Mariah Carey got home from Monaco and the World Music Awards just in time yesterday. Last night at Chelsea Piers Mariah was toasted by the Fresh Air Fund for 20 years of her Camp Mariah in upstate New York. It was a poignant event as Carey, who arrived in a black Rolls Royce, arrived with “The Butler” director Lee Daniels and record producer Jermaine Dupri and many of the gang from DefJam Records including president Steve Bartels.
Inside the packed dining hall, Carey was toasted by emcee Al Roker, followed by a few graduates of her Camp Mariah. Believe it or not, Mariah started the camp two decades ago and has never let go of it whether in good times or bad. Now a former camper is the leader of the camp, and he spoke beautifully introducing Mariah. Carey sat at the center front table dressed in a powder blue gown designed by Donatella Versace. She blushed as one by these high school kids paid homage to her.
At one point, Roker made a joke purposely confusing Dupri for P Diddy. That got some chuckles. But Dupri is having the last laugh. The album he’s made with Carey has gotten more good reviews than any of her previous ones in two decades.
In a crush of fans and former campers, Mariah and I did have a chance to talk. I told her I was impressed with all the detail in her new album. She told me: “That’s why it took so long. Now you can see.” I told her I particularly liked the track “Thirsty.” She said: “I wrote that so long ago. I don’t know what Nick [husband Nick Cannon] was talking about the other day. That song is not about him.”
Mariah fans can see more of her and the making of her album tomorrow night on NBC at 8pm. Matt Lauer hosts a special taped at Mariah and Nick’s home in Bel-Air, California.
Meantime, sales of “Me. I am Mariah” are just fine, says Bartels, who will launch the first official single, “You Don’t Know What to Do,” featuring rapper Wale, very shortly. I love this track, although fans are divided about which single should come first. There are too many to choose from!
Here it is: