Mariah’s influence on today’s artists

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Many would argue that Mariah Carey has the most distinctive and recognizable voice in the history of recorded music. One hum or high note — and you could tell it’s her on the radio. The timbre and texture of her voice is simply one-of-a-kind. Who else in pop music gives us such crazy vocal acrobatics?

Mariah has inspired singers and songwriters around the world. Some have professed their undying love, citing Mimi as the reason they wanted to sing. Others may not be as vocal about Mariah’s influence, but could never deny the diva’s influence even if they tried.

There’s a fine line between being inspired by one’s work and downright copying. Artists who give props to Mariah for paving the way for them, earn respect from the lambs (Mariah’s term of endearment to her fans). Those who blatantly copy for lack of creativity get this line from one of Mariah’s songs: “Often imitated, never duplicated.”

Mariah, who returns to Manila for The Elusive Chanteuse Show on Oct. 28 at the MOA Arena, has racked up an impressive list of artists she has influenced — both here and abroad.

We asked members of her official fan group in the country, Mariah Carey Philippines, who they think is that one artist that Mariah has influenced the most. Here’s what we’ve got:

Ariana Grande. ? Let’s start with the most obvious among those who have taken the ?“Mariah Road Map to Success” route. When Ariana came out, critics quickly pointed out the ?similarities, citing both artists’ ability to hit the high note.

Ariana seemed to be inviting the ?comparison, with ensuing similar song names and photo shoot concepts. They both played the ?sweet-?girl-with-the-big-voice, which proved effective for Mariah when she first came to the ?scene in 1990.

Ariana has ?acknowledged her love of Mariah, but has been trying to distance herself from the comparison ?with her sophomore album.

Kyla. ? While Kyla has a singing style of her own, you can tell she has been greatly influenced by Miss ?Carey. From the airy way she sings to the vocal runs she makes, this one’s a lamb. Aside from? singing the popular Mariah songs frequently on TV and in her shows, she would also deliver the?Mariah album cuts that only a true-blue fan would know.

Beyoncé. ?Beyoncé has repeatedly said that Mariah was the reason she wanted to be a singer when she was ?just a teenager belting out Vision of Love in her room. Both singers put melisma (the act of? stretching one syllable to many while singing) to great effects. Not only could both artists belt?out with a power chest voice, Mariah and Beyoncé could also traverse the low notes and sound? gorgeous. It helps, too, that they are friends in real life.

Regine Velasquez. ?No list with this topic would be complete without including Asia’s Songbird. Not only is Regine? fond of covering Mariah songs, the singer is also a fan of Mariah’s fashion.

When Mariah was? popularizing her signature jeans from her Heartbreaker video, Regine came up with her own? version. Just like Mariah, she would incorporate the likeness of a butterfly in her stage design or?music videos.

Wouldn’t it be fun to see Regine in the audience during Mariah’s concert?

Kelly Clarkson. ?Kelly turned into a cute fan girl when she performed in American Idol while Mariah was on the ?judging panel. Kelly was visibly happy to have gotten a much-deserved standing ovation from ?the ultimate diva herself.

It’s nice to know the love is mutual. Mariah follows only a handful of ?people on Twitter — and Kelly is one of them. While Kelly is more in the pop-rock arena, she ?would often cover Mariah songs during her shows.

Her singing style has been sprinkled with ?Mariah-isms that come as a surprise to no one at all, given her immense fandom for Mimi.

Nina. ? From the moment she came to the scene, the Soul Siren has been giving off Mariah vibes.? From the classy way, she structures her songs to the whistle register she lets loose on a regular basis. Nina is a certified lamb. Like Kyla, Nina has her own singing style. But her singing ?technique and vocal runs are too similar to what Mariah does to not take notice.

Christina Aguilera. ?Christina is perhaps the best vocalist who had come out in the last 15 years. She coos, belts and ?hits whistle registers with ease, like Mariah herself. When she came out in the late ’90s, she was ?quickly billed as the next Mariah.

Like? Ariana, Christina was more in the Mariah mold during the early days of her career, yet her ?singing technique is still very much Mariah-esque ’til this very day.

Jonalyn Viray. Videos of Jonalyn singing Mariah songs are aplenty on YouTube. Like Nina, Jonalyn could also ?hit the whistle register (though some would argue that it’s just really thin falsetto). She had ?repeatedly said she’s a huge Mariah fan — and it shows. Worth checking out are her renditions of ?Lead the Way and O, Holy Night.

Rihanna. ?Okay, so Rihanna may not be an obvious choice for this list, but she is clearly a Mariah fan. In? an interview, she once described Mariah’s voice as an “instrument” because it’s so out-of-this-?world. There is a clip on YouTube of Rihanna singing Hero when she was just a teenager. She ?may not be the most vocally gifted singer in town, but Rihanna is definitely part of the lambily ?(lamb family).

Morissette Amon. ? Morissette’s singing technique is her own, yet comparisons were yet again made because of her? ability to hit the high note. She did say in an interview that it was Mariah who inspired her to put ?into full use her gift of whistling. Her version of Emotions would make Mimi proud.

Bonus: Kelly Rowland has given props many times to Mariah, even singing Fantasy as a tribute to the diva. Jessica Simpson has seriously imitated Mariah — from song structures to video concepts to album artworks. Tamar Braxton also has vocal moments where we are reminded of Mariah’s voice during her prime. Leona Lewis is another obvious fan, with riffs and runs too similar to Mariah’s to ignore. Rachelle Ann Go won a singing contest with Through the Rain and has since delivered impressive Mariah covers.

(Mariah: The Elusive Chanteuse Show Live in Manila is presented by Wilbros Live. Tickets are available via smtickets.com. For details, call 374-2222 or 470-2222 or follow @wilbroslive and @mcareyph [Mariah Carey Philippines] on Twitter and Instagram.)

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