The World Has Finally Seen The Light: Mariah Carey Has Been Inducted Into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame At Last
2020 is already proving to be a big year for some of history’s most iconic musicians. The Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees have just been announced—and among them are classic artists like the Isley Brothers, Eurythmics, Steve Miller, and the ever-iconic Mariah Carey. Many of this year’s inductees boast prolific careers that span literal decades, and Carey is no exception. She’s best-known for her outrageous vocal range and trademark high-notes, but she’s got some serious songwriting chops, and the time has finally come for that particular gift to be celebrated, too.
“I can’t believe it . . . The SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME!!!!” Carey gushed on Twitter. “This is truly one of the greatest honors of my career,” she wrote, praising previous inductees as well as her peers in “the class of 2020.”
Mariah Carey has won five Grammys over the course of her 30-years-and-counting career, writing or co-writing 18 of her 19 songs that hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100. Some of the catchiest pop songs of all time—from 1993’s “Dreamlover” to 1995’s “Fantasy” and “Always Be My Baby”—were penned by Carey herself, and you can’t say that these tunes have never drilled themselves so deep in your head that you were humming them for days (or weeks) on end. (Well, you could say that, but we wouldn’t believe you.)
Although the woman’s got a knack for writing some serious bops, she’s rarely been lauded as the incredible songwriter she is. Carey even expressed frustration at this lack of recognition in a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, acknowledging that it has always been important for her to be responsible for the crafting of her lyrics (her contracts have even stated that she would primarily perform her own original work).
On the topic of her songwriting skills, Carey said, “The average person who is not a fan or [doesn’t] follow what I do . . . they just don’t know, because I’m not seen sitting behind a piano or strumming a guitar, for the most part.” She added, “I’ve had those moments, but that’s not really what people associate me with.”
And it’s true—people usually associate Carey with her powerful voice, a key ingredient to her abundant success (and her long list of record-breaking accolades).
Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
As a vocalist, Carey has logged the highest number of weeks spent at the top of the charts (79 in total!), and her characteristic alto/soprano sound has made her a timeless, international sensation—the global obsession with “All I Want For Christmas (Is You)” led to a series of historic firsts. For example: it made Carey the first artist to top the singles charts in four separate decades; as a resurrected 2019 holiday bop, it was the first-ever song to top the Billboard Hot 100 before disappearing entirely; and it earned her a 2020 Guinness World Record for the “highest-charting holiday (Christmas/New Year) song on the US Hot 100 by a solo artist.”
Damn, Mimi. When she told Rolling Stone that “oftentimes people put [songwriting] as a secondary thing, and for me it’s always at the top of the gifts I could be so thankful to have,” we heard her loud and clear. And the folks at the Songwriters Hall of Fame seem to have finally gotten the message.
In a statement about the prestigious award, Songwriters Hall of Fame chairmain said: ““The first thing you need to know is it’s about the song, the second thing you need to know is it’s about the song, the third thing you need to know is it’s about the song.” He added, “I am very proud that we are recognizing some of the culturally most important songwriters of all time and that the 2020 slate of inductees represents diversity and unity across genres, ethnicity and gender, writers who have enriched our lives and in their time literally transformed music and helped make it what it is today.”
Without a doubt, the landscape of music today would be very different without Mariah Carey’s impact.
Credit: The Pop Hub / Twitter
In a 2008 blurb for Time Magazine, Stevie Wonder wrote, “When people talk about the great influential singers, they talk about Aretha, Whitney and Mariah. That’s a testament to her talent. Her range is that amazing.”
A legend himself, Stevie Wonder was right—everyone from Beyonce to Missy Elliott (who was inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year) to Ariana Grande have cited Mariah Carey as a major influence. Carey’s signature melismatic singing style has shaped popular music in an undeniable and major way (think: Beyonce/Jennifer Hudson/Christina Aguilera vocals, how ubiquitous and fundamental they are to the current state of pop). All in all, there’s no questioning it: Mariah Carey is a force to be reckoned with, and her extensive oeuvre includes some pretty praise-worthy lyrical prowess.
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