meta-scriptFor The Record: Mariah Carey's Eternal Merry-Maker, "All I Want For Christmas Is You" | GRAMMY.com
Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey (L) in 2016

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

 

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For The Record: Mariah Carey's Eternal Merry-Maker, "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

For the latest episode of GRAMMY.com's For The Record series, we explore the enduring cheer of the GRAMMY-winning pop/R&B icon's song

GRAMMYs/Dec 10, 2020 - 01:12 am

No matter how many times you've heard them, the opening jingle bells of Mariah Carey's eternal holiday classic, "All I Want For Christmas Is You," bring an inescapable joy that moves through your body.

For the latest episode of GRAMMY.com's For The Record series, we explore the enduring cheer of the GRAMMY-winning pop/R&B icon's song.

Watch the video below to learn more.

Read More: Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" Hits No. 1 25 Years After Its Initial Release

Originally released in October 1994 on the angelic vocalist's Merry Christmas album, the song has remained a holiday favorite, with placements in TV shows and films like Love Actually; it reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart in December 2019.

GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Mariah Carey Shine As She Wins Best New Artist At The 1991 GRAMMYs

Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa performs at the 2024 GRAMMYs

Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Dua Lipa's New Song "Illusion" Is Here: Listen & Watch The Video

Dua Lipa's 'Radical Optimism' era is in full swing — and now, we have a new song, "Illusion," with an aquatic-themed video. Check out the new banger, and its aqueous video, below.

GRAMMYs/Apr 11, 2024 - 10:00 pm

Now that we've absorbed "Houdini" and "Training Season," it's time for a third scoop of pop goodness from Dua Lipa.

On April 11, the three-time GRAMMY winner released "Illusion," the third single from her hotly anticipated new album, Radical Optimism, due out May 3. The percolating, endlessly catchy track arrived with a video where Lipa dances on a pool deck in Barcelona, with swimmers and surfers joining the party — a playful homage to the shark-infested waters of the album's cover.

Lipa first kicked off her Radical Optimism era in November with "Houdini," which she performed alongside the debut of "Training Season" in a head-spinning show opener at the 2024 GRAMMYs. The album follows her GRAMMY-winning second LP, 2020's Future Nostalgia.

"[Releasing the album] feels good. It feels, for lack of a better word, radically optimistic," Lipa told Billboard in March, when she also explained the inspiration for the shark fin cover art. "Throughout the whole record, there's this idea of chaos happening around and me trying to push through it in a way that feels authentic and honest to me."

Now, adding "Illusion" to the mix, Lipa has made it very clear the only way she knows how to cope with chaos is to dance — and Radical Optimism will continue the party that Future Nostalgia ignited. 

Check out the video for "Illusion" above, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more news about Dua Lipa and Radical Optimism!

Everything We Know About Dua Lipa's New Album Radical Optimism

Genia Press Play Hero
Genia (right) performs for Press Play.

Photo: Courtesy of Genia

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Press Play: Watch Genia Narrate The Pain Of Heartbreak In This Raw Performance Of "Dear Life"

R&B singer Genia offers an acoustic rendition of "Dear Life," one of the singles from her forthcoming mixtape, '4 AM In The Ville,' out April 19 via Def Jam.

GRAMMYs/Apr 9, 2024 - 05:00 pm

On "Dear Life," R&B singer Genia pens a farewell letter to her lover — while simultaneously reflecting on how the intense saga crumbled her.

"I can't take anymore/ Put my pride aside, thought you could save me," she cries in the first verse. "These days, I don't know what I need/ You destroy me from the inside out/ If I go off the deep end/ You'll be sure not to bring me back."

In this episode of Press Play, watch Genia deliver a stripped-down performance of the vulnerable track alongside her guitarist.

The California native released "Dear Life" on Nov. 10, via Def Jam Recordings. She has also dropped three more singles — "Like That," "Know!," and "Let Me Wander" — leading up to her sophomore mixtape, 4 AM In The Ville, on April 19. 4 AM is a sequel to her debut, 4 PM In The Ville; both projects are inspired by Genia's experience of growing up in Victorville, California.

""[The songs] explore the different stages of grief in a relationship," she revealed in an interview with Urban Magazine. "The second tape is really me touching on falling in love, betrayal, anger, and rape."

Watch the video above to hear Genia's acoustic performance of "Dear Life," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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Benson Boone Press Photo 2024
Benson Boone

Photo: Jonathan Weiner

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Benson Boone Declares "Beautiful Things" Is No Fluke: "I've Tapped Into How I'll Write For The Rest Of My Life"

On his debut album, 'Fireworks and Rollerblades,' Benson Boone doubles down on the anthemic sound and cathartic narrative of his breakout smash — and promises this is truly just the beginning.

GRAMMYs/Apr 8, 2024 - 08:52 pm

If there's one way to describe Benson Boone's breakthrough year, look to the title of his debut album, Fireworks and Rollerblades.

While the name was borrowed from a lyric on the LP, Boone sees it as a metaphor for his life: "I feel like things have taken off for me like a firework tied to a rollerblade, all very quickly."

He's not wrong. In the three months since the pop singer/songwriter released the album's lead single, the booming ballad "Beautiful Things," Boone has held a comfortable position in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 (peaking at No. 2 as of press time), held a five-week reign on Billboard's Global 200 chart, topped charts in multiple countries, and amassed nearly half a billion streams on Spotify alone. The song has helped Boone become one of the biggest breakout stars of 2024 so far, but his talent is something many have been seeing for the past few years.

Building a career off of penning raw lyrics strung together with memorable hooks and thrashing piano riffs, the Washington native first made waves on social media and during Season 19 of "American Idol" in 2021, where judge Lionel Richie pointed out his natural talent: "You know, there's some folks who need to practice, and there's some folks who are just gifted at it." That same quality caught the ear of Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds, who promptly signed the rising star to his Warner Records imprint Night Street Records right around the time Boone morphed into a TikTok superstar.

His powerful voice and penchant for vulnerability is what's had fans enthralled from the start, whether with early hit "Ghost Town" (a raw mediation on love with lyrics like,"Maybe you'd be happier with someone else/ Maybe loving me's the reason you can't love yourself") or the unflinching tracks on Fireworks and Rollerblades like the "Beautiful Things" follow-up "Slow it Down" ("I get nervous, oh, I'm anxious/ Maybe loving you is dangerous"). But for Boone, he simply doesn't know how to write any other way: "Nobody is going to relate to your lyrics if they're not real."

Just before releasing Fireworks & Rollerblades — and just after kicking off his sold-out tour of the same name — Boone spoke to GRAMMY.com about his success, debut album and the fine art of capturing authentic emotions in his work.

It's rare in today's zeitgeist to have a relatively new artist achieve the success you've seen recently. But now that you have the following, it becomes about following it up. So after the astronomical success of "Beautiful Things," does that make releasing your debut album stressful or stress free?

I definitely understand feeling the pressure for this album. But "Beautiful Things" was its own moment, and we worked very hard to get it to where that went — and I know that doesn't always happen, and I'm not expecting that. But I'm just doing my best to get the album to as many people as I can regardless of whether it doesn't stream at all or it does great.

I'm truly so proud of these songs, and I've made something I love and that I'm passionate about. So I'm just excited to get my first album out.

How do you usually write a song? Do you have one surefire way?

I think the last couple of months I've kind of tapped into how I'll probably write for most of the rest of my life. It's just me and the piano, usually late at night when I can't sleep. I'll sit there and start playing chords and singing random melodies. That's how it starts, and I'll take it down to the studio to beat it up and hopefully get a song [out of it].

Tony Bennett once said, "if you steal from one person, you're just a thief. But if you steal from everyone, that's research." When you were first getting started, who were your musical inspirations?

Growing up I listened to a lot of Billy Joel, Sam Smith, Adele, Stevie Wonder, and Queen; these are artists who use their voice as the main instrument for their songs. I think I took a lot of aspects from that into my own music and that's kind of how I operate. So when I write, I let my voice lead where the song goes. I think that's what I naturally picked up listening to those artists.

Many of your songs have deep emotion at their core. For example, on Fireworks and Rollerblades, you have a song called "Cry" and the lyrics go, "Cry cry cry/ Go ahead and ruin someone else's life." These are heavy sentiments. Does a weight come off your chest when you write these lyrics?

I think every song is very different; some of them are sad and some aren't. But I do like to pull inspiration from whatever I'm feeling at the time. So whatever I'm going through, that's when I want to write a song; when I'm feeling those emotions the strongest.

No matter what situation I'm in, I always feel better writing something in the middle of whatever emotion I'm feeling. So it does help me. It's therapeutic.

Have you ever written a lyric and then wound up deleting or rewriting it because you thought it was too personal or too revealing?

Honestly, no. I never want something to come out about someone else that they wouldn't want out, so I would never name drop somebody or say something personal about someone else. But for me, I'm not scared to be personal; being vulnerable is the most important thing in songwriting.

When you're finally performing a song you've written however long after, what's it like to hear people sing these emotional lyrics back to you? Do they still have that power for you, or have you worked through them in the interim and they lose that grip?

I think depending on the song, they never lose their grip. A song like "In the Stars," I'll always remember why I wrote that and I'll always think of that. But when I'm performing live, I'm not trying to get everyone to think of my experience because I understand that everybody has their own experience they can relate to. It's not always my grandma, it's not always my girlfriend, it's not always my parents or experiences. It's the audience's experiences, friends, significant others. So when I perform, I don't always think of something I've written a song about but rather giving them something that they can take and grip onto instead.

