Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, and became the first recording artist to have her first five singles top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Following her marriage to Mottola in 1993, a series of hit records established her position as Columbia's highest-selling act. According to Billboard magazine, she was the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States.
Following her separation from Mottola in 1997, Carey introduced elements of hip hop into her album work, to much initial success, but her popularity was in decline when she left Columbia in 2001, and she was dropped by Virgin Records the following year after a highly publicized physical and emotional breakdown, as well as the poor reception given to Glitter, her film and soundtrack project. In 2002, Carey signed with Island Records, and after a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to pop music in 2005.
Carey was named the best-selling female pop artist of the millennium at the 2000 World Music Awards. She has had the most number-one singles for a solo artist in the United States (eighteen; second artist overall behind The Beatles). She also has been named the biggest selling female artist of all time in serious tv shows as canadian idol.In addition to her commercial accomplishments, Carey has earned five Grammy Awards, and is well-known for her large vocal range, power, melismatic style, and use of the whistle register.
In 1988, Carey met Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola at a party, where Starr gave him Carey's demo tape. Mottola played the tape when leaving the party and was impressed. He returned to find Carey, but she had left. Nevertheless, Mottola tracked her down and signed her to a recording contract. This Cinderella-like story became part of the standard publicity surrounding Carey's entrance into the industry.
Carey co-wrote the tracks on her 1990 debut album Mariah Carey, and she has continued to co-write the majority of her material since. During the recording, she expressed dissatisfaction with the contributions of producers such as Ric Wake and Rhett Lawrence, whom the executives at Columbia had enlisted to help make the album more commercially viable. Backed by a substantial promotional budget, the album reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, where it remained for several weeks. It yielded four number-one singles, and made Carey a star in the United States, but was less successful in other countries. Critics rated the album highly, and Carey won Grammys for Best New Artist, and—for her debut single, "Vision of Love—Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Carey conceived Emotions, her second album, as a homage to Motown soul music (see Motown Sound), and she worked with Walter Afanasieff and Clivillés & Cole (from the dance group C&C Music Factory) on the record. It was released soon after her debut album—in late 1991—but was neither critically nor commercially as successful; Rolling Stone described it as "more of the same, with less interesting material [...] pop-psych love songs played with airless, intimidating expertise". The title track "Emotions" made Carey the only recording act to have their first five singles reach number one on the U.S. Hot 100 chart, though the album's follow-up singles failed to match this feat. Carey had been lobbying to produce her own songs, and beginning with Emotions, she has co-produced most of her material. "I didn't want [Emotions] to be somebody else's vision of me", she said. "There's more of me on this album".
Although Carey performed live occasionally, stage fright prevented her from embarking on a major tour. Her first widely seen appearance was featured on the television show MTV Unplugged in 1992, and she remarked that she felt her performance that night proved her vocal abilities were not, as some had previously speculated, simulated with studio equipment. Alongside acoustic versions of some of her earlier songs, Carey premiered a cover of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" with her back-up singer Trey Lorenz. The duet was released as a single, reached number one in the U.S., and led to a record deal for Lorenz, whose debut album Carey later co-produced. Because of high ratings for the Unplugged television special, the concert's set list was released on the EP MTV Unplugged, which Entertainment Weekly called "the strongest, most genuinely musical record she has ever made [...] Did this live performance help her take her first steps toward growing up?".
Carey and Tommy Mottola had become involved romantically during the making of her debut album, and in June 1993, they were married.
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds consulted on the album Music Box, which was released later that year and became Carey's most successful worldwide. It yielded her first UK Singles Chart number-one, a cover of Badfinger's "Without You", and the U.S. number-ones "Dreamlover" and "Hero". Billboard magazine proclaimed it "heart-piercing [...] easily the most elemental of Carey's releases, her vocal eurythmics in natural sync with the songs", but TIME magazine lamented Carey's attempt at a mellower work, "[Music Box] seems perfunctory and almost passionless [...] Carey could be a pop-soul great; instead she has once again settled for Salieri-like mediocrity. In response to such comments, Carey said, "As soon as you have a big success, a lot of people don't like that. There's nothing I can do about it. All I can do is make music I believe in. Most critics slighted the opening of her subsequent U.S. Music Box Tour.
In late 1994, after her duet with Luther Vandross on a cover of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross's "Endless Love" became a hit, Carey released the holiday album Merry Christmas. It contained cover material and original compositions such as "All I Want for Christmas Is You", which became Carey's biggest single in Japan, and, in subsequent years, emerged as one of her most perennially popular songs on U.S. radio. Critical reception of Merry Christmas was mixed, with Allmusic calling it an "otherwise vanilla set [...] pretensions to high opera on 'O Holy Night' and a horrid danceclub take on 'Joy to the World'". It became the most successful Christmas album of all time.
In 1995, Columbia released Carey's fifth album, Daydream, which combined the pop sensibilities of Music Box with downbeat R&B and hip hop influences. A remix of "Fantasy", its first single, featured rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard. Carey said that Columbia reacted negatively to her intentions for the album: "Everybody was like 'What, are you crazy?'. They're very nervous about breaking the formula. It became her biggest-selling album in the U.S., and its singles achieved similar success — "Fantasy" became the second single to debut at number one in the U.S. and topped the Canadian Singles Chart for twelve weeks, "One Sweet Day" (a duet with Boyz II Men) spent a record-holding sixteen weeks at number one in the U.S., and "Always Be My Baby" (co-produced by Jermaine Dupri) was the most successful on U.S. radio in 1996, according to Billboard magazine. Daydream generated career-best reviews for Carey, and publications such as The New York Times named it one of 1995's best albums; the Times wrote that its "best cuts bring pop candy-making to a new peak of textural refinement [...] Carey's songwriting has taken a leap forward, becoming more relaxed, sexier and less reliant on thudding clichés". The short but profitable Daydream World Tour augmented sales of the album, which received six Grammy Award nominations.
Carey and Mottola officially separated in 1997. Although the public image of the marriage was a happy one, she said that in reality she had felt trapped by her relationship with Mottola, whom she often described as controlling. They officially announced their separation in 1997, and their divorce became final the following year. Soon after the separation, Carey hired an independent publicist and a new attorney and manager. She continued to write and produce for other artists during this period, contributing to the debut albums of Allure and 7 Mile through her short-lived imprint Crave Records.
Carey's next album, Butterfly (1997), yielded the number-one single "Honey", the lyrics and music video for which presented a more overtly sexual image of her than had been previously seen. She stated that Butterfly marked the point that she attained full creative control over her music. However, she added: "I don't think it's that much of a departure from what I've done in the past [...] It's not like I went psycho and thought I was going to be a rapper. Personally, this album is about doing whatever the hell I wanted to do. Reviews were generally positive: LAUNCHcast said Butterfly "pushes the envelope", a move its critic thought "may prove disconcerting to more conservative fans" but praised as "a welcome change". The Los Angeles Times wrote, "[Butterfly] is easily the most personal, confessional-sounding record she's ever done [...] Carey-bashing just might become a thing of the past. The album was a commercial success—though not to the degree of her previous three albums—and "My All" (her thirteenth Hot 100 number-one) gave her the record for the most U.S. number-ones by a female artist.
Towards the turn of the millennium, Carey was developing the film project Glitter, and wrote songs for the films Men in Black (1997), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). During the production of Butterfly, Carey became romantically involved with New York Yankees baseball star Derek Jeter. Their relationship ended in 1998, with both parties citing media interference as the main reason for the split. The same year, Columbia released the album #1's, a collection of Carey's U.S. number-one singles alongside new material, which she said was a way of rewarding her fans. The song "When You Believe", a duet with Whitney Houston, was recorded for the soundtrack of The Prince of Egypt (1998) and won an Academy Award. #1's sold above expectations, but a review in NME labeled Carey "a purveyor of saccharine bilge like 'Hero', whose message seems wholesome enough: that if you vacate your mind of all intelligent thought, flutter your eyelashes and wish hard, sweet babies and honey will follow". Also that year, she appeared on the first televised VH1 Divas benefit concert program, though her alleged prima donna behavior had already led many to consider her a diva. By the following year, she had entered a relationship with singer Luis Miguel.
Rainbow, Carey's seventh studio album, was released in 1999 and comprised more R&B/hip hop-oriented songs, many of them co-created with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. "Heartbreaker" and "Thank God I Found You" (the former featuring Jay-Z, the latter featuring Joe and boy band 98 Degrees) reached number one in the U.S., and the success of the former made Carey the only act to have a number-one single in each year of the 1990s. A cover of Phil Collins's "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" went to number one in the UK after Carey re-recorded it with boy band Westlife. Media reception of Rainbow was generally enthusiastic, with the Sunday Herald saying the album "sees her impressively tottering between soul ballads and collaborations with R&B heavyweights like Snoop Doggy Dogg, Usher [...] It's a polished collection of pop-soul". VIBE magazine expressed similar sentiments, writing, "She pulls out all stops [...] Rainbow will garner even more adoration",. Although a commercial success, it became Carey's lowest selling album up to that point . When the double A-side "Crybaby" (featuring Snoop Dogg)/"Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" became her first single to peak outside the U.S. top twenty, Carey accused Sony of under promoting it: "The political situation in my professional career is not positive [...] I'm getting a lot of negative feedback from certain corporate people", she wrote on her official website.
After receiving Billboard's Artist of the Decade Award and the World Music Award for Best-Selling Female Artist of the Millennium, Carey parted from Columbia and signed a contract with EMI's Virgin Records worth a reported US$80 million. She often stated that Columbia had regarded her as a commodity, with her separation from Mottola exacerbating her relations with label executives. Just a few months later, in July 2001, it was widely reported that Carey had suffered a physical and emotional breakdown. She had left messages on her website complaining of being overworked, and her relationship with Luis Miguel was ending. In an interview the following year, she said, "I was with people who didn't really know me, and I had no personal assistant. I'd be doing interviews all day long, getting two hours of sleep a night, if that." During an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live, Carey handed out popsicles to the audience and began what was later described as a "strip tease". By the month's end, she had checked into a hospital, and her publicist announced that Carey was taking a break from public appearances.
Critics panned Glitter, Carey's much delayed semi-autobiographical film, and it was a box office failure. The accompanying soundtrack album, Glitter, was inspired by the music of the 1980s and featured collaborations with Rick James and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis; it generated Carey's worst showing on the U.S. chart. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dismissed it as "an absolute mess that'll go down as an annoying blemish on a career that, while not always critically heralded, was at least nearly consistently successful", while Blender magazine opined, "After years of trading her signature flourishes for a radio-ready purr, [Carey]'s left with almost no presence at all. The lead single, "Loverboy" (featuring Cameo), reached number two on the Hot 100 thanks to a price cut, but the album's follow-up singles failed to chart.
Columbia released the low-charting compilation album Greatest Hits shortly after the failure of Glitter, and in early 2002, Virgin bought out Carey's contract for $28 million, creating further negative publicity. Carey later said her time at Virgin was "a complete and total stress-fest [...] I made a total snap decision which was based on money, and I never make decisions based on money. I learned a big lesson from that. Later that year, she signed a $20 million contract with Island Records, and launched the record label MonarC. To add further to Carey's emotional burdens, her father, with whom she had little contact since childhood, died of cancer that year.
Following a well-received supporting role in the 2002 film WiseGirls, Carey released the album Charmbracelet, which she said marked "a new lease on life" for her. Sales of Charmbracelet were moderate, and the quality of Carey's vocals came under severe criticism. The Boston Globe declared the album "the worst of her career, revealing a voice no longer capable of either gravity-defying gymnastics or soft coos", and Rolling Stone commented, "Carey needs bold songs that help her use the power and range for which she is famous. Charmbracelet is like a stream of watercolors that bleed into a puddle of brown. The album's only charting single in America, "Through the Rain", was a failure on pop radio, which had become less open to maturing "diva" stylists such as Celine Dion, or Carey herself in favor of younger singers such as Kelly Clarkson or Christina Aguilera, who had vocal styles very similar to Carey's.
"I Know What You Want", a 2003 Busta Rhymes single on which Carey guest starred, fared considerably better and reached the U.S. top five. Columbia later included it on the remix collection The Remixes, Carey's first album not to receive an RIAA sales certification. That year, she embarked on the Charmbracelet World Tour and was awarded the Chopard Diamond award for selling over 150 million albums worldwide. She was featured on rapper Jadakiss's 2004 single "U Make Me Wanna", which reached the top ten on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Carey's tenth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi (2005), contained contributions from producers such as The Neptunes, Kanye West and Carey's longtime collaborator, Jermaine Dupri. Carey said it was "very much like a party record [...] the process of putting on makeup and getting ready to go out [...] I wanted to make a record that was reflective of that.; The Emancipation of Mimi became 2005's best-selling album in the U.S., and The Guardian reviewer defined it as "cool, focused and urban [... some of] the first Mariah Carey tunes in years I wouldn't have to be paid to listen to again". The album earned Carey a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album, and the single "We Belong Together" won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. "We Belong Together" held the Hot 100's number-one position for fourteen weeks, her longest run at the top as a solo lead artist. Subsequently, the single "Shake It Off" reached number two for a week, making Carey one of fewer than a dozen music acts to have simultaneously held the Hot 100's top two positions, and the first female to do so with two lead vocals. (While topping the charts in 2002, Ashanti was the "featured" singer on the #2 single.)
