The Story of Pop by Mariah Carey

River Deep, Mountain High — In Mariah Carey's world everything is always gigantic: she's had the biggest hits (Without You), the most incredible film flops (Glitter) and she suffered the most catastrophic breakdown in show business. Her life was darke for more than a year, now she is shining again: for GQ she stood in front of the camera of the photographer Richard McLaren, where she depicted the history of pop music — decade after decade, pose after pose, feeling after feeling. Critics who counted her out will have to admit: Mariah Carey is Top of the Pop again.

GQ Magazine by Richard McLaren

GQ (DE) My 2003. Text by Lars Jensen. Translation by The Mariah Network. Photography by Richard McLaren.

Miss Carey, nice to speak to you. I'm a huge fan.
I like to hear that. Compliments are always good.

But I admit: Many of my friends find your music too ... sensitive. I always say: "What's bad about feelings?"
Nothing, of course — soul is always about feelings.

You also have the best voice in the world.
You are very nice to me. How do your friends react when you play my music?

They say I should play Public Enemy instead.
Ha! I hardly think you can convince these guys about my music.

If you sounded as hoarse as you do now...
I just need to have two days of vocal rest, I have to relax my voice. Eat healthy, get enough sleep... best not to give interviews. Being a singer is a tough job that only very disciplined people can get through. I've lived almost like a professional athlete since I was 18.

So you don't live a pop star life like you see on TV: Sex and drugs and Rock 'n' Roll.
On the contrary. My ex-husband Tommy Mottola made sure that I worked like a machine all my life. I recorded my first record at 18, had my first number one hit at 20. Then an album or a world tour almost every year. It wasn't even clear to me that the word 'no' existed at all. For months I worked 20 hours a day. I would fly from Paris to London to Madrid within 24 hours to give interviews or to appear on TV. I always had 15 people around me who wanted something from me. Believe me: if I had a spare minute in my life, I'd fall asleep immediately.

No sex? No rock 'n' roll? At least a little bit of fun?
Only as much as my husband allowed.

But now it is said that you have a party basement; and since you were signed to Def Jam, you would regularly invite all the label's rappers and their girls. These are said to be the best hip-hop parties in the city.
I don't know about that. I live in an apartment building. There is not even a basement.

Too bad. I wanted to come over as well.
Unfortunately, there's nothing to it, these parties do not exist. A completely made-up story.

Even more rumors: you smooched with Eminem.
We were far from it.

You don't usually wear underwear
A tabloid journalist must have made it up.

So you do wear underwear.
Yes! Of course not big white panties. I wear normal underwear like any other woman.

You have attempted suicide.
I was exhausted and had a breakdown, nothing else.

After your breakup, you hired detectives to investigate Mottola because he was trying to destroy your career.
These are things that I cannot talk about in detail. But now my relationship with Tommy is okay again.

He made sure that your film Glitter and the soundtrack of the same name were destroyed by the critics.
The film premiered exactly on September 11, 2001. And then I was blamed for the flop. I was only a performer. I didn't produce the film and I didn't direct it either. I learned from this debacle. I just played in a little independent film with Mira Sorvino. I got a standing ovation at the premiere; and since then I have received a lot of role offers.

But you were happy that Mottola was fired as the boss at Sony Music.
Not a bit. With bad thoughts you only direct bad energies towards yourself. Also, such a crisis also has something good. I went through hell for a year and a half; and now I finally have my freedom, my sleep, I can eat whenever I want.

Sleeping and eating — would you call that happiness?
That makes me happy.

Can a person who is considered the most successful female pop star in history ever be happy?
Oh, I can. However, it took me 15 years to find the key to happiness.

Michael Jackson didn't feel the same way.
A sad story. I care what happens to Michael. And apparently nobody helps him. It's terrible.

Besides fun, work, eat and sleep, what else brings you happiness?
Feeling that you can make your own decisions.

And a nice man...
...would be nice as well.