Speaking of, can you take me back to the late night awhile back when you wrote "Beautiful Things"? How was that particular one born?

Well, I had just moved to LA, and all I had in my house were a mattress and a piano. There were two nights I could not sleep hardly at all and I went downstairs that first night and wrote its verse and medley. But I couldn't really figure out a chorus, so I went back to bed.

The next night I came up with a completely new song and idea, and wrote a chorus but couldn't think of any verses. The next day I happened to have a session with two people I love very much, Jack LaFrantz and Evan Blair, and I showed them the verses idea and we sat there and couldn't figure out where we wanted to take the chorus. So separately I showed them my other chorus idea, and Jack said, "Why don't we make it the same song and make this the chorus?" And that's kind of how the structure of "Beautiful Things" came, but we worked on it for a long time.

Once it came together, we were like "This song is insane and it has so much potential." I've never had a song written like that, ever."

Where did the name of the album, Fireworks and Rollerblades, come from? Do you have a typical way of thinking of titles?

Each one is different, but that title came from a lyric from one of the songs called "Hello Love." It goes: "I can try to blame you but my mind ain't safe/ Like two fireworks tied to a rollerblade." It always stuck out to me and in the session I wrote that, I said, "Dude, if this is part of an album, we should name it Fireworks and Rollerblades, imagine how sick that would be." Everybody was super hyped on the idea, and it actually happened. I loved the lyric and that sentiment.

It's also similar to my life: I feel like things have taken off for me like a firework tied to a rollerblade, all very quickly. And rollerblading is something I love, so it all made sense. I'm so happy with that title.

Let's talk about the single "Slow It Down," an ironic title considering it went viral immediately out of the gate.

I think a lot of people I talked to were like, "Oh the pressure's on for this song!" after "Beautiful Things." But I love "Slow It Down," and writing it was so natural. Some people were listening to me write it and it came together so organically.

It's another very personal song for me. I'm trying my hardest to do my best, and that's all I can do. I can't force people to like or listen to that song. I'm just hoping that it resonates.

How do you know when you're finished with something? Can you easily step away?

I try not to think of deadlines. I'm very particular about how a song sounds, especially its production and how the vocals are treated. Every sound matters to me. Some songs come together a lot faster. But if it's not a simple production, sometimes they take a while and I have to rethink parts and then go sit with the producer and have them do this and this. Some of them take weeks, some of them take months, some of them take days. Each song is so incredibly different.

For Fireworks and Rollerblades, some tracks took a lot longer than I thought, especially "Beautiful Things" actually. It's always a rollercoaster trying to finish a song and the last 10 percent is the hardest part. But it paid off, and I'm so glad.

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BMC's Recording Academy Honors 2024 Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey accepts the Global Impact Award during the Recording Academy Honors presented by the Black Music Collective

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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Here's What Happened At The Black Music Collective’s Recording Academy Honors 2024 GRAMMY Event Celebrating Mariah Carey & Lenny Kravitz

The power of staying true to yourself was at the center of the 2024 GRAMMY Week event. Honorees Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz were lauded by colleagues and performers, including Stevie Wonder, Quavo, Babyface and Andra Day.

GRAMMYs/Feb 3, 2024 - 08:34 pm

On a wet but buzzing Thursday evening ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, leading lights in the music industry gathered for the third annual Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective. Along the event's black carpet, stars and industry insiders were showing out — taking photos, reconnecting with friends and collaborators, and chatting with the press. 

The official 2024 GRAMMY Week event was held Feb. 1 — the first day of Black History Month — at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles and was sponsored by Amazon Music and City National Bank. Each year, BMC presents its Global Impact Award to legendary musicians advancing the culture, and 2024’s honorees Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey, loomed over the entire evening before they'd even arrived.

Flava Flav, sporting his patented clock necklace, was also hyped about the evening. "It means everything to be at the GRAMMYs tonight. This is big," Flav told GRAMMY.com. The rapper then spoke about the two transcendent stars being honored. "I feel real big about the honorees. Mariah Carey, always been proud of her and I love her songs…Lenny Kravitz is my dude. That’s my man. So congratulations Lenny!" 

The significance of the event was felt from the first foot set on the black carpet. Afrobeats star Fireboy DML weighed in on the importance of the night. "I’m honored. It feels good. It’s always important to be in spaces like this," Fireboy told GRAMMY.com, adding that he's excited about his upcoming fourth album. "It’s important for the culture." 

As attendees inside the jam-packed ballroom room eagerly awaited the main guests of the night, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. spoke about the momentum being built through Black Music Collective. 

