Andrew ChanSep 5, 2023
Why Mariah Carey Matters
University of Texas Press 2023
Why Mariah Carey Matters (University of Texas Press, 2023) examines the creative and complicated evolution of the musical artist. In the 1990s, Carey perfected blending pop, hip-hop, and R&B and drew from her turbulent personal life to create introspective, sonically sound masterpieces like “Vision of Love,” “Make it Happen,” and “Butterfly.” There is no doubt about Carey’s star power, as she has sold over 220 million albums globally and has the most Billboard chart-topping singles of any solo artist. Although a pioneering songwriter and producer, Carey’s musicianship and influence are still insufficiently appreciated.
Andrew Chan looks beyond Carey’s glamorous persona to explore her experience as a biracial Black woman in the music business, her adventurous forays into house music and gospel, and her appeal to multiple generations of queer audiences. He also reckons with the transcendent ideal of the voice that Carey represents, showing how this international icon taught artists worldwide to sing with soul-shaking intensity and a spirit of innovation.
Andrew Chan writes regularly about music, film, and books. His work has been published by the Criterion Collection, Film Comment, NPR, the New Yorker, and Reverse Shot.
Latoya Johnson is an editor, writer, and bibliophile with a master’s in Humanities. Her research and writing interests include popular culture, the public history of women’s fiction, and women in Greco-Roman mythology.