Mariah Carey will release an album of newly unearthed rock vocals she recorded for a 1995 grunge album she anonymously created and sang backup on.
Mentioned in her 2020 memoir "The Meaning of Mariah Carey," the album "Someone's Ugly Daughter" featured singer-composer Clarissa Dane on lead and was released under the band name Chick. In a "Rolling Stone Music Now" podcast posted Friday, pop/R&B superstar Carey, 53, who was born and raised on Long Island, revealed she also had recorded her own lead vocals on tracks that over the years had gone missing.
"The quest for that version is going great," she said in response to a question. "We actually have it." She professed uncertainty over what precise form the "lost" album would take. "Most people, y'know, I'd rather they don't even know about it till we decide exactly what happens from that quest of finding those vocals."
The 11-track record had come about during a time of Carey's unhappiness with industry executives whom she felt were constraining her career, and upheaval in her marriage with music mogul Tommy Mottola. While working on her 1995 album "Daydream," the secret alt-rock record became a creative outlet. "I would just write these things, say, 'Can you play [she scats a melody snippet]?' to the guitar player who happened to be there while we're working on records like [the Billboard chart-topping singles] 'Always Be My Baby' and 'One Sweet Day' and eventually ‘Fantasy.' "
The five-time Grammy Award winner and Long Island Music Hall of Famer noted, "There were a lot of big records that were in that genre — that moment was very grunge. It was almost like a girls' Green Day kind of group moment, and of course there was the Courtney Love era of Hole and all that going on at the time." But, she said, "It's not that I was, like, 'Oh, I can do that.' … It was just like, 'Let me just do this,' because after the session, why not? … We just made this record all at the same time" as "Daydream" and other work.
As she described, "I would write the lyrics, go in, sing it and then there was a fear because some of the lyrical content was not what people were ... [expecting]. I honestly wanted to put the record out back then under the same pseudonym and be, like, y'know, whatever — let them discover that it's me. But that idea was kind of stomped and squashed. So, yeah, Clarissa came in and … we wrote one of the songs together … and, yeah, this was really just an outlet for me to just have fun."
She added lightheartedly, "I even did the artwork. The artwork for the album's like a dead roach and some lipstick."
Turning more serious, Carey recalled that, "I had no freedom during that time. That was my freedom. Making that record gave me, like — I would drive around with my assistant, with the top down, upstate New York, and be screaming the lyrics to these songs that nobody else knew. It was my release. … I started out, like, 'Oh, this is just for laughs, I'm having fun.' But then I was, like, 'No, this is me screaming. This is literally what I'm going through.' "
She concluded by saying, "I think this unearthed version will become something that, yes, we should hear. But also," she teased, "I'm working on a version of something where there'll be another artist working on this with me as well."