"[Last year] I spoke how great it was to be holding the second annual BMC event. To me it meant we established a new tradition. And now the tradition proudly continues," Mason Jr. told the audience, emphasizing how the influence of Black culture can be found in all corners of the world and across musical genres. 

A performance by Nigerian superstar Davido, a first-time GRAMMY nominee, spoke to the power of musical diversity in the Academy and BMC. Although the crowd had sat down with their appetizers, many stood up to vibe out as Davido performed his nominated song, "Unavailable."

By the time Andra Day, adorned in a bright red leather coat, got to the end of her rendition of "Strange Fruit" with support from trumpeter Keyon Harrold, everyone in the ballroom was on their feet. It was a great moment for Day, whose cover of Billie Holiday’s 1939 cry for justice hammered home the connection between Black artists across different genres and across time.

Gabby Samone garnered the second standing ovation of the night for her take on Nina Simone’s "Four Women." Simone has had a number of major cosigns as her star has grown brighter, and her fans include Jennifer Hudson and none other than Mariah Carey. Samone's performance was followed by a powerful song from Erica Campbell, whose I Love You is nominated for Best Gospel Album this year.

A set from DJ Mannie Fresh, Kravitz took the stage to receive the first BMC Global Impact Award of the night. Introduced by mentee H.E.R, she talked about "American Woman’s" genre-bending influence on her own career and Kravitz's own influence from childhood. "The fashion, the confidence, the badass walk, and the killer vocals made me at six years old say to my dad ‘I wanna play guitar.’ ‘I wanna be a rockstar.’ ‘I wanna be like Lenny Kravitz,’" H.E.R. said. 

She then listed off some of Kravitz’s other accomplishments including working on "Rustin," the new Netflix film about critical civil rights architect Bayard Rustin, as well as Kravitz’s work in philanthropy through his Let Love Rule Foundation. 

Once the din died down, Kravitz took a trip back to childhood, too. He shared how, when he went to go see the Jackson 5 with his family, and was so hooked that he dreamed of becoming part of the storied troupe. "I fantasized that I was their long lost brother and turned the Jackson 5 into the Jackson 6," he said.

Kravitz also spoke the various genres of music that helped mold him, drawn from many different corners. From his "grandfather’s block in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn," where he "witnessed the birth of hip-hop," to being shaped by legends like Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone. He also shouted out his godmother, the late great actress Cicely Tyson. 

In a particularly cool mashup of genre and generation, Quavo provided vocals to "Fly Away," flanked by P-funk all star George Clinton, Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. At the end of the performance, Kravitz went over to each performer and hugged them.

After a brief intermission, record producer and BMC Chair Rico Love shouted out leadership, including the Recording Academy board of trustees and Ryan Butler, Vice President of DEI. Love spoke about Black Music Collective as a space where everyone can feel at home. "The life of a creator is so hard. And lonely. That’s why it’s valuable to build community," he emphasized. 

Black Music Collective’s scholarship program, in collaboration with Amazon Music, Love said, will once again support HBCU students who aspire to be in the next generation of music industry power players. In 2023, scholarships were awarded to students at Florida A&M University, Texas Southern University, Norfolk State University, among others. Love recalls the mentors he had when he was coming up and is glad BMC is also paying it forward. 

Last night’s program found one of the few people on the planet that even Mariah Carey might be star struck by. Before the pop legend received her Global Impact Award, Stevie Wonder appeared and sat down over a keyboard. 

"Very excited to be here to celebrate someone that has been a friend and I’ve been a fan of since the very beginning of hearing her voice," he said, before serenading Carey with "I Just Called to Say I Love You," ending the rendition with "I love you, I love you, you are my hero."

Mariah Carey was seemingly surprised and star-struck herself. Once she overcame the awe, Carey detailed the pressure she faced early in her career to avoid leaning into Black music. "When I first started in the music business, I was often told to ‘conform’ to certain expectations. I was not encouraged to focus on my love for Black music," she told the crowd.

Later, some of Carey’s other friends and collaborators performed, including Babyface, who once sang backing vocals on Carey’s "Melt Away." (Carey then returned the favor by singing on "Every Time I Close My Eyes.") Another Carey collaborator, Busta Rhymes, performed crowd favorite "I Know What You Want" and offered sincere thanks to Carey for her boldness and desire to "run with the wolves." Tori Kelly also sang "Vision of Love" during this segment and earlier in the night, gospel legend Yolanda Adams performed "Make It Happen." The third annual Recording Academy Honors/BMC event certainly did make it happen, as attendees flooded out of the ballroom and into the streets pumped with pride.

2024 GRAMMYs: See The Full Nominees And Winners List

Head to live.GRAMMY.com all year long to watch all the GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet livestream special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, and even more exclusive, never-before-seen content from the 2024 GRAMMYs.