Carey began a concert tour in mid-2006, called The Adventures of Mimi Tour, which was the most successful tour of her career, although some dates had to be canceled. In separate appearances on 106 & Park and TRL Carey announced plans to go back on tour in November or December of 2008. She appeared on the cover of the March 2007 edition of Playboy magazine on a non-nude photo session. In early 2007, she was featured with Bow Wow on the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony single "Lil' L.O.V.E.". Later in the year, Carey received a "recording star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and she has been inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on October 21, 2007.
By spring 2007, she had begun working on her eleventh studio album, E=MC². Asked about the album title and its meaning, Carey said "Einstein’s theory? Physics? Me? Hello! [...] Of course I’m poking fun." She characterized the project as "Emancipation of Mimi to the second power", saying she was "freer on this album than" any other. Like her previous one, this album mainly concentrates on pop and R&B, but also borrows hip hop, gospel and even reggae ("Cruise Control") elements. Although E=MC² was well received by most critics, some of them criticized it for being "a clone of The Emancipation of Mimi". Bleu Magazine's critic said that the "facsimiles aren't terrible, they're just boring and forgettable at this point".
Two weeks before the album's release, on April 2, 2008, "Touch My Body", her first single from the album, became Carey's eighteenth number-one single on the Hot 100, pushing her past Elvis Presley into second place for the most number-one singles among all artists in the rock era, according to Billboard magazine's revised methodology (however, their statistician Joel Whitburn still credits Presley with an eighteenth). Carey is now second only to The Beatles who have twenty number-one singles.
Carey's singles have, collectively, topped the charts for seventy-nine weeks, which places her just behind Presley, who topped the combined charts for eighty weeks. Carey has also had notable success on international charts, though not to the same degree as in the United States. Thus far, she has had two number-one singles in Britain, two in Australia, and six in Canada. Her highest-charting single in Japan peaked at number two.
On April 30, 2008, Carey married actor Nick Cannon, at Carey's private estate on Windermere Island in the Bahamas. Confirming rumors of the marriage, Carey stated that she felt the pair were "soulmates".
Carey began to take professional acting lessons in 1997, and in the coming year, she was auditioning for film roles. She made her debut as an opera singer in the romantic comedy The Bachelor (1999), starring Chris O'Donnell and Renée Zellweger. CNN referred derisively to her casting as a talentless diva as "letter-perfect [...] the "can't act" part informs Carey's entire performance".
Carey's first starring role was in Glitter (2001), in which she played a struggling musician in the 1980s who breaks into the music industry after meeting a disc jockey (Max Beesley). Though Roger Ebert said "[Carey]'s acting ranges from dutiful flirtatiousness to intense sincerity", most critics panned it: Halliwell's Film Guide called it a "vapid star vehicle for a pop singer with no visible acting ability", and The Village Voice observed: "When [Carey] tries for an emotion — any emotion — she looks as if she's lost her car keys. Glitter was a box office failure, and Carey earned a Razzie Award for her role. She later said that the film "started out as a concept with substance, but it ended up being geared to 10-year-olds. It lost a lot of grit [...] I kind of got in over my head."
Carey, Mira Sorvino and Melora Walters co-starred as waitresses at a mobster-operated restaurant in the independent film WiseGirls (2002), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival but went straight to cable in the U.S. Critics commended Carey for her efforts — The Hollywood Reporter predicted, "Those scathing notices for Glitter will be a forgotten memory for the singer once people warm up to Raychel", and Roger Friedman, referring to her as "a Thelma Ritter for the new millennium", said, "Her line delivery is sharp and she manages to get the right laughs". WiseGirls producer Anthony Esposito cast Carey in The Sweet Science (2006), a film about an unknown female boxer recruited by a boxing manager, but it never entered production.
Carey was one of several musicians who appeared in the independently produced Damon Dash films Death of a Dynasty (2003) and State Property 2 (2005). Her television work has been limited to a January 2002 episode of Ally McBeal. Carey had a cameo in Adam Sandler's 2008 film You Don't Mess with the Zohan, playing herself.
