With a career spanning over 25 years, Mariah Carey has enjoyed success in the 90’s, 00’s, and the current 10’s.
During the later timeframe, it’s industry icon L.A Reid who shepherded the songbird to new heights – most notably with 2005’s ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’ and follow-up ‘E=MC2.’ Both of which spurned a number of hits for the diva.
Having fallen on tricky terrain once again though, Carey re-teamed with Reid over at Epic Records earlier this year with a view to revive her career fortunes.
And while it’s clear an all-out approach is being taken to the Resuscitation of Mimi (as evidenced by the push for her Las Vegas residency and new greatest hits collection ‘#1 To Infinity’), Reid’s comments on her comeback will certainly set tongues wagging.
See why below…
During a recent interview with Billboard, the renown industry exec offered the following when quizzed on the commercial goal for Mariah’s new single ‘Infinity’:
You signed Carey to IDJ and now Epic. Six years since her last top 10 song, what do you expect from her new single, “Infinity”?
Mariah Carey made her first hit record in 1991. To even be on the radio at this point in her career is a huge accomplishment, because radio doesn’t cater to veteran artists or legends. Radio caters to in-the-moment stars. … Nobody that put out records 25 years ago is going to have a No. 1. Not Paul, Stevie, Bruce, Mick or Keith. Not Prince, not anyone. So if she can get on the radio, we’ve done damn good. Would we like to have a No. 1? F– yeah, I’m greedy. But it’s not realistic.
Some may scoff, but there is statistical evidence to support his claims. It’s not fair that the industry is orientated this way, but – at present – it’s simply “the way” things are.
From where we’re standing, the best move at the moment would be to really push Mariah as an album act. Because if there’s one thing the artists he mentioned are doing, it’s selling albums. They cater to an audience that actually earn funds enough to drop $10.00 on an LP from an artist they like, an artist they’ve have a history of investing in.
And, thankfully, it appears that’s Reid’s line of thinking with Mimi this go round. He added:
Will you put her back in the studio?
Absolutely, but I don’t believe in asking artists to go back and be who they once were. I like concept records, I like the idea of thematic, storytelling records. I love duets and the Great American Songbook. I think a great vocalist should un-cage themselves and think about things like that sometimes. I mean, Frank Sinatra did it. It’s fun to sing songs you love. And let’s not forget that one of Mariah’s biggest hits, “I’ll Be There,” was a cover. There are many things that Mariah can still do.
In a way, do you have to position Carey as a new artist?
No. I’m not under any illusion that Mariah should compete with, say, Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande. Our job is to make sure the quality is there. Every artist is one great song away from massive success.
Now, of course, he and Mariah’s new management team, have their work cut out for them. Because, after years of posing and pouting in provocative outfits while trying to compete with today’s Pop pretenders, she’s pushed some of her core audience away.
Ultimately, she’ll need to hatch a plan to re-entice them back. Vegas feels like a smart initial move, but we’re keen to see where she drives to next musically.
For yours truly, it’d be awesome to see her drop an album populated with songs such as ‘Mine Again,’ ‘Circles,’ ‘For The Record,’ ‘Faded,’ and ‘Camouflage.’ Quality mid-tempo ballads that are sonically cohesive.
Why not forget singles (somewhat) and embrace the Prince model of dropping albums in innovative ways? Perhaps team with an unconventional promotion partner ala Starbucks (as John Legend has done in the past) to place her music in front of the masses in a unique way?
Success comes in many flavours, as such it’ll be great for Mariah to try something different. Scratch that, she has to try something different. Because, no matter how loud her supporters scream that she “has nothing left to prove,” we’d bet those at her label feel otherwise. The music industry is a business, hence anytime money is spent (as it was on her lucrative new deal) it’s done so with a view of making an eventual profit. Viewed this way, she has everything to prove and so does Mr. Reid.
Whatever the case, Mimi needs to march to a new beat. Here’s hoping L.A and her new instructors help her find it.