Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' By The Numbers: How Much Does She Make?

By | December 15, 2020

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Mariah Carey performs "All I Want For Christmas is You" during "The Late Late Show with James Corden." (Getty Images)

Love it or hate it, the 1994 smash holiday hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey is here to stay. In December 2020, it once again reached the number-one position on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and garnered over 800 million streams on Spotify. For some, it's a treasured part of the Christmas season, while others loathe its ubiquity, but there is no denying it's a catchy and timeless tune that will probably outlive us all. So what's the story behind one of the most popular songs of the modern age?

What Christmas Means To Mariah Carey

It all begins with Mariah Carey, who was born in Huntington, New York in either 1969 or 1970 (somehow, she's managed to keep the exact year a secret despite being one of the most famous women in the music industry). Her parents were an interracial couple, and the racism of the time proved difficult for the Carey family to overcome. Her mother had been disowned by her family for the marriage, and the neighbors in Huntington didn't prove very supportive, either, going so far as to set the family car on fire and even poisoning their dog on one outrageous occasion. The marriage didn't survive, and Carey has been open throughout her career about her struggles navigating the world as a biracial person.  

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Mariah Carey exiting the Shepherd's Bush Theatre after promoting her single "Vision of Love" on The Wogin Show in 1990. (Redhoopoe/Wikimedia Commons)

And yet, the young Miss Carey soldiered on. She began pursuing her music career in high school and got her first job in the industry as a background singer for Brenda K. Starr, granting her access to a party thrown by CBS executives where she got her demo tape into the hands of Tommy Mottola of Columbia Records. He fell in love with her voice (and her as well), quickly signed her, and she soon became famous for her soulful sound and the five-octave vocal range that makes her voice one of the most technically impressive ever recorded.

Although it's not a perfect science, she's estimated to have either the second- or third-greatest range in the world, after Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses and possibly Mike Patton of Faith No More. However, what truly sets her apart is her ability to hit the exceptionally high G7 note, which sounds like a bird's whistle. By the time her 1994 holiday album, Merry Christmas, hit the airwaves, Carey already had three wildly successful albums under her belt: Mariah Carey, Emotions, and Music Box.