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Mariah Carey says we should finally hear her secret 1995 grunge album

Mariah Carey performs on stage at the Wembley Arena in London in 1996.
Mark Baker
Sony Music Archive via Getty Images
Mariah Carey performs on stage at the Wembley Arena in London in 1996.

As Mariah Carey was recording her smash hit 1995 pop album Daydream, she and her fellow musicians were also secretly putting together a grunge album.

Carey first mentioned the existence of the secret album in her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. A version of the record was quietly released at the time under the band name Chick, titled Someone's Ugly Daughter, with Carey singing backup vocals.

In a new interview with the podcast Rolling Stone Music Now, Carey has shared that recordings of the alt-rock album with her lead vocals have been found. And she hinted that the elusive project will finally be released.

"I think this unearthed version will become, yes, something we should hear," she told Rolling Stone. She suggested, without providing details, that she was even building on the record with an unnamed musician: "I'm working on a version of something where there'll be another artist working on this with me as well."

Carey described the project — recorded after long days in the studio while working on hits such as "Always Be My Baby" — as an outlet for herself during a period when she felt particularly constrained.

"I had no freedom during that time. That was my freedom, making that record," she told the podcast.

Carey told Rolling Stone she was inspired by bands such as Hole and Green Day at the time. She adopted an alter-ego, as she recalled in her book: "I was playing with the style of the breezy-grunge, punk-light white female singers who were popular at the time. You know the ones who seemed to be so carefree with their feelings and their image."

At the time, she recalls that there was some unease about her grunge lyrics. "I honestly wanted to put the record out back then under, you know, the same pseudonym, just put it out and be like, you know whatever, let them discover that it's me," she told Rolling Stone. "But that idea was kind of stomped and squashed."

Carey said she even did the album art — