By the point 20-year-old Mariah Carey launched her first single “Vision of Love” in 1990, Whitney Houston had already launched two multi-platinum albums — the primary which she launched on the age of 22 — with hits like “The Greatest Love of All” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” However each had powerhouse voices, so naturally, they had been likened to 1 one other.
“When you’re new, you have to be compared to someone,” Carey even said in an early interview. “There are a lot worse people I could be compared to. She’s a superstar and a great vocalist.”
However when Carey’s self-titled 1990 debut album bought 15 million copies globally, in comparison with Houston’s third album I’m Your Child Tonight promoting a really respectable 5 million in the identical 12 months, the direct comparisons started, sparking what got here to be one of many best music rivalries of all time.
The press continuously pitted Houston in opposition to Carey
What began out as a press-born battle, turned actual when Houston was requested in a European interview, “What do you think of her?” and replied with a snark, “What do I consider her? I don’t consider her.”
The remark was met with yelps from the gang so impassioned that her following remark of “Musically, I think she’s a good singer,” was rapidly ignored.
The battle for the highest of the charts appeared to gas their supposed rivalry. When Carey’s “One Sweet Day” knocked Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” off the charts, Houston was once more requested her ideas, this time on MTV: “Perhaps it’s not what I believe, it’s what she thinks — it’s extra necessary.”
For her half, Carey appeared to at all times take the backseat because the newcomer, even when she was a bonafide chart-topper and deserving diva. The truth is, when the concept for the 2 to return collectively for a duet, Carey admitted to MTV that her first thought was, “Did she say that was cool?”
The singers shut down the rumors once they recorded a duet collectively, which gained an Oscar
On the heights of the supposed rivalry, Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg talked to each singers about his upcoming animated movie Prince of Egypt, Carey told MTV in 1998. In a transfer that shocked the popular culture world, the 2 stepped into the studio collectively to document the 1998 film’s title tune, “When You Believe” — sharing significant lyrics like, “There can be miracles / When you believe.”
“It’s sort of a message song,” Carey stated. “If we were ever going to come together on any kind of record, this is definitely the right one — and really the coolest thing to me is that after all that drama and everybody making it like we had a rivalry, she was just really cool and we had a really good time in the studio.”
Squashing the rumors all collectively, she added: “We had fun and so, if nothing else, it was a good experience and diva-ism, whatever.”
And if that present of friendship wasn’t sufficient, the pair appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Present collectively on November 25, 1998, bemused by the best way the press and public had satisfied them that they had been rivals.
“When we got together, it was like magic,” Houston told Winfrey. “We clicked, we laughed like old girlfriends.”
“When You Believe” went on to win an Academy Award in 1999 for Greatest Track.
Houston and Carey even mocked their rivalry
Houston and Carey continued their tour of friendship on the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, the place they confirmed up from reverse sides of the stage to current the award for Greatest Male Video collectively — each sporting the identical brown costume.
“Nice dress,” Carey stated as they appeared one another up and down. Houston replied, “You look pretty good too.”
“That’s one-of-a-kind, huh?” Carey egged on, whereas Houston replied, “That’s what they told me.” Mockingly aggravated with the scenario, Carey did a fast change, tearing away part of her lengthy robe revealed a shorter hemline: “Fortunately, I come prepared for situations like this.”
In fact, Houston adopted, revealing a barely completely different lower, however equally gorgeous, costume, as they showered one another with compliments. “That’s a page-turner,” Carey stated to Houston, who replied, “No, you look good!” They sealed the bit with a hug.
The 2 repeated the coordination by sporting white robes once they carried out “When You Believe” collectively on the 1999 Academy Awards.
The rivalry was reignited within the press a decade later
Whereas that ought to have sealed the deal on any additional discuss of feuds, any alternative to create parallels between their individually profitable careers at all times turned exaggerated.
In 2009, when Houston moved the discharge date of her album I Look to You sooner or later, from September 1 to August 31, it was seen as a symbolic gesture since Carey had pushed her album Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel from August 25 to September 15 and ultimately September 29. One appeared uber ready whereas the opposite appeared to not be capable to get it collectively in time.
Carey referred to as Houston ‘one of many best of all time’
Following the premature demise of Houston simply earlier than the Grammy Awards on February 11, 2012, Carey has proven nothing however respect for her fellow singer-turned-friend, attending her funeral in Newark, New Jersey.
Trying again, Carey factors to the imagined rivalry as a societal concern. “What has to change in our industry the most… is the pitting of women against each other,” she told Variety in 2019. “We didn’t know each other — and she was one of the greatest of all time. And then we finally did a duet together that won an Oscar. We had the best time working together. It was female camaraderie. We both got it. We were like she doesn’t hate me. We’re actually having a great time together and this is more fun than I have working alone, ever. So I think camaraderie with women you respect is a huge deal.”
She echoed that sentiment whereas talking to Billboard: “Working with Whitney was an experience I’ll never forget. It was a bonding experience…we really put all the rumors and nonsense behind us that there was a feud.”
“I don’t think people could ever really understand our relationship,” Carey told Good Morning America. “There was always this supposed rivalry in the beginning and then we did the duet and became friends and I saw her toward the end and I loved her… her legend’s going to go on forever.”
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