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Mariah Carey says pushback over ‘Butterfly’ was caused by “a confusion over what box to put me in

Legacy Recordings

Mariah Carey opened up about the flack she received from the music industry when she came out with Butterfly, her sixth studio album. 

Speaking to Rolling Stone, the Grammy vented her frustration about being belittled and doubted by "the corporate morgue, the entities that run things."

Mariah began working on Butterfly amid her divorce from Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola and knew she wanted her music to embrace her heritage. That meant exploring hip-hop and R&B, but her label wanted her to continue her career in "purely pop records." 

"Hip hop existed long before these guys, who were in control of the record business, knew of it or knew about it. They thought it was a trend or a passing fad," she quipped. "They thought they knew better."

The singer believes the pushback arose from "a confusion over what box to put me in" because she was mixed race. She also felt her label feared her music would become "too urban."

"It wasn't anyone's favorite thing that I wanted to do hip hop-ish records," she continued. "...People did not believe in it, or believe in me in that genre and that moment."

Butterfly went on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide and was nominated for three Grammy Awards. The making of this album will be explored in the upcoming documentary series about her life, directed by Lee Daniels.

Mariah celebrated Butterfly's 25th anniversary on Friday, writing on Instagram, "I will never forget the day I released this album to the world. I had never felt more exposed and vulnerable yet free and euphoric at the same time."

She called the album "one of the proudest moments of my life."  

Mariah unleashed a bunch of Butterfly-related anniversary goodies, which are available on her official online store.

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