In 2006, Carey joined the cast of the indie film Tennessee (2008), taking the role of an aspiring singer who flees her controlling husband and joins two brothers on a journey to find their long-lost father. Carey will also appear as a social worker in the forthcoming movie adaptation of the 1996 novel by Sapphire, "Push", and is developing a movie musical based on her Christmas album Merry Christmas. The script is written by "High School Musical" writer Peter Barsocchini.
Carey has said that from childhood she was influenced by R&B and soul musicians such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Stevie Wonder. Her music contains strong influences of gospel music, and her favorite gospel singers include The Clark Sisters, Shirley Caesar and Edwin Hawkins. When Carey incorporated hip hop into her sound, speculation arose that she was making an attempt to take advantage of the genre's popularity, but she told Newsweek, "People just don't understand. I grew up with this music". She has expressed appreciation for rappers such as The Sugarhill Gang, Eric B. & Rakim, the Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G. and Mobb Deep, with whom she collaborated on the single "The Roof (Back in Time)" (1998).
During Carey's career, her vocal and musical style, along with her level of success, has been compared to Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Carey and her peers, according to Garry Mulholland, are "the princesses of wails [...] virtuoso vocalists who blend chart-oriented pop with mature MOR torch song". In She Bop II: The Definitive History of Women in Rock, Pop and Soul (2002), writer Lucy O'Brien attributed the comeback of Barbra Streisand's "old-fashioned showgirl" to Carey and Dion, and described them and Houston as "groomed, airbrushed and overblown to perfection". Carey's musical transition and use of more revealing clothing during the late 1990s were, in part, initiated to distance herself from this image, and she subsequently said that most of her early work was "schmaltzy MOR". Some have noted that unlike Houston and Dion, Carey co-writes her own songs, and the Guinness Rockopedia (1998) classified her as the "songbird supreme".
Although she is naturally an alto Carey has a five octave vocal range that can cover all the notes spanning from the alto vocal range leading to those of a coloratura soprano., and her vocal trademark is her ability to sing in the whistle register. She has cited Minnie Riperton as the greatest influence on her singing technique and from a very early age, she attempted to emulate Riperton's high notes, to increasing degrees of success as her vocal range expanded. At one point, The Guinness Book of Records recorded that there was no other singer who could hold a higher note than Carey. In 2003, her voice was ranked first in MTV and Blender magazine's countdown of the 22 Greatest Voices in Music, as voted by fans and readers in an online poll. Carey said of the poll, "What it really means is voice of the MTV generation. Of course, it's an enormous compliment, but I don't feel that way about myself.
Carey's voice has come under considerable scrutiny from critics who believe that she does not communicate the message of her songs effectively. Rolling Stone magazine said in 1992, "Carey has a remarkable vocal gift, but to date, unfortunately, her singing has been far more impressive than expressive [...] at full speed her range is so superhuman that each excessive note erodes the believability of the lyric she is singing. The New York Daily News wrote in 2005 that Carey's singing "is ultimately what does her in. For Carey, vocalizing is all about the performance, not the emotions that inspired it [...] Does having a great voice automatically make you a great singer? Hardly." Some interpreted Carey's decision to utilize what she described as "breathy" vocals in some of her late 1990s and early 2000s work as a sign that her voice was deteriorating, but she has maintained that it "has been here all along". An article in VIBE magazine indicated that Carey's singing style highlights weaknesses in other aspects of her music, "The impressiveness of her voice as well—as her tendency to oversing—make the blandness of her material all the more flagrant."
Love is the subject of the majority of Carey's lyrics, although she has written about themes such as racism, death, world hunger, and spirituality. She has said that much of her work is partly autobiographical, but TIME magazine wrote: "If only Mariah Carey's music had the drama of her life. Her songs are often sugary and artificial—NutraSweet soul. But her life has passion and conflict. The Village Voice wrote in 2001 that, in that respect, Carey compared unfavorably with singers such as Mary J. Blige, saying "Carey's Strawberry Shortcake soul still provides the template with which teen-pop cuties draw curlicues around those centerless [[Diane Warren|[Diane] Warren]] ballads [...] it's largely because of [Blige] that the new r&b demands a greater range of emotional expression, smarter poetry, more from-the-gut testifying, and less unnecessary notes than the squeaky-clean and just plain squeaky Mariah era. Nowadays it's the Christina Aguileras and Jessica Simpsons who awkwardly oversing, while the women with roof-raising lung power keep it in check when tune or lyric demands.
