Powerhouse singer Mariah Carey has been busy promoting the 25th-anniversary re-release of her bestselling album, Butterfly, but she dropped a major surprise during a new podcast interview. The former “American Idol” judge revealed she also has plans to release an alternative rock album she recorded around the same time that her record label hid away, fearful it would ruin her image.
Carey Recorded Album in Secret, Inspired By 90s Rockers
In a nearly two-hour interview for the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, released on September 16, 2022, Carey revealed that she tracked down the original recordings of a forbidden rock album she created in 1995 with a band called Eel Tree, which later changed its name to Chick, and she plans to release it for fans.
At the time, Carey was officially working on her fifth album, “Daydream,” and feeling trapped in her marriage to her manager Tommy Mottola. On Meghan Markle’s “Archetypes” podcast released on August 30, Carey said she felt “locked away” after marrying in 1993 at age 23.
“I was given the rules and had to stick with them,” she said of the marriage, which lasted four years.
The five-time Grammy winner wrote about the rock album in her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. Though she was working on “Daydream” during the day, late at night she would hold secret recording sessions for an alternative rock album, filled with emotionally-charged songs she co-wrote.
“I was exploring my musical range, but I was also filled with rage,” she wrote. “It’s always been a challenge for me to acknowledge and express anger. My personal life was suffocating during ‘Daydream’ and I was in desperate need of release.”
She shared in the book that she was inspired by “breezy-grunge, punk-light white female singers who were popular at the time.” In 1995, angst-filled, female performers on the alternative charts included Alanis Morrisette, Hole’s Courtney Love, No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani, and PJ Harvey.
“They could be angry, angsty, and messy, with old shoes, wrinkled slips, and unruly eyebrows, while every move I made was so calculated and manicured,” Carey wrote. “I wanted to break free, let loose, and express my misery – but I also wanted to laugh.”
Label Refused to Release Rock Album in 1995
When word of Carey’s secret rock project got back to music executives at Sony Music, including her husband, they were not happy, according to Louder Sound. The company refused to release the album, insisting that songs would damage her image as a soulful pop star.
But Carey still wanted the songs out in the world, so she convinced her friend Clarissa Dane — lead singer of Chick to re-record her vocals on every track, burying Carey’s vocals to be barely detectable. The record was called “Someone’s Ugly Daughter” and released with no mention of Carey’s involvement. In 2020, the superstar tweeted about the long-lost album, saying she made it “just for laughs.”
But in her recent Rolling Stone interview, Carey said that now that she has the original mix, she intends to release it. She said she is also planning to do something related to the rock album involving “another artist,” but refrained from naming the person.
When Carey revealed in 2020 that she was on a quest to find the original recordings, her former producer hoped she’d find them.
“I think it’s a great record,” Dana Jon Chapelle told Rolling Stone. “I’m happy that she’s finally revealing it and letting people see another dimension of Mariah.”