Throwback: When Whitney Houston pushed Mariah Carey to "fix her notes" in the studio

90's was all about the divas. And the two divas that shone the brightest during this decade were none other than the late Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. So, imagine the atmosphere where the two leading chart-busters of the era, got together to sing a duet.

Wikimedia Commons
In 1998, when Houston and Carey collaborated together to sing the theme song for the animated feature, 'The Prince Of Egypt,' the result was an Oscar winning classic that can chill your spine even today as you listen to it, almost 20 years after it's release.

'When You Believe' is unarguably, one the greatest duets in Pop music history. But was it all that glorious behind the curtains as the two divas sang notes-after-notes opposite each other?

By 1998, Whitney Houston was already deemed a legend, while Carey was at the peak of her super-stardom and rivaled Whitney on the charts.

At the brink of this era, when the recording of the Babyface composed song was being done, Mariah was said to have gotten so insecure after listening to Whitney's part of the song - which the latter had already recorded in a separate setting, that she repeatedly went back to the studio to redo her part of the vocals, up until the point she was satisfied that she was at par with the late Prom Queen of Soul.

This tidbit comes from an article published back in the year 1998 on an issue of SPIN magazine. Here is an excerpt from the story:

"Carey and Houston were no more than professional acquaintances, though Whitney is said to have been privately resentful of Carey's appropriation of her style, while a friend of Carey's described the former Mrs. Tommy Mottola as dismissive of Houston's fading luster. Wisely, the companies involved scheduled the divas to record at separate times. .It was decided that Houston would record first, and she proceeded to knock off her part in one try. Though Carey's initial take was also considered a success, upon hearing Houston's performance, the competitive 28-year-old returned repeatedly to the studio in order to fix notes, experiment with effects, and fill the song's final bars with her signature melismas. At press time, various camps were whispering that Carey's tinkering could delay the multimillion-dollar launch of the entire Prince Of Egypt campaign. To make matters worse, DreamWorks and Arista are said to be bothered by Carey's appearance in the Hype Williams video for Jermaine Dupri's "Sweetheart," a star turn that could have Carey competing against herself in the marketplace. As for Houston, sources say she's busy working on her new record and probably has no idea what trouble she wrought."

Interestingly, after having recorded their respective verses separately, the two got together in the studio to record the final bridge at the same time.

Mariah and Whitney did eventually end up becoming more than just acquaintances, as they collaborated for interviews and performances during the promotion of the duet. The once-popular 'fictional-rivalry' created by the media, was now a candid friendship between two of Pop music's greatest divas.

Listen to their iconic duet below:

No comments