Mariah Carey Reflects On Her Legacy: I've Devoted My Life To Writing Songs

In honor of their 125th anniversary, Billboard did some reflecting and created a coveted ranking of the most successful artists of all time based on their chart performance. Low and behold, Mariah Carey's extensive catalogue has crowned her the Top Female Solo Artist of All Time and the No. 4 artist on their Top 125 Artists of All Time, courtesy of her 18 Hot 100 No. 1's and six album chart-toppers on the Billboard 200.

To commemorate the ranking, the pop titan, 49, spoke to the outlet about the accomplishment and, while her ranking remains pivotal, there's an even more important angle to take. "Look, I’ve devoted my life to this career and writing songs," Carey admitted. "Obviously I have my own babies now. But these are my little song babies."

Among her 18 No. 1 hits include "Fantasy," her Bad Boy remix featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard, "One Sweet Day," her Boyz II Men collab, and "Heartbreaker" featuring JAY-Z. However, Carey said that there was a lesson in intuition that arrived from all these famed team-ups. "I don’t know that these things taught me anything necessarily different about myself as an artist except that I needed to trust my own instincts, you know what I mean?" she recalled. "It really feels good to see, OK, this is where music was going, and I knew it, and I wasn’t trying to fit into something -- I was searching for my own creative autonomy."

Ultimately, Carey attributes the impact as the most rewarding part of her songwriting craft. "When I look back on the songs that I’ve written that have become part of people’s lives, that’s what makes me the most proud. 'All I Want for Christmas Is You' the constant presence at Christmastime -- to feel that as someone who loves Christmas so much, I can’t even explain," she explained. "And then I think about 'Hero,' which I performed at the Tribute to Heroes during the 9/11 tragedy: It was a song that I had written and debuted on a Thanksgiving special, and it went to No. 1 and has become kind of synonymous with me. I don’t think many people realize I wrote that song, either -- because most people aren’t necessarily writing their songs. But I wouldn’t feel complete as an artist if I didn’t."

While it remains to be seen if "'All I Want for Christmas Is You" can top the Hot 100 this holiday season, Carey's signature smashes are impacting the younger generation in their own way. "This past year, with the whole 'Obsessed' challenge when it reentered the charts -- do you know what I’m referring to?" she asked. "I have 8-year-old twins, and they’re not allowed to watch TikTok yet, but they’re sitting there watching all these 13-, 14-year-old kids doing this little 'Obsessed' [dance] challenge, which took on a life of its own. It became a thing. It had a huge resurgence."

Photo: Getty Images

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