Carey's output makes use of electronic instruments such as drum machines, keyboards and synthesizers. Many of her songs contain piano music, and she was given piano lessons when she was six years old. Carey said that she cannot read sheet music and prefers to collaborate with a pianist when composing her material, but feels that it is easier to experiment with faster and less conventional melodies and chord progressions using this technique. Some of her arrangements have been inspired by the work of musicians such as Stevie Wonder, a soul pianist to whom Carey once referred as "the genius of the [twentieth] century", but she has said, "My voice is my instrument; it always has been.
Carey began commissioning remixes of her material early in her career and helped to spearhead the practice of recording entirely new vocals for remixes. Disc jockey David Morales has collaborated with Carey several times, starting with "Dreamlover" (1993), which popularized the tradition of remixing pop songs into house records, and which Slant magazine named one of the greatest dance songs of all time. From "Fantasy" (1995) onward, Carey enlisted both hip hop and house producers to re-imagine her album compositions. Entertainment Weekly included two remixes of "Fantasy" on a list of Carey's greatest recordings compiled in 2005: a National Dance Music Award-winning remix produced by Morales, and a Sean Combs production featuring rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard. The latter has been credited with popularizing the pop/hip hop collaboration trend that has continued into the 2000s through artists such as Ashanti and Beyoncé. Combs said that Carey "knows the importance of mixes, so you feel like you're with an artist who appreciates your work—an artist who wants to come up with something with you". She continues to consult on remixes by producers such as Morales, Jermaine Dupri, Junior Vasquez and DJ Clue, and guest performers contribute frequently to them. The popularity in U.S. nightclubs of the dance remixes, which often sound radically different from their album counterparts, has been known to eclipse the mainstream chart success of the original songs.
Carey is a philanthropist who has donated time and money to organizations such as the Fresh Air Fund. She became associated with the Fund in the early 1990s, and is the co-founder of a camp located in Fishkill, New York, that enables inner-city youth to embrace the arts and introduces them to career opportunities. The camp was called Camp Mariah "for her generous support and dedication to Fresh Air children", and she received a Congressional Horizon Award for her youth-related charity work. She is well-known nationally for her work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation in granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, and in November 2006 she was awarded the Foundation's Wish Idol for her "extraordinary generosity and her many wish granting achievements". Carey has volunteered for the New York City Police Athletic League and contributed to the obstetrics department of New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell Medical Center. A percentage of the sales of MTV Unplugged was donated to various other charities. In 2008, Carey was named Hunger Ambassador of the World Hunger Relief Movement. She is giving a free download of her song, Love Story, from the album E=MC2 to customers who donate to the organization at participating restaurants.
One of Carey's most high-profile benefit concert appearances was on VH1's 1998 Divas Live special, during which she performed alongside other female singers in support of the Save the Music Foundation. The concert was a ratings success, and Carey participated in the 2000 special. In 2007, the Save the Music Foundation honored Carey at their tenth gala event for her support towards the foundation since its inception. She appeared at the America: A Tribute to Heroes nationally televised fundraiser in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and in December 2001, she performed before peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. Carey hosted the CBS television special At Home for the Holidays, which documented real-life stories of adopted children and foster families, and she has worked with the New York City Administration for Children's Services. In 2005, Carey performed for Live 8 in London and at the Hurricane Katrina relief telethon "Shelter from the Storm".
Declining offers to appear in commercials in the United States during her early career, Carey was not involved in brand marketing initiatives until 2006, when she participated in endorsements for Intel Centrino personal computers and launched a jewelry and accessories line for teenagers, Glamorized, in American Claire's and Icing stores. During this period, as part of a partnership with Pepsi and Motorola, Carey recorded and promoted a series of exclusive ringtones, including "Time of Your Life". She signed a licensing deal with the cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden, and in 2007, she released her own fragrance, "M". According to Forbes, Carey was the sixth richest woman in entertainment as of January 2007, with an estimated net worth of US $225 million.
Carey directed or co-directed several of the music videos for her singles during the 1990s. Slant magazine named the video for "The Roof (Back in Time)", which Carey co-directed with Diane Martel, one of the twenty greatest music videos of all time. In 2008, Carey made Time's annual list of 100 most Influential people.