BUTTERFLY…AND BE FREE
Is Mariah Carey’s career in trouble? Judging from the rambling audio messages she’s been leaving in recent months on her new website of choice, Mariah2000 (www.mariahcarey.com), she seems to think so. (There’s considerably less candor on her official Sony site, at www.mcarey.com.) ”The political situation in my career is not stellar…. I am getting a lot of negative feedback from certain corporate people…. It’s a complete mess,” she said in a May missive, imploring fans to rally behind the single, ”Can’t Take That Away,” because ”if there are not thousands of requests to radio stations and TRL constantly, it is just going to quietly fade away.” In a June follow-up, she cryptically added, ”I do it for you, and I don’t want to have to stop because I’m afraid.”
Now sources say she’s been schmoozing with Elektra head Sylvia Rhone, as well as former Arista chief Clive Davis, who’s expected to launch a new label in mid-August. This, of course, comes as no surprise, given that since 1997 — when she separated from Sony Music chairman Thomas D. Mottola and began morphing from a demure diva into a flesh-flashing homegirl — there’s been speculation that her days with the company were numbered. But Carey’s publicist Cindi Berger denies she’s met with other labels: ”It’s not true. She’s not leaving.” Tellingly, Berger does admit that Carey has one album left on her deal, a soundtrack to the film All That Glitters, in which she’ll costar with rapper Da Brat.
Sony staffers are mystified by Carey’s online carpings (”It always sounds like she just woke up,” says one exec) and note that first-week sales of her last CD, Rainbow, were her best ever. But Carey may be focusing on current stats. While her image is bustin’ out all over, her chart positions are deflating — especially her latest single, ”Crybaby,” which, true to her Web prophecy, fell after peaking at No. 28 on the Hot 100.