Mariah Carey is ready for the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas.
"I have devoted my life to traveling the world, meeting fans and performing across the globe," Mariah says, just days after announcing her Caesars Palace residency. "Las Vegas will allow me to showcase my music in a way it's never been presented before."
Having sold over 200 million records worldwide, Mariah is one of the best-selling artists of all time. With songs that include "Dreamlover," "Hero," "Honey" and "We Belong Together," her 18 chart-topping songs have her in elite company. In 2008, when "Touch My Body" rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Mariah surpassed Elvis Presley to become the top solo artist with the most number-one singles in America. Only The Beatles, with 20, have more top hits.
So naturally on a stage this big, in a city that bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, the songstress is focusing solely on her greatest hits in a show she's calling "Mariah Carey #1's."
"Revisiting these songs for the show has really let me reconnect with them," Mariah says. "The power of music has guided me throughout my life, for as long as I can remember, and I'm hoping fans will be able to share the joy of music with me and take that feeling home with them."
Born on Long Island, New York (her mother Patricia was an opera singer and vocal coach; her father Alfred, an aeronautical engineer), Mariah recalls a childhood centered on music. Just three years old when her parents divorced, Mariah was raised by her mother and says that her love of music began as a young girl.
"I started singing when I started talking," Mariah recalls. "My earliest memory of my first 'performance' is from a concert. I think I was about four years old. My mother was performing and she taught me a song in four different languages that I sang onstage. As a child, it seemed that there were so many people there. It's a little sweet memory that I've kept close to my heart."
Mariah has always found comfort in song. As a child, she remembers sneaking a radio to bed; even to this day, she says, when times are difficult whether personally or professionally she turns to music to get her through the tough times.
"I take solace in music," Mariah reveals. "Music was and will always be my saving grace. There's never been a moment when I didn't believe that all things are possible. My mother always encouraged me to believe in myself. She would say, 'Don't say "if I make it," say "when I make it."' I've always tried to infuse that message into my music."
The 1990s were very good to Mariah, outlandishly so. She was the only act to have had a number-one single in the United States every year that decade. She sold hundreds of millions of albums and skyrocketed to fame seemingly overnight.
Her success story starts in earnest on a cold December night back in New York City in 1988. That's when Mariah, who was struggling to pay her rent and unsuccessful in shopping a demo tape, met up with pop singer Brenda K. Starr and accompanied her to a party. There, Mariah's demo tape fell into the hands of Columbia Records chief Tommy Mottola. He liked what he heard, went searching for her and signed her to a record deal.
Her first album, the self-titled Mariah Carey, was released in June 1990 and it raced up the charts, producing four number one singles: "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday" and "I Don't Wanna Cry." The album cemented her as a superstar, and she took home her first Grammy Award for "Best New Artist." The world was taking notice of the singer with the five-octave voice.
Her subsequent studio albums, Emotions and Music Box, kept Mariah in the spotlight. She was at the top of her game. Looking back now, Mariah says she would not have achieved such success had she not been a strong, determined woman.
"I can be a perfectionist," she laughs. "But nobody is perfect. I'm very focused on each and every aspect of my career and I guess I've just always been that way. That's why I'm so excited about Las Vegas. I will be able to perform eighteen number one singles, which I've never done before. I can't wait."
She continues, "Every day is a new adventure and I'm really thankful for the ability and strength to keep going. Life is a process of learning and I'm still learning."