Talented and beautiful singer Mariah Carey (1970-) was born on this day in Long Island, New York City. Emerging from a turbulent childhood, she struggled with the multi-racial upbringing of her black Venezuelan father and Irish mother.
"A lot of my life I've been in search of a way to come to terms with my ethnic background," she explained. "I was sort of a displaced person growing up."
In the years since the debut of Vision of Love (1990), this spitfire with the five-octave voice has sold millions of albums worldwide, breaking records set by Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
"Don't be afraid to sing out loud," she advised Fame Academy students. "Sing along with the melody." With passionate commitment, Carey has proved that she can belt out a ballad like no one else. Even more, she has staying power and the ability to cross musical generations with her pop, hip-hop, and R&B styles.
She is a master at melisma-- the vocal technique of taking one syllable of a lyric and stretching it over several notes. "I am going through my life like a bulldozer," she said.
Over the years, her talent checkmated all personal drama and media scrutiny and criticism. She has won Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard magazine's "Artist of the Decade" Award and the World Music Award for "World's Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium."
Recognized with the Congressional Horizon Award in 2008 for her humanitarian work, Carey's Camp Mariah helps inner-city youth "embrace the arts and learn about career opportunities."
Of this fame, she said, "I'm really fortunate. I'm really happy, and I'm really really lucky to be where I am."
Be strong. Hold on to your inner core.