There's no denying that The Weeknd's Max Martin–assisted "Can't Feel My Face" is influenced by the stylings of the late Michael Jackson. Billboard said it. Rolling Stone said it. Complex said it. MTV said it. And now Mariah Carey is saying that song could've gone to MJ himself.
Mimi's (really wonderful) cover story with Complex arrived on Tuesday, and along with her regal photoshoot, Carey divulges on some of the drama that went down at Sony before she left the record label in 2000, including how they tamped down her and Jackson's creativity.
“If Michael Jackson were alive, he could sing ‘Can’t Feel My Face.’ He could sing any of those songs. And sometimes it reminds me, ‘Oh, I wish that Michael would’ve had a song like this’—I loved when he did [the 2001 song] ‘Butterflies’ and songs like that. They would always hate on that at Sony because they wanted him to do these big pop records.”
Carey also referenced how she had to demand her label to let her work with rappers, which proved fruitful only after she teamed up with Ol' Dityy Bastard for the "Fantasy" remix in 1995. “They were like, ‘Oh, she’s interested in this little rap music,’” she said. “I was like, ‘No, I’ve grown up on this. You think it’s something new. You’re kidding me!’”
Of course, Carey had more than a business relationship with Sony. She was married to the company's then-chairman Tommy Mottola, and they divorced in 1998, turning things awfully complicated and making her work harder than ever to unleash all the creativity bubbling up inside her. And even in this Complex cover story, she's still pushing to get credit for what she's done with her nearly 30-year career, which will include this fall's reality show, Mariah's World.
“People don’t really get what that means unless you do it. They think, ‘OK, so she probably writes the lyrics.’ No, I write the lyrics, the melody, and the music with [producers]. I’m not a piano player—I can play a little bit—but I really like to help mold whoever’s playing.”
Watch Mariah Carey talk about acting in this throwback Fuse video: