We have some controversial news. Are you ready? Mariah Carey isn't a diva. Truth. Sure, she kept us waiting for three and a half hours to meet her in a New York hotel suite, but we immediately forgave her because she is instantly awesome. She's suitably Mariah glam, with serious heels and a mega blow-dry. But she looks refreshingly normal at the same time, with an impressive given she gave birth to hefty twins Moroccan and Monroe two years ago but not unattainable body. And while there are flowers, candles and Prosecco it's no different to any other fancy hotel room, and Mariah is tottering around herself making sure everyone is happy, fed and watered.
The 43-year-old is one of the bestselling female artists of all time but is also self-deprecating and funny she massively sends herself up, in fact. 'I'm a little disappointed people didn't adhere to my wishes yet again,' she faux complains, about things still not being ready on her forthcoming album.
She also makes a fuss of this writer, who is with baby in belly. She pours me ginger ale in a wine glass so I don't feel left out, summons snacks, gives me a rose, and arranges for her driver to take me home. It's all I can do to turn the interview back on to her once we've discussed how I'm feeling, and baby names my choice got the Mariah seal of approval.
We had a million questions for Mariah, but she freestyles, going from her new album, to the kids, through to how husband Nick Cannon talks way too much...
So you're Mariah Carey, global superstar. But please tell us you still have trouble juggling it all, now you've got twins?
I have a little studio in my apartment and I really do mean little, it doubles as a gym, I could be on the treadmill while I'm working. But I can work from home and go up and see my babies whenever I like in their play area which is way bigger than my studio! So that's a huge luxury. I have a home in the Bahamas and I wanted to be able to just sing and sleep to make my album, so the babies came with me. And it was great to have nannies there. My security guard even taught them how to swim.
There was a hoo-ha recently over comments you made about nannies [firing them when they try to make themselves more important in the kids' lives]...
I respect anyone who is willing to help you care for your children, they should become part of your family. But they're not the mother. That's all I meant. It should have had an LOL and a smiley face next to it. My husband talks so much and that's his problem, but I'm a more private person and it's very unlike me to make an off-hand remark.
So are you pretty hands-on?
Every little bit of a child's life counts, every memory, every moment. I can never have this time back. But it's a luxury to be able to have someone there. I don't know how people do it I was breastfeeding in tandem. I did everything I could, but I couldn't have done this without extra help. I'm grateful. I have two people who help a lot.
You had a super-tough pregnancy, didn't you?
I had pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, everything. So many twins are born premature, and I did my best to keep them in for as long as I could. I was told at 33 weeks they would induce me, but I was like, 'I'm not leaving the hospital without my babies', I'd rather stay home and stay pregnant, so they put me on bed rest so early. They were big babies, both more than 7lb. I wish I hadn't had any mirrors in my house. When you're at home being a mum, we like to think there is still the same level of glamour... Or does the odd tracksuit sneak its way in? I'm always in sweatpants. But I may wear a high-heeled pump with them... A slipper with a puff. I have so much fun with Miss Monroe, as I call my daughter, and she is even though we don't like to use this word a natural-born diva, darling. She walks in my heels, she's in my lingerie closet. She has me beat by a mile.
Tell us about the new album...It's for me to express what's been going on over the past three years, this is the longest I've ever not had an album. There's been a lot going on, it's like I'm a totally different person. We know it's difficult as a woman in this business to be taken seriously especially when you play around with your image so much as I tend to do. Because it's not serious and it's just for laughs. But when it comes to my music I'm very serious about the way I'm presenting it. It's a body of work for my fans.
So how has life changed?
Well, when I designed my apartment it was all about me I was a bachelorette, darling. Now, it's not all about me any more. I can't just pick up and go when I feel like it. It's a big undertaking to bring the family with me. Nick works a lot and has the things that he does. (Nick is an actor, comedian, TV and radio host and philanthropist.)
Nick's got himself in trouble with you lately, we'd imagine, given he's been telling the world about his past relationships...
He feels that because he's a comedian, he can say anything. I don't always care for it much at the time, I don't find it necessary. But, you know, it is what it is. In the words of the late great Bette Davis... 'Ah, men'.
Kim Kardashian was on his 'list'. But he said you didn't even know who she was... Do you?
Of course! I think he meant I don't watch reality TV. And I think he was backtracking because of things he'd been saying.
What's the craziest thing you've ever read about yourself?
There are so many. Like I have pink puppies requested everywhere I go that's not the best thing to say in England is it, you have another meaning for puppies? But you know what I mean.
So will either of the kids follow you in to the 'business'?
It's astonishing to hear my daughter sing and to sing with her, she's a natural. I feel like I'm bragging, but they're both featured on a song called Supernatural on the album, I wrote it about them and for them. It blows my mind, the attention span they have when we're recording. I guess it's because I don't let them sit on the iPad all day, I'm strict about that. Monroe if I put her on stage, doesn't want to leave, and I've noticed she wants to sing a song in her own way. She's taking creative control. Roc is a true guy, he'll be there in his pyjamas and lie next to me and watch a whole movie he'll know the dialogue, know what scene is coming next, they're both aware of everything.
Do they get it that mummy is a global superstar?
Well, I don't see myself in that way. They know my songs, they're like, 'That's mamma'. I had an iPad around my belly so they listened to music in the womb until my belly got so big it wouldn't fit around there any more. I notice they respond to some of those songs.
How do you keep them 'normal'?
I want to protect them, I don't know how they're going to feel when they get older. They're very sheltered when they're around people, but they interact with my friends' kids we had a play date with Alicia Keys and her son Egypt recently.
You've been famous for 25 years, what else is there left to achieve? What's on your bucket list?
I don't even acknowledge years. I just know it's more than half my life. I'd never have a bucket list, darling! A champagne bucket list, maybe. Definitely more films. There's something I'm bursting with excitement over. It's something to do with Christmas, and that's all I'm going to say... Actually, bursting isn't a very glamorous word, what am I doing? I'm emanating excitement here.