearing a figure-hugging Roberto Cavalli gown with sky-high Azzedine AlaÃƒÂ¯a shoes, she shares her thoughts on the project.
How did you come up with the scent?
I had told them the things I loved. The first time the perfumers met at my apartment we discussed the 25 things I liked. So, I guess there are 25 things Ã‚â€“ I thought I only liked two things.
Did you enjoy the process?
Yes. The reason I love the whole situation was because it was very similar to the creative process of making a record. Not everybody knows that IÃ‚â€™m a songwriter and a producer, so I really love the creative process [and] everybody at Elizabeth Arden was so welcoming about me being involved on this level. We discussed a specific flower that I had worn when I was in Hawaii. Tiare is the flower. ItÃ‚â€™s Polynesian [a type of gardenia native to Tahiti] and itÃ‚â€™s never been used in this way before in a scent.
What is your relationship to the Tiare flower?
I really loved that scent but I didnÃ‚â€™t know the actual name. I just described it, and the Elizabeth Arden team, which knows every flower in existence, found that exact [one] and it was the basis. Then we talked about some gourmand elements that we wanted to go into it, the food elements. I didnÃ‚â€™t realise how many different notes there were to building a perfume Ã‚â€“ and that you actually call them notes. So we got into it Ã‚â€“ the high note, the middle note, and the bottom note. I was like, Ã‚â€˜Oh, this ainÃ‚â€™t nothinÃ‚â€™ but a song!Ã‚â€™ [laughs].
I brought in some incense that I really like that I use at home Ã‚â€“ stuff I got in Morocco on the street. I had it in this little wooden box and I guess over time it had a certain scent that nothing else had, as the bottom note.
There was another thing there Ã‚â€“ the fact that Capri as a place, also had to do with the way it smells. In Capri at night, thereÃ‚â€™s honeysuckle mixed with orange blossom mixed with all these kinds of organic flowers Ã‚â€“ if youÃ‚â€™ve been there, you know what I mean. ItÃ‚â€™s something that you canÃ‚â€™t really pinpoint. You canÃ‚â€™t put your finger on it but itÃ‚â€™s an essence in the air and it takes you back to a place.
What was your first reaction when they approached you about this?
I was totally into creating a perfume because I collect perfume bottles. That was the other thing we did Ã‚â€“ we went and looked in the bathroom in my house at the different perfume bottles.
Are the perfume bottles vintage?
Mainly vintage bottles but I also have some others.
Why the butterfly insignia?
You know what, I canÃ‚â€™t get away from it [laughs]. ItÃ‚â€™s funny because I have certain things like this ring from Van Cleef & Arpels just because I really love it and they ended up sending me some others. And I have an album called Butterfly but itÃ‚â€™s not like I have a deep fascination with butterflies. For people who donÃ‚â€™t know, it was an important time in my life when I put that record out. It was kind of my emerging from one world into the next Ã‚â€“ like a growing up moment. So, basically for my fans Ã‚â€“ I guess itÃ‚â€™s synonymous with me now.
What does the scent say about you?
I donÃ‚â€™t like scents that are too green and too heavy and too masculine feeling at all Ã‚â€“ itÃ‚â€™s the opposite of that. But I donÃ‚â€™t like an older floral intense either Ã‚â€“ thatÃ‚â€™s too much, too sweet, too heavy. I like the lightness and the sexiness and I like the sweet florally thing but it has to have the current of sandalwood and Moroccan incense.
Did you recognise yourself when you smelled the perfume?
Definitely. We went through so many different stages with the perfume that it really was a completely creative meeting of the minds so I was really involved in every step of the way. So, I do recognise myself. ItÃ‚â€™s the only thing I can imagine wearing.
How can you compare writing a song to creating a perfume?
When I write songs I donÃ‚â€™t read music Ã‚â€“ we just go for the soul and for what I feel. Sometimes IÃ‚â€™ll do core progressions but sometimes I play around with things that are totally different. A song like Vision of Love is not your standard song. That was my first song that I put out when I was really young and wrote it basically when I was in high school and itÃ‚â€™s a different unique blend of things and thatÃ‚â€™s what this turned out to be. For me [this] turned out to be very organic to who I am because we did something different and I just love the result because I love that Tiare flower so much and they made it happen for me.
M by Mariah Carey, EDP 50ml, $79 is available from selected Myer stores nationally.
Visit the Australian fragrance site: mariahcareybeauty.com.au