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Why Mariah Carey Is the Greatest Musical Artist Alive

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

It’s finally October, which is only a month away from November, which is basically the time to start listening to Christmas music. And when it comes to Christmas music, there’s one person who practically owns the genre—Mariah Carey. Her Christmas album, fittingly titled Merry Christmas, is the best-selling Christmas album of all time (fifteen million sales worldwide!). And its lead single (do I even need to say its name?), written and produced by Mariah herself, is arguably the biggest Christmas song to have been released in the pop music industry.

But to reduce her to a Christmas mascot is absolutely degrading. Mariah Carey is one of the best-selling female artists of all time, second only to Madonna, and one of the best vocalists to have graced this planet. She has three diamond albums, eighteen number one singles, and a glorious five-octave range under her belt. Her voice has inspired a generation of artists, with Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, and Ariana Grande all citing her as one of their biggest vocal influences.

Source: The Mariah Network

As for as the charts go, she has the most number-one hits on the Hot 100 out of any solo artist and the most self-written ones out of any female songwriter. Her single “One Sweet Day” also held the record for the single with the most weeks at the number one spot for a solid 24 years before losing it to “Old Town Road” this year. She was also the first female artist to have a single debut at the number one spot, and the list goes on and on.

So, why is she always the target of so much hate and disrespect? One bad performance and she’s crucified by the media. A shady comment made to defend herself, and she’s painted as being worse than Satan. Most people cite the loss of her vocal ability and diva persona as reasons to dislike her, but what human being could maintain a voice like that throughout a 29-year-career? Can we really blame her for not sounding the same as her 20-year-old self?

Source: The Mariah Network

Let’s take the time to really evaluate just how great she is. Her vocal range starts at an F2, a note that even male baritones can find challenging to hit, and peaks at a B♭7, which is only one and a half notes away from the highest note in a piano! Her vocal prowess is also considered to be on the same level as that of Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Aretha Franklin, some of the greatest vocalists to have graced us.

Aside from being a phenomenal singer, she’s also an incredible musician. She’s written and produced nearly every song in her fifteen-album discography, and when that includes songs as beautifully written as “Underneath the Stars” and “Petals,” that’s quite a feat. Staples of her songwriting include advanced vocabulary, poetic descriptions, and, of course, notes that no human can ever hit. And just for clarification, Mariah Carey transcended the status of “human” after she released Daydream and Butterfly, the two best albums of all time. Her creativity with mixing genres is also incredible (fun fact: she became the first artist to do the singer-rapper collaboration that’s ubiquitous today when she released the “Fantasy” remix with the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard).

Source: The Mariah Network

Mariah Carey epitomizes the ideal of a person who started from nothing but managed to have it all. Her father abandoned her family when she was young, her older sister was an addict who was absent in her life, and she was the victim of violent racism as a mixed child. As soon as she graduated high school, she worked multiple jobs, lived in a shabby New York apartment with seven other girls, and sacrificed everything in hopes of starting her music career. But even after things worked out, she was trapped into an abusive marriage with her label’s owner (essentially her boss) at just twenty-three. Even after she found freedom with her divorce in 1997, she dealt with alcoholism and various mental illnesses before suffering from a mental and physical breakdown in 2001 that the media treated as a joke. Even between then and now, she’s gone through two divorces, more battles with alcoholism, the loss of her father, more family issues, a miscarriage, and more. But, she’s managed to succeed against all odds.

With the Christmas season approaching, you’re bound to start hearing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” everywhere you go. But when you do, remember that Mariah Carey is more than just the Christmas-music-lady; she’s a legendary artist who paved the way for all the divas we know and love today. From Beyoncé to Rihanna to Adele to Ariana Grande, Mariah has inspired almost all of the female singers that we listen to now.

She’s a master of her craft and one of the best to ever do it, so let’s show our respects to her and preserve her legacy. And let’s remember to get “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to number one this year!

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Charlie Ough is a junior at CAS studying English. Aside from writing, his interests include makeup, skincare, and Mariah Carey.
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.