Songbird supreme Mariah Carey is typically one of the last people you’d associate with grunge. She’s about as grunge as a pair of diamante white leather gloves, which, thinking about, she definitely actually owns.
But the singer caused a stir this week when she announced that a secret grunge album she made in 1996 may be released to the world for the first time ever.
Another iteration of the album, Someone’s Ugly Daughter, has been released previously under the band name “Chick”, but Carey can only be heard as backing vocals. Which seems almost unspeakable for Carey.
But in a podcast interview with Rolling Stone Music Now, the Fantasy singer revealed that original versions of the album — with her lead vocals — have been found, and she even hinted that they may be released.
Carey speaks of the album with fondness, telling the interviewers: "I had no freedom during that time. That was my freedom, making that record,” adding, “It got me through some dark days.”
The singer first revealed the existence of the Someone’s Ugly Daughter project in her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. In the book, she explains how she made the jarring switch from her other work — pop and R&B hits — to grunge. “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."
On the Rolling Stone podcast, she also shares that she was inspired by the likes of Hole and Green Day, who were popular at the time.
Meanwhile, at this exact time, Carey was working on her soon-to-be chart topping album Daydream, which producers knew was a more likely commercial success.
She revealed that there was unease about her grunge lyrics, telling Rolling Stone: “I honestly wanted to put the record out back then under, you know, the same pseudonym, just put it out and be like, you know whatever, let them discover that it’s me. But that idea was kind of stomped and squashed."
Not only that, but Carey was even responsible for the album artwork — which couldn’t be more 90s grunge if it tried. The album cover features a cockroach and lipstick kiss stain, with the band name written in the same lipstick and the album name scrawled in black pen.
Carey appears connected to the album, admitting that she still wants people to hear it, 27 years on. “I think this unearthed version will become, yes, something we should hear," she told Rolling Stone, adding that the eventual release may even feature a collaboration. “I’m working on a version of something where there’ll be another artist working on this with me as well."
In typical Mariah Carey fashion, she hasn’t revealed any details about when we can expect the album’s eventual release, or how different it may be to the original that was unearthed with her lead vocals.
But based on that album cover alone, you can guarantee we’re all intrigued enough to give it a listen.