1990 was a banner year for Mariah Carey, who released her first (self-titled) studio album, which netted four chart-topping singles and was certified 9x-platinum by RIAA. Arguably, though, 1994 was just as important to the singer-songwriter, due to the release of “Merry Christmas”: her first holiday album spawned the single “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” one of the best-selling singles of all time that has popped up on “Love, Actually” and been covered by artists including Michael Buble, Miley Cyrus and CeeLo Green. The success of “All I Want for Christmas” allowed the self-professed “festive” Carey to ramp up her holiday projects. She has taken part in “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” specials, and in 2014 she began a short December run at the Beacon Theater in New York City with a special holiday concert. The tradition has continued, and this year she is not only returning to the Beacon but also extending her holiday-themed offerings with international tour dates, two animated holiday films and a Christmas-themed candy line.
“I do love the holidays so much, and I love sharing the spirit,” Carey says.
After doing her first week at the Beacon in 2014, Carey turned “All I Want for Christmas” into a children’s book, which was published in 2015 and featured a cartoon version of a little girl named Mariah. That story has now been adapted for an animated movie hitting Blu-ray and DVD on Nov. 14.
“That’s really exciting for me because my kids are only 6 years old, so they’ll get to watch it. It’s about a little girl named Mariah who gets a puppy for Christmas, and it’s really cute,” Carey says.
“The Star,” an animated film from Sony Pictures about a donkey and his animal friends who save the first Christmas, will follow on Nov. 17. Carey has a voice role in the film starring Zachary Levi as Joseph and Gina Rodriguez as Mary, and she co-wrote and sings the title track.
Re-teaming with Marc Shaiman (with whom Carey collaborated on “One Child” from her second studio holiday album, “Merry Christmas II You”), “The Star” will also feature the background vocals of her twins. Being able to share her new projects in that “family-friendly” way is important to Carey these days, who notes “The Star” is based on a traditional Bible tale.
“The animation, I think is great, and the story is really well done, and, of course, I hope everyone enjoys the song that we’ve done,” Carey says.
This is the first time she is doing two big animated projects and she hopes “people will enjoy them.”
In December, Carey will head a “big production” holiday tour to cities including New York, London and Paris. And just in time for holiday gift-giving, she will also release the Mariah Carey Christmas Factory line in partnership with the Sugar Factory.
Featuring candy-themed ornaments, candles, snow globes, it is another way for Carey to celebrate the year in a big way.
“A lot of people tell me now that my music and my shows have become a holiday tradition for them, and that makes me feel good,” she says.