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My affair with scared and lonely Mariah Carey: Why she walks everywhere on tiptoes. And the truth about that 'no eye contact' rule.... revealed by her ex-lover
Mariah Carey drop her highly anticipated new music video “Infinity,” featured on her album #1.
Mariah Carey released the song last month to much controversy with some subliminal shots taken at her ex-husband Nick Cannon.
The video was directed by Brett Ratner and shot at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas where the pop star is performing. The clip shows Mariah looking for love on match.com dating app.
Jeff Beacher, Jussie Smollett, and Tyson Beckford made a cameo in the video as her suitors but she shut the door in their faces except for the Empire star who won her over with an adorable puppy.
Watch the official music video for Mariah Carey song “Infinity” below.
The ultimate diva: Mariah Carey performing during the 2013 final of American Idol Season 12, in Los Angeles. The singer's outrageous talent is matched only by tales of her excessive behaviour and extraordinary demands
Tottering around the park in skyscraper heels surrounded by an entourage of minions and hangers-on, it was business as usual when Mariah Carey descended on Disneyland last week. A burly bodyguard clutched her Louis Vuitton handbag. One woman’s job was solely to hold an umbrella over the star’s head to shield her from the sun.
And why not, you might think?
After all, Carey, 45, has made her name as the ultimate diva, one of the most successful female singers of all time, the voice behind mega-hits like Hero and All I Want For Christmas Is You. Her outrageous talent is matched only by tales of her excessive behaviour and extraordinary demands – such as one 2am arrival at a London hotel when ‘Queen Mimi’ refused to enter the property until management rolled out a red carpet lined with flickering white candles.
Yet not all is well with the woman who has sold more than 200 million records and is behind only Elvis and the Beatles for US No 1s. A much-heralded return to live performing in Las Vegas resulted in her cancelling the third show after bronchitis ravaged her fragile vocal cords and she was savaged by critics who said she can no longer hit the high notes which made her a global icon.
She has been mired in a divorce from TV presenter Nick Cannon, father of her three-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan.
And today a former ‘courtier’ breaks the silence that surrounds one of the most tightly controlled celebrity ‘bubbles’ in the universe, telling The Mail on Sunday that Mariah Carey’s world of lonely wealth and fawning advisers is pushing her to the edge of burnout.
Damion Young is one of the rare few who got to know the ‘real’ Mariah, first as her producer, then as her best friend and finally, as he reveals today, not just as her confidante but her lover.
He says: ‘I fear for her. I was one of the few people she truly trusted to tell her the truth. I’m worried she has no one like that now.
‘I was her producer, her lover, her best friend. She would not make a decision without talking to me first. I was very much in love with Mariah, I still am.’
Damion, 40, worked with Mariah on hits like I Still Believe, Cry Baby and Irresistible, himself becoming immersed in what he calls the ‘madness’ of her private world.
‘Mariah lives inside a bubble. I lived inside her world for a while but I had to get out for my own sanity. The thing I remember most about being with her was the quiet and the loneliness. She didn’t have many friends. For a long time I was her best friend.
‘Things became intimate but the friendship was always the most important thing.
‘I think Mariah is going through a hard time now because she has surrounded herself with people who only tell her what she wants to hear. I think she needs help.
Mariah Carey with Damizza (second left) and Al Gore (centre). Mariah initially approached Damizza in 1997, wanting him to help her with her fading career
‘She hasn’t had a hit record for ages. I think the Vegas schedule is too much for her. She needs vocal rest. She should go back to making records, doing what she does best.’
Damion met the diva in 1997 when he was the musical director of America’s most successful hip-hop radio station. He had branched out into writing and producing records under the stage name Damizza.
Mariah Carey (centre) with record executive Damizza aka. Damion Young (left) and American musician Randy Jackson (right)
He was heralded as a genius for discovering white rap star Eminem and had worked with Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and Jay-Z.
At the time, Mariah was in the middle of an acrimonious divorce from Tommy Mottola, who was the all-powerful head of Sony Records and the Svengali who took her from a poverty-stricken childhood to international superstar.
She would later tell how she felt ‘trapped’ during her marriage to Mottola and even referred to the £50 million mansion they shared as ‘Sing Sing’ after New York’s infamous maximum security jail.
Mariah initially approached Damion to help her with her fading career. He recalls: ‘She wanted to become relevant again and that meant working with hip-hop artists, I put her together with Jay-Z.’
