MUSIC

Mariah Carey is back with a new album, new label and sell-out Las Vegas shows

Singer puts difficult days behind her and roll backs the years with a stint at Caesars Palace showcasing her top US hits

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2015, 6:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2015, 6:21am
NYT

Share

Mariah Carey says she's happy. She asks if that sounds like a cliché, but given the roller-coaster few years she's had, it shouldn't.

We've all seen the headlines. Her marriage to Nick Cannon, father of Carey's twins, Monroe and Moroccan, ended after six years. An accident on the set of a 2013 music video left her with a dislocated shoulder and required a lengthy recovery. And her 2013 stint as a judge on American Idol is mostly remembered for a spat with her one-time collaborator, Nicki Minaj, that went viral.

On top of all that, her last album, Me. I Am Mariah ... the Elusive Chanteuse, was hampered by delays and ultimately opened with weak sales. But here she was, wearing tight black jeans, bedazzling jacket and towering heels and cheerfully sipping a glass of wine - in a festive mood, as she put it.

The night before, the 45-year-old star's new residency, Mariah #1 to Infinity, opened to a sell-out crowd in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The show, directed by long-time Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich, is a greatest-hits parade, with Carey performing her 18 No 1 hits in order of their release. So far, only the first 18 shows have been announced, but sources said the show could go through to the end of the year. How has she celebrated?

"I slept a lot," Carey says with a laugh. "Last night I was with a few friends. We ended up watching Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and just for a moment we were living in splendour. Oh, and we went in the hot tub. This is Mimi [a nickname for Carey] after the show."

For Carey, the residency is not so much a push of the reset button as a look to the past while keeping an eye on the future.

Carey has reunited with Antonio "L.A." Reid, who oversaw her blockbuster 2005 comeback, The Emancipation of Mimi. Her first issue on her new label, Epic Records, is a hits compilation, Mariah Carey #1 to Infinity.

Miles away from the touristy buzz of the Las Vegas Strip, past multiple security gates, Carey is unwinding in her Nevada home. Dozens of photos line a marble countertop between the kitchen and a sleek bar - most are of her children's smiling faces, but there are also shots of Carey on the beach or with friends.

In one, she's embracing long-time friend and collaborator Brett Ratner, who is in town to direct her video, Infinity, inside a lavish Caesars Palace penthouse.

The sounds of Carey's four-year-old children playing upstairs echoed throughout the home as members of Team MC tended to business around the room on smartphones and laptops. Later, her kids trotted downstairs for dinner, gleefully shouting "Mummy" and slapping high-fives with everyone, Rocco's curly hair bouncing as he jumped about, and Monroe, as stylish as her mother, twirling in a dress covered with Disney princesses. Carey says it feels right to do the Las Vegas stint now because is also transitioning from one label to the next. "And I had the babies, and I tend to travel with them, and to go and start recording from scratch right now would be great, but there's a house I'm working on right now that I want to finish so I can record there and they can have their own area.

"They dictate what happens with my life, so I thought this would be good."

Looking ahead, Carey says other than the Vegas show there are also movie and television projects in the pipeline. "Christmas is always the most fun. I start looking forward to Christmas before it's even summertime," she says. "I did those [Christmas specials] at the Beacon Theatre. I'll be doing that again this year. And I'm going to have some other surprises that I will announce later."

Tribune News Service