By Whitney Vargas for ELLE Magazine
Mariah Carey has sold more than 160 million albums worldwide, and, if radio play for the first single on her new album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, is any indication, she's on the verge of racking up more No. 1 hits than the Beatles. But underneath the pop varnish, Carey's just a smitten newlywed in the middle of a home renovation, juggling a job and a new puppy. Sort of...
Congratulations on the album! Can you describe the new sound?
Each song is its own snapshot of a moment in a story. But overall, the vibe is R&B hip-hop with a lot of slow jams.
What kind of mood were you in when you wrote the album?
Each song has its own mood; some flow seamlessly into each other, and that was the purpose, and others are very different. The album has a sense of humor you can hear me laughing out loud at certain points but it also has deep and introspective moments.
Is there a track that holds special meaning for you?
Since I write almost all my songs, they all do. But a song like "The Impossible" is very much where my life is right now because I am actually in love for the first time.
Congratulations on celebrating your one-year wedding anniversary with Nick Cannon. How's married life?
Amazing, better every day.
How do you two spend your free time?
We travel a lot. I think we've been to over 35 cities already.
Did Nick weigh in on the album?
We tend to do our own thing, but I did like sharing the process of this album with him, as we have the same taste in music and he's a great DJ and loves music.
You just bought a house in L.A. What's it like?
It's a Georgian manor. We basically redid the entire thing, from the floors to landscaping to the closets, which are inspired by my New York apartment, with a men's and women's department store-esque feeling! Of course, I have the salon and Nick has a basketball court, which is his favorite place in the house. And I love having the outdoor space so the dogs can play. It's not too small; it's not too big; it's not a monstrosity. It's a home.
Are you permanently moving to L.A.?
No, I'm bicoastal and always have been. When I came to L.A., I just used to stay in hotels or rented homes.
You've been looking great lately. How do you stay in shape?
When I want to lose weight, I'll avoid carbs and anything fried. I eat mostly soups with protein, and drink lots of water and chamomile tea.
You love your Jack Russell terriers. How's your puppy, Cha-Cha?
She's adorable. Nick got her for me as a present, but she loves me the best! She sleeps in the bed with me when Nick goes to work. And she gets along with Jack Junior, aka JJ, my other dog. We want to breed them!
So, now that you're happily married and have completed yet another album, do you think you'll ever take a break?
I've been doing a lot of other interesting things, which I'm super excited about, like filming Precious. It's an incredible movie by Lee Daniels, inspired by the novel Push, written by Sapphire. I read it a long time ago, and it changed my life. Everyone should read it.
Forget for a moment that you're an international superstar. How would you describe yourself?
Hmmm... festive, emotional, creative, "artsy," a jokestress.
How often do you think about music? Is it always in your head?
Constantly! It has been ever since I can remember. I always have a song that's a melody I'm making up, or a song on the radio. Music is a constant for me and it always will be.
You've had so much success. Where would you like to be in 10 years?
I try to live in the moment. It says in the Bible, Matthew 6:34: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."