He offers a unique glimpse into a world which seems as unintentionally comic as it is mind-bogglingly lavish – a whirlwind of private jets, stretch limos and absurd whims. But it was also an existence of aching loneliness.
He says: ‘You end up alone at the end of the day. It’s a very solitary existence, sad in a lots of ways.
‘Here you are, the greatest selling female artist of all time and you can’t go to the grocery store. You can’t pick up a carton of milk.’
The diva making a big entrance on the Ellen Show this month to promote her new album release. She has sold over 200 million records, and is behind only Elvis Presley and the Beatles for US Number 1s
Damion remained friends with Mariah even as she saw other men during their nine-year friendship.
She had just started dating Latin pop star Luis Miguel when she flew with him to Korea in 1999 to perform on stage with Michael Jackson. Mariah asked Damion along as a chaperone.
Damion says: ‘Mariah called me at 6am and said, “Hey, wake up, we’re going to Korea.” I said, “Why do I have to come?” and she said, “Well, I’m not going by myself.”
‘That’s how life is when you are with her. Everything revolves around her. You are expected to drop everything and go.
‘So we get on the jet and we stopped to refuel in Alaska. ‘I remember sitting on this G5 Gulfstream jet in the middle of an empty airfield thinking, “This is surreal. I’m sitting here with the biggest selling female artist of all time and the biggest selling Latin male artist on my way to see the biggest selling male artist of all time”.’
Damion, Mariah and Luis Miguel stood at the side of the stage in Seoul as Jackson’s show unfurled.
Mariah performs during the launch of her residency 'Mariah #1 To Infinity' at the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace this month in Las Vegas. Her powerful voice is behind such hit singles as 'Hero' and 'All I want for Christmas is you'
Mariah is all diva as she performs onstage during the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, in Las Vegas. Damion reveals that Mariah often had little idea of the rules that her entourage took for granted. For example she was stunned to realise that a clause in her contract stated that noone was to look at her or address her backstage
Damion says: ‘I’m witnessing Michael Jackson fandamonium. He’s up there but what was so bizarre was between songs he’d come to the side of the stage and talk to Mariah without skipping a beat. He did Billie Jean and came off, hardly sweating or catching his breath, and asked Mariah some boring question about who handled her accounting.
‘Then he went into a room, changed into his next outfit, went on stage and did Thriller and then came to Mariah and carried on the conversation exactly where they’d left off a few minutes earlier. He was a master of showmanship. He would just come up to her between songs, chat for three minutes, change and go walk back in front of 100,000 screaming fans.’
During the show, Mariah performed Hero and I Still Believe.
Another time Mariah ‘fancied some sun’. Damion recalls: ‘We got on the Gulfstream and went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Mariah said it wasn’t hot enough.
‘An assistant said it was one degree hotter in Acapulco, so we got back on the G5 and flew there. Next day she wanted to go to Disney World, so we got back in the plane and headed for Florida.’
A clip from Mariah Carey's latest release, Infinity, released in conjunction with her Las Vegas residency, 'Mariah #1 To Infinity'. There is a Roman-style chaise longue in Mariah's marble kitchen, because she likes to recline while she eats
During periods of ‘down time’ Mariah and Damion spent their time mostly at her triplex apartment in New York’s trendy Tribeca area watching her favourite films. ‘She didn’t watch the news. She didn’t watch entertainment shows or read the magazines because she was worried about reading mean things about herself. She’s sensitive.’
In the apartment, pride of place is given to a piano owned by Marilyn Monroe. But it is roped off, never tuned and never played, according to Damion. Mariah has four giant walk-in closets. One is just for her lingerie, another just for shoes.
There is also a Roman-style chaise longue in the marble kitchen because she likes to recline while she eats.
‘Mariah would go to bed at 4am. She would get up in the afternoon, have breakfast and then we’d lounge around watching movies. If she was working or if we went out she’d never see any real people. In her world, security clears the way.
Pampered: Clips from Mariah's latest release, Infinity. But Mariah's sheltered existence means she never 'sees a bell boy' and 'never has any normal interactions' with other people
Mariah performs during the opening of her US tour in Miami, Florida, in 2006. Ex-lover Damion reveals that the pressure cooker of attention that surrounds Mariah was one of the reasons he decided that he was done with it
‘If Mariah was in a hotel, the lobby would be made secure and she’d be walked through to the elevator. Then she goes up in an empty elevator to a floor which has been cleared by security. In her suite, room service is waiting for her.
