With her immaculate, glamorous image, Mariah Carey is the last person you’d expect to don a plaid shirt, ripped denim and mope over a squall of electric guitars. But the R&B singer has revealed that she channelled singers who were “angry, angsty, and messy, with old shoes” for a secret alt-rock project in 1995.
Carey worked with the band Chick on their album Someone’s Ugly Daughter, writing, producing and singing backing vocals on every song. In an excerpt from her forthcoming memoir, she writes:
I’d bring my little alt-rock song to the band and hum a silly guitar riff. They would pick it up and we would record it immediately. It was irreverent, raw and urgent, and the band got into it. I actually started to love some of the songs. I would fully commit to my character. I was playing with the style of the breezy-grunge, punk-light white female singers who were popular at the time. You know the ones who seemed to be so carefree with their feelings and their image. 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. I wanted to break free, let loose and express my misery – but I also wanted to laugh. I totally looked forward to doing my alter-ego band sessions after Daydream each night.
Though it was released on the Sony offshoot Epic Records, Someone’s Ugly Daughter was not a success. Meanwhile, Carey’s solo album Daydream, which she worked on concurrently, became one of her biggest successes, selling 20m copies worldwide and featuring hits including Fantasy and Always Be My Baby.
As well as publishing her memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey, this week she also releases The Rarities, a double album of obscurities from across her 30-year career.