Mariah Carey passed superstar status a long time ago. She now occupies that rarefied space reserved for icons like Sade, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.
The singer lands on the cover of Billboard and tells the publication her 14th album will have several surprises. The cover, title, tracklisting and digital outlets that will carry the album will be announced soon. Physical copies of the project will be made available to retailers the following week.
"I have to be the one that announces this, especially the title," Carey says, noting that the album takes its name from a "personal possession of mine that's part of an entity that I've had almost all my life."
Mariah revealed more details during her chat with Billboard.
SHE'S ASSEMBLED A DREAM-TEAM OF COLLABORATORS. Frequent collaborators Rodney Jerkins and Dupri are back for Album No. 14, but so is a surprisingly diverse roster that ranges from of-the-moment producers like Hit-Boy and Mike Will Made It, guest features from Wale, Nas and Trey Songz and even contributions from veteran arranger Larry Gold and the Love Unlimited Orchestra. There's also "a special guest star that I'm not allowed to reveal," Carey teases.
SHE'S AWARE OF THE FAILED SINGLES. Carey will cop to a few of the pre-release singles not doing as well as past hits, pausing to note that 2013's Stargate-produced "Almost Home" was intended for the "Oz, Great and Powerful" soundtrack. "You would think I would be all about the singles-driven situation, and I am in a way, but with this particular album I want my fans to hear it as a body of work," she says. "This is my life since we last left off. Just picture a dot dot dot, and then here's the album."
THE NEW ALBUM WON'T BE HER LAST. Despite recent comments to Bravo's Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live" ("If this were to be my last album, people would hear everything they needed to hear"), Carey is not calling it quits anytime soon. "I will always make music. When I said it could be my last, that's because tomorrow's not promised to anyone."
EXPECT BIG BALLADS AND UPTEMPO BANGERS. After immersing herself in her own catalog ("a friend of mine made me a playlist with 1,000 of my songs on it called 'The Ultimate MC Audio Collection,'" she says), Carey explored her feel-good, hip-hop/R&B side as well as her more introspective moments that could give her fans the best of all worlds.
SHE MAY SOON RETURN TO TELEVISION. Her rocky stint with Nicki Minaj on "American Idol" last year notwithstanding, Carey says she'd like her next reality-competition venture to be something where she was executive producer. "I have another project that I'm so very excited about that's finally coming to fruition."