Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1969 or 1970) is an American singer and songwriter. Referred to as the "Songbird Supreme" by the Guinness World Records, she is noted for her five-octave vocal range, vocal power, melismatic style, and signature use of the whistle register.
After signing to Columbia Records, she released her debut album, Mariah Carey (1990), which spawned four number-one singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday," and "I Don't Wanna Cry." She followed this chart success with the number-one single "Emotions", from the album of the same name, making her the first and only artist to have their first five singles reach number-one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following her marriage to Sony Music head Tommy Mottola, Carey became the label's highest-selling act with the albums Emotions Music Box (1993), Merry Christmas (1994), and Daydream (1995). These albums spawned a string of successful singles including the international number-one "Without You," holiday track "All I Want for Christmas Is You," and "One Sweet Day," which became the longest-running U.S. number-one single in history with a total of 16 weeks. After divorcing Mottola, Carey adopted a new image and incorporated more elements of hip hop into her music with the release of Butterfly (1997). Billboard named her the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States, while World Music Awards honored her as the world's best-selling recording artist of the 1990s.
Carey parted with Columbia in 2000, and signed a record-breaking $100 million recording contract with Virgin Records. In the weeks prior to the release of her film Glitter and its accompanying soundtrack in 2001, she suffered a physical and emotional breakdown and was hospitalized for severe exhaustion. The project was poorly received and led to a general decline in the singer's career. Carey's recording contract was bought out for $50 million by Virgin and she signed a multi-million dollar deal with Island Records the following year. After a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to the top of music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). It became the world's second best-selling album of 2005 and produced "We Belong Together," which made her the only artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 Decade-End chart twice. Carey revived her film career with a supporting role in Precious (2009), which earned her the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Throughout her career, Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. According to the RIAA, she is the third-best-selling female artist in the United States, with 63.5 million certified albums. With the release of "Touch My Body" (2008), Carey gained her 18th number-one single in the United States, more than any other solo artist. In 2012, she was ranked second on VH1's list of the 100 greatest female artists in music history. Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Carey has won 5 Grammy Awards, 19 World Music Awards, 10 American Music Awards, and 14 Billboard Music Awards, and has been consistently credited with inspiring a generation of singers.