10 performances of Mariah Carey that showcase her extraordinary vocal talent

There's no denying the fact that Mariah Carey is one of the best vocalists of her generation. The 5-time Grammy award winner, who scorched the music scene with her 1990 released self-titled debut album, went on to become one of the most formidable divas of the 90's selling millions of records worldwide and delivering hit after hit.

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Mariah is mostly known for her massive 5 Octave vocal range that cover notes ranging from the second octave G's and going as high as the B's of the 7th Octave. The unique use of the whistle register, though previously shown by singers like Minnie Riperton, was popularized in contemporary music by Carey with songs like 'Emotions' and 'All In Your Mind' quickly becoming a trademark to her vocal style.

Mariah is also known for her usage of melismatic inflections and phrases - a vocal style originally popularized in contemporary music by Whitney Houston in the 1980's and turned into a default trait in popoular American singing by Carey. Mariah could hit multiple notes in a single syllable with her astonishing range - from the whispery lows to the ringing highs.

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The influence of her extraordinary vocal talent looms over several singers of the current generation like Leona Lewis, Jordin Sparks, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Ariana Grande and Jessica Sancheez to name a few, not counting the several wanna-be's who have appeared on talent shows like The X Factor or American Idol.

Although, Mariah delivered several outstanding performances showcasing her phenomenal vocals during her illustrious career, there are some that clearly stand above the rest. So we handpicked, what can be called, her top ten performances - which explore all dimensions of her voice and prove why she was a force to be reckoned with back in the day.

Here are 10 performances by Mariah Carey highlighting all layers of her vocal gift:


Forever - Madison Square Garden

Forever was featured on Mariah Carey's fifth studio album, 'Daydream' and is an essential on any list by Mimi fans. Her smooth and effortless vocals in this performance from her televised concert in Madison Square Garden from 1995, had to be mentioned in our top 10.



If It's Over - Grammy 1991

Mariah's second year at the Grammys and she shatters the walls with her effortless delivery of this song from her second studio album, 'Emotions' - co-penned by the great Carole King. High point - when Mariah reaches for the bridge and hits a series of high F's, before quickly throwing a powerful whistle note.



Hero - Japan

From Mariah's third studio album, Music Box, released in 1993 - Hero was originally intended for singer Gloria Estefan. Interestingly Carey did not connect to original sound and style of the song and passed on it initially, after having written it herself. But when persuaded later on, she included in the album with a twist of RnB and Pop that she related with more. This performance from Japan is definitely one of her best deliveries of the song.



Emotions - Arsenio Hall 1991

The lead track from her second studio album, 'Emotions' was released in the year 1991 and gives the most memorable and extensive showcase of her iconic whistle register. Her performance from Arsenio Hall the same year was as flawless as her studio recording.



Vision Of Love - GMA 1990

A stripped-down version of Mariah's very first single, from her eponymous debut album, 'Vision Of Love' was called the "Magna Carta of melisma" by the New Yorker, as Carey showed almost all dimensions of her voice in one vocal performance.





You and I - 2002 BET

Mariah made an appearance at the 2002 BET Honors to salute music icon Stevie Wonder and she did it by performing one of Wonder's most celebrated songs, 'You and I' - Carey's control and tone of the low register displayed in this performance, serve a riviting change from the songstress, known mostly for her showy upper register.



Without You - Madison Square Garden

Originally performed and recorded by British Rock Group Badfinger, Carey's version was more inspired from another cover of the song by singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. Carey dwells into the depth of her lower register before reaching for the soaring heights as she belts out the finale - she replicated the studio magic effotlessly during her performance at the Madison Square Garden in the year 1995



Joy To The World

Featured on her best-selling Christmas album, "Merry Christmas" released in the year 1994 - Mariah's rendition of this classic Holiday Hymn was one of the highlights of her critically acclaimed album. High point of this performance - when she breaks it down towards the end and lets loose that remarkable voice.



We Belong Together - Oprah - 2005

After a series of critical and commercial failures 2001 onwards, Mariah shut her critics down by delivering one of her most memorable ballads of all time. We Belong Together - peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for a total of 14 non-consecutive weeks. Even though its funny to see Oprah trying really hard to show that she knows all the words of the song (which she clearly does not), the performance served as a testament to Carey's powerhouse belting abilities with a new hip and fresh sound.



Love Takes Time - 1990

The second single from Mariah's debut album, after 'Vision Of Love' opened with massive criticall acclaim. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the issue dating November 10, 1990. The raw details of her voice in this rare performance help solidify her spot as one of the premiere RnB songstresses of the 90's.



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