‘She never even sees a bell person, never has any normal interactions. The only time she sees her fans they are screaming and pushing to get at her. It’s frightening. It’s life in a bubble. She’s in a glass case. She went from being this very poor girl, no family background, into this machine. I was the only person she did trust. The biggest by-product of fame is that it makes people almost bipolar. You see Britney, you see Justin Bieber, they go through these extreme things, extreme highs and extreme lows.
Mariah arriving at 'Live! with Kelly and Michael' at Disneyland on May 19
‘And I know why. It’s because you never have any reality. Your circle blocks you from everything.
‘You look at these stars and think they are so eccentric but that’s what their world is like. They don’t have normal conversations with normal people. No one ever tells them they are wrong. It’s always, “You’re the greatest, that was awesome” – even when it’s not.’
He says Mariah often had little idea about the rules her entourage took for granted, and was ‘stunned’ to learn that – like Jennifer Lopez – one of her contracts included a clause saying people should not look at her or address her backstage.
Damion said: ‘You don’t know that everybody’s been told – don’t look at her and don’t talk to her. So she didn’t even know that. At one point, I just asked her, “Why is this in your contract?” And she’s like, “That’s in my contract? Is that really in there? Why?” ’
When she was in the studio Mariah was ‘incredibly focused’ but her fragile ego, combined with the stress of striving to be number one, led to physical breakdowns.
Damion was by her side in 2001 when she was rushed to hospital suffering from exhaustion and dehydration. He says: ‘When she was getting ready to leave she sent me out to buy her some clothes.
‘I tear a picture of Mariah out of a magazine and go to Macy’s. I walk in and the assistant says, “What are you looking for?” and I say: “Anything to fit a woman exactly like this”.’
The outfit fitted perfectly, but Damion had made one huge mistake. ‘I’d bought a pair of Nike trainers. Mariah said, “I don’t do flats.”
‘She had to practice walking in the trainers. Even at home she would walk around on tippy-toes when she was barefoot. She used to say she’d worn heels for so long her legs didn’t work unless she was wearing them.’
Indeed Mariah once told an interviewer: ‘I can’t wear flat shoes. My feet repel them.’
However, there was a sweet side to Mariah. Damion says: ‘Our relationship was High School. We joked around. Yes we had a romantic relationship over the years. It’s one of those things where you work together for so long and you spend so much time together you have a crush on each other and it becomes what it is.
‘Everyone knew we were spending 24 hours together. People tried to make it salacious. The tabloids tried to make it sound salacious. I didn’t have control over some of the things they wrote. When you’re dealing with that pressure cooker you exist in a world that isn’t you. It was one of the reasons I eventually just decided I was done with it.’
Mariah gives actor James Corden a fantasy road trip by joining him for a special singalong on his way to host The Late Late Show during a drive round Los Angeles in March
Damion admits their relationship ‘fell apart’ as he plunged into the ‘fake’ world of celebrity: ‘I was this kid who had started out on a radio station and I couldn’t cope,’ he admits candidly. ‘I was drinking too much, up to two bottles of vodka a day. I was behaving erratically.
‘I didn’t sleep, I partied too much. I behaved towards Mariah in ways I deeply regret now. I said things when I was drunk I regret.
‘At that point I was the one who was lost, not Mariah.
‘I knew for my own sanity I had to get out. I lost my grip on reality. I became resentful that everything was about Mariah. Even when it was my birthday party our plans revolved around what she wanted to do. I went from being the nicest guy in the room to being a complete jerk.
‘Mariah, like any star of that level, never looked back. She just kept moving and that’s what broke my heart. I’d never had my heart broken before. I was in love with her and I know that she loved me.’
Damion returned to his home town of Santa Barbara and checked into the famed Betty Ford Clinic to ‘dry out’. Today he mentors former gang members and troubled teens, and still produces rap records.
He says: ‘I would love to see her again. I never kissed and told and I never would. I’m a gentleman. But this is my story and no one can stop me telling it.
‘She’s a gorgeous woman in every way. I loved her then and I still love her. I hope she gets her life together. I wish Mariah well. I truly do.’