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by Aneta Tadeusiak
When I hear people saying Mariah's voice, the best selling voice of America, isn't the same anymore, I wonder why that may be. Sure, the soul/R&B singer has changed her lifestyle a bit, especially now, having the hot Latino lover Luis Miguel as her boyfriend. She is said to be spending more time at the bar drinking something stronger than soda, which can have an effect on the voice, but... isn't everybody else drinking now and then and not changing that much?
So maybe there is another thing that could possibly cause the loss of some of Mariah Carey's vocal ability. Because even die-hard fans admit she's lost some of it. The albums recorded after her break-up with husband Tommy Motolla, especially the latest, "Rainbow", just don't reflect the same Mariah we knew and loved in the early 90s, and her concerts seem to be about anything but real singing.
Wondering about this change a while ago, I remembered a comment a Polish singer, Edyta Górniak, once made. Edyta, whose roaring vocals can be compared to those of Mariah, shared a very intimate detail regarding taking care of her voice... When I heard it, I found it hard to take seriously, but then the idea clicked. "Gotcha Mariah!" were the words that appeared in my head. It was very simple, brilliant and it fitted perfectly to so many similar situations. Mariah Carey's too. Edyta's advice for good vocal condition was: Before a concert or an important recording, don't have sex. For at least seven days.
Contrary to what my readers might think at this point, she didn't mean straining her voice directly, if you know what I mean. Edyta, whose love life resembles a hurricane of break-ups, claims sex prevents her diaphragm muscles from working properly during singing (did I mention she really goes for it when she sings?), so basically she can't have any of that during tours or hectic recording times.
Let's go back to Carey the Diva though. Take a closer look at Mariah The Virgin, back in 1990. The things she used to do with her voice on the amazing "Vision Of Love" album go beyond the imagination of an average listener. Her voice seemed like a million bells that were able to reach every part of the planet. She could hit the notes so clearly and with great power, which she simply doesn't have nowadays.
Then she married the much older Sony executive, Tommy Motolla who had discovered her as a singer. She still sounded very good, her earth-shaking voice breaking the records of popularity and selling million copies of "Emotions", "Music Box" and "Daydream". Rumours said that the marriage wasn't especially passionate. Which, if it's true, fits in our theory just like another piece of the puzzle.
After the divorce in 1997 Mariah revamped her image big time, transforming from the nice girl-next-door to a sex-soaking honey (or rather, sex symbol soaking "honey... when it washes over me") that attracted the eye more than the ear. Her 1997 album, "Butterfly", had the bittersweet taste of long awaited liberation that had been under pressure for a long, long time and now had finally been released, as Carey reiterated that the provocative image was "the real Mariah" rather than "the new Mariah". The singer found a new love in US baseball player Derek Jeter at that time, who as she reportedly said was the second man in her life.
Some critics described the sound of the new Mariah (or the real Mariah if you prefer) as something that could be a result of weeks of drinking and smoking. Her concerts were often a disappointment for many, as the singer simply avoided hitting the long, strong notes, substituting them with airy, whisper-like bits, much easier to sing. So, is it alcohol, aging or maybe just too much relaxation of diaphragm muscles caused by the new love life?
To come as close to the truth as possible, I decided to conduct a little investigation and ask an expert on the subject, namely a member of our editors team that happens to study medicine, Stephen Moore. I asked him, could sex really affect diaphragm muscles to the point that it made singing a real effort? Having admitted it was the best "you're a medical person, so you might know" question he'd ever heard, Stephen told me it was very probable indeed and it did make sense.
But taking another example - UK's very own Easther, if you look closer you'll see that the facts speak for themselves in her case as well. Young Easther Bennett, The God-fearing Essence Of Purity, who wasn't even allowed to listen to anything but gospel at home, not to mention actually having sex, made Eternal the biggest R&B girl group in Britain with her ever so strong and emotive vocals. And apparently her husband Shane Lynch, whom she married in 1998, has taken all of the energy out of her, as Eternal's post-marriage album, devoid of most of that big voice, flopped and Eternal were even dropped by their record company.
Nothing so dreadful could happen to Mariah of course, as the lady is far and away more powerful and well-respected as a songwriter and artist worldwide. The fans still appreciate her catchy melodies and neat lyrics, in spite of the slight change of vocal style. The driving force that once was her voice, has now been divided between other departments such as image and artistic potential, as Carey The Actress has spread her wings in Hollywood as well.
So, is this a dramatic 'sex-or-good-voice' choice we're witnessing in the music scene today, Mariah Carey being the perfect example? Or just a number of coincidental facts put together in this article? Only you can decide. On a final note from me, I can remind you of one, once (in)famous, Spice Girls characteristic: According to the Spice Girls' lifestyle "policy", one of the things they need every single day is an orgasm.