Mariah Carey scratches Celine Dion in her autobiography. She criticizes her “lack of etiquette” at the 1998 Divas Live show and accuses it of blasphemy.
In The Meaning of Mariah Carey , a book to be published Friday on which The Journal has got hold of, the American singer recounts the behind the scenes of a televised concert well known to Celine Dion fans: Divas Live.
Broadcast on VHI in April 1998, the show brought together, in addition to Mariah Carey and Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Gloria Estefan and Aretha Franklin. Songwriter Carole King also joined in the celebrations, having signed one of Aretha Franklin's greatest hits, (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman .
At that time, Celine Dion was one of the biggest stars in the world and was at the top of the charts thanks to the success of My Heart Will Go On , from the movie Titanic , released a few months earlier.
Lack of respect
In her book, Mariah Carey criticizes Celine Dion – without ever naming her directly – for having disrespected Aretha Franklin during the event, more precisely during the two group numbers during which the “divas” united their voices for resume (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman and Testimony .
“Each of us knew our part, but we all knew it was Aretha's song. In fact, almost all of them, writes Mariah Carey. Listen, if Aretha decides to improvise during a game, that's her right as queen, but it's not – I repeat, it's not – to challenge you. One of the divas did not understand the etiquette and began to provoke the queen slightly during the song. It was okay. But I would never have done something like that. ”
Things got out of hand a few minutes later, Judge Mariah Carey. During Testimony , a gospel piece, Celine Dion began to respond to Aretha Franklin's vocal surges by showing that she, too, was capable of pushing the note with force and precision.
But for Mariah Carey, this is “blasphemy”.
“In my humble opinion, the diva in question had already gone too far and was now trying to bury Aretha,” she says. It really happened. I couldn't believe someone dared to try to steal the spotlight from Aretha during her homage … All while singing about Jesus. Maybe it was because of the cultural divide between the two, but it felt like a moment of sheer madness, and I didn't want to be a part of it. “
For her part, Celine Dion seems to have fond memories of the concert. When Aretha Franklin died in August 2018, the Quebec star posted a photo of the famous issue on Instagram. “I had the privilege of singing with Aretha … Certainly one of the great moments of my career”, she wrote under the cliché.
In a televised interview with the A&E network in the early 2000s, Carole King referred to this evening by recalling that Aretha had continued to sing during Celine Dion's portion.
“I loved Celine's attitude. She has a dog. She did not let it go and stood up in front of Aretha. I admire the way she handled the situation. With a lot of class. ”
Technically very impressive, this “vocal battle” continues to delight Internet users – 22 years later – since a few extracts are still circulating on YouTube.
Mariah Carey's autobiography, The Meaning of Mariah Carey , is due out Friday by Henry Holt Publishing.