At 5. 9" Carey is tall and as voluptuous as 50's bombshell Marilyn Monroe. And, in fact, there's definitely something about Carey that reminds you of those ethereal Hollywood legends from the past, even though she's dressed in simple and elegant, up-to-date modern: black T-shirt, black jacket and trousers, as well as her signature high-heeled boots.
But still, the feel of classic Hollywood persists. Maybe it's her star 'aura,' or her flawless complexion or the impressive 35c emerald-cut diamond engagement ring glittering on her left hand. Or it could be because of Carey's famous mane of butterscotch coloured hair that is now flowing blow-dried and straight over her shoulders. Whatever it is, if you could bottle it, there's no doubt that it would fly off the shelves, as the saying goes.
Carey, who became a global star before she was barely out of her teens, is the acknowledged possessor of one of the must remarkable voices in music an alto with a five-octave range as well as the recipient of numerous music awards. Add to this her role as hands-on mother to her four-year-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan, successful business woman, writer, producer, active philanthropist (Mariah is co-founder of Camp Mariah) and acclaimed actress, and it all adds up to quite a dizzying list of accomplishments. And Carey can now include respected Director on that list, having completed her first film, the well-received 'A Christmas Melody' for the US Hallmark Network.
So with an exciting wedding to plan. as well as her highly-anticipated 'Sweet Sweet Fantasy' tour to complete, Pride decided it was time to catch up with the global super-star before she hits the road.
PRIDE: Mariah, we're all very excited that you'll be touring Europe and performing in the UK again. Why have you waited 13 years before coming back to these shores?
MARIAH CAREY: Well, a tour is quite a complicated and difficult thing to put together. You have a lot of things to figure out: which countries to visit, where you're going to play, what you're going to perform, when's the best time to go and all that kind of thing. And although I love touring and performing, I can't be on the road for too long these days because I now have my children to consider in this whole process as well. But I do really love Europe and I can't wait to see all my amazing 'lambily' (the term Mariah uses for her loyal fans) over there again too.
PRIDE: Will you be performing all your smash-hit number one records, like you did during your Vegas residencies?
MC: Definitely some of them. but I'm going to mix it up a bit and sing a good selection of numbers, so expect the unexpected daahling. There's going to be some up-tempo numbers, ballads, introspective songs and maybe some tracks that were hits in Europe too. Some of my songs, which were big internationally, weren't so big in America so the set list will differ from my Vegas shows. And I also want to do some songs for my die-hard fans that I don't usually perform.
PRIDE: What else can your fans expect?
MC: I don't want to give too much away because of course we're still finalizing things. But, as some people probably know, I like to try and make my shows somewhat interactive, and a little bit intimate, as if the audience were at home with me. So I'm looking forward to having those little 'moments' with my fans on this tour too. And of course there are going to be some amazing sets, dancers and costume changes, so I'm very excited about it all.
PRIDE: How do you prepare for a tour like this?
MC: I guess that my second stint in Vegas is preparation of a sort, because performing on stage is a rehearsal in itself. But I eat well too, and I try and get lots of rest, as well as doing water-aerobics on a regular basis to stay fit.
PRIDE: You're looking amazing right now. What's your secret?
MC: I think it comes from inside: if you're feeling good inside, it shows on the outside.
PRIDE: Congratulations on your recent engagement to James Packer. Can you tell us how he proposed?
MC: Thank you. The proposal was very romantic, but I don't really want to give too much away because it's so personal. James is an exceptional person, and really it gets more romantic by the day, so it's very sweet.
PRIDE: Can you tell us anything about your wedding plans? What will your dress be like?
MC: We're still in the planning stage really. But one thing we have decided is that we're not doing a big wedding because James has already had two big weddings. and it's, kind of like: 'I've done the big wedding' as well. So we would rather make it beautiful and intimate this time. And of course I'm very excited about my dress! But I don't want to talk about it yet because I still have to have my first fitting.
PRIDE: How would you describe your relationship now between you and your ex husband Nick (Cannon)?
MC: We're on good terms. We're always going to be in each other's lives because of our beautiful children.
PRIDE: What has been your greatest discovery about motherhood?
MC: That I feel this amazing, unconditional love for my children. I never expected to have these two amazing little people come along and change my world. They're my life. They make me happy and if none of these other things were going on, they'd still be everything to me. And they actually make being a mother very easy, because they're both wonderful, funny, creative and happy little kids.
PRIDE: Is it hard juggling your career with motherhood, particularly when you're on tour?
MC: It's important having my children with me, wherever I am. And I'm lucky because they both love to travel and they're still of an age where I can take them with me. Wherever we go I try and make sure that they have experiences that they'll enjoy and that will stay with them. So we always have fun sightseeing and that kind of stuff.
PRIDE: Have your children shown signs of musical ability and would you be happy if they wanted to pursue careers in music?
MC: They both love to sing and dance, especially Miss Monroe; she's usually ready to 'strike a pose'! I'm constantly surprised by what they take in, though. The other day, for instance, Monroe was singing 'We Belong Together'. and I'm thinking, 'how dues she know this song?' But she's picked it up I guess, and she knows every single word. Anyway, whether they'll want to make a career in music or not, well we'll just have to wait and see. I certainly don't want to push them.
PRIDE: Which of your songs is your favourite, and why?
MC: I'd probably have to say 'Fantasy' because it marked such a pivotal moment in my career. 'Genius of Love', which I sampled, was one of my favourite songs as a child, so I just thought, why not use it? But I think you really had to be into hip hop to get a track like that.
And nobody really saw it coming at that point because, musically. I was considered a sort of very innocent young girl. What it did though, was demonstrate to people that I'm a person who grew up listening to this genre of and that I wanted to work with all sorts of artists and people who intrigue me.
PRIDE: The music world is very sad about the passing of David Bowie. Did he influence you at all?
MC: I loved his music, and was sad to hear about his death. Actually, I was lucky enough to have a little 'moment' with him, quite early on in my career, when I was performing 'Emotions' on 'Top of the Pops' in about 1991.
David was on the programme too [with his then band, Tin Machine] and he sat there, watching me during rehearsal. I remember feeling a little intimidated, but I wanted to impress him so I sang live.
We rehearsed over and over until I was almost hoarse, but really I was sort of performing just for him. And at the end, he came up and told me how much he liked the song and my performance. That was so kind of him and it meant a lot to me.
PRIDE: What is your proudest achievement to date?
MC: I'm not sure that I could pick only one thing. Aside from my children who are really my biggest achievement. I'm proud of so many things that I've accomplished in my career. And I'm looking forward to the rest of the story unfolding.
PRIDE: You recently directed your first film, 'A Christmas Melody'. How did you find that experience?
MC: It was a very happy one all round, and perfect for me because I love all things 'festive'. It went out on the Hallmark channel in the States, and they're a great family network. Actually, because I've directed so many of my own music videos over the years, I think that really helped me to understand how to go about directing a film. I hope to do more in the future too.
PRIDE: If you were shipwrecked on a desert island and have just one item to help you through, what would you choose?
MC: Wow! That's a tough one. What would I chose? I think it would have to be something to do with music, as that would help me to get through those long days on the island and I could sing along as well. So, what about a radio and lots of batteries? Or maybe even a wind-up radio that doesn't need batteries.
PRIDE: Is there anything that people would be surprised to learn about you?
MC: I think they might be a bit surprised to know that I have a good sense of humour and I like to joke around. I'm a bit of a comedian really, and I can be a big kid with my kids. You've got to find some humour in this life, otherwise what is the point, daahhling?
PRIDE: You've had the most amazing career for over 25 years now. What do you attribute your phenomenal success to?
MC: Well, you definitely have to be resilient in this business because it can be tough. But I've always had faith and I've always been an optimist, constantly thinking, 'oh this sucks, nothing's ever going to be right', then it won't be. Also, I think that longevity is something that's difficult to obtain in this business because a lot of it is about trends. But a trend, of course, lasts for a moment and then it's gone. It's like, 'do you remember when that was hot? Oh yeah, I remember, that was so much fun'. But typically, the artists who transcend that have a certain voice, as well as a catalogue of songs, that people have grown to love over the years. I guess they really do become the 'fabric' and the soundtrack to the lives of a generation. So it's one thing to have sonic success in music and another to maintain that success. But I'm so pleased that people have said things to me like, 'thank you fur writing that song it helped me to get through a difficult time', because as a songwriter there's nothing better than that, there really isn't.
PRIDE: Do you have plans for another album any time soon?
MC: I'm pretty sure they'll be another album in the not too distant future, although I can't say exactly when. Making music is integral to me, so I'm never going to stop, of course. But first I'm going to complete my 'Sweet Sweet Fantasy' tour. And I really can't wait to see everyone in the UK and Europe again.