Mariah Carey was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City on June 16, and she made sure to poke fun at all the people who refuse to believe she writes her own songs.
“I constantly have to remind people I’m a songwriter,” Mimi said up on stage wearing a glittering gown and long black cocktail gloves. “It’s become a joke to the point where… Because they’re all onto the diva thing, it’s like ‘Oh my gosh, she’s a diva, wow, a diva.’”
She then slid on her iconic midnight-black shades over her eyes and deadpanned, “Whatever,” much to the delight of the crowd.
"You're maybe somewhat familiar with the meme of me going over and over, 'As a songwriter, as a songwriter, as a songwriter, as a songwriter,'" she joked. "So hopefully tonight we can create another meme as a songwriter."
Her tongue may have firmly been in cheek during those jokes, but this honour comes on the heels of a lawsuit that alleges Mariah’s hit 1994 Christmas jingle, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is a ripoff. In May, she was served with a $20 million lawsuit where it is alleged that her tune constitutes “copyright infringement and unjust enrichment” due to its similarity to an eponymous tune released in 1989 co-written by Andy Stone, a musician who performs under the name Vince Vance and the Valiants.
Mimi made sure to subtly roll her eyes at that lawsuit during her speech without naming it, by referencing all the “fakakta lawsuits” that her business people have to deal with.
The “We Belong Together” singer played up that diva moniker a few times, especially off the top of her speech where she satirized her need to always stand in perfect lighting. “First of all, thank you so much. Second of all, let me turn down this lighting because I'm not sure…"
"Hold on, I'm serious," she quipped. "My lighting guy, it's a long story, but he couldn't get on the plane, so I was like, 'What am I going to do?'"
This is the 51st annual edition o f the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the “Honey” songstress got the news she was to be inducted way back in 2020, but the event has been postponed for two long years due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
She also used her speech to highlight how the same sexism and misogyny that prevents society at large from believing that she actually writes her own songs is also behind the lack of women inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
"Out of the 439 total inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, only 32 have been women up until this moment. Now it's 33," she told the crowd. "As my father once told me, 'You did good, kid.'"
If you need a refresher, Mariah has actually penned 18 of her 19 Billboard Hot 100 No.1 songs, which is a huge accomplishment, but as she notes, when she was younger, no one showed her much support.
She detailed, “I just want to say, my whole journey [...] started with poetry, in my childhood. And then — well, actually, I believe melodies came first. And then I started writing these poems, and people were like, ‘This girl has kind of a dark vision of the world at six years old.’ And I did, because I came from this incredibly dysfunctional background. And it was this whole thing, music, and walking by myself and coming up with melodies and writing words in a book.”
She then went on to explain how friends and family thought she’d be “working at HoJo’s” instead of writing music when she refrained from attending college to pursue her dreams.
Other honourees included Annie Lennox & Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, The Isley Brothers, Steve Miller, Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo of The Neptunes, Rick Nowels and William “Mickey” Stevenson. Lil Nas X was honored with the Hal David Starlight Award, while Paul Williams received the Johnny Mercer Award.
The Roots drummer Questlove introduced Mariah at the event, sharing a funny anecdote of the first time he met her in the 90s, where he was so intimidated by how good she smelled, he had to duck out of the room.
Mimi also shared a funny anecdote about having to introduce Jermaine Dupri back in 2018 at the same awards, and feeling a tad salty that he got there before her.
"I remember I inducted Jermaine Dupri like, I don't know, before Covid-19, like three years ago," she shared. "And I was like 'Jermaine, you know what, I'm really pissed at you that you were getting inducted before me,' like that's a whole other story. Hopefully someone will post that clip. JD, I'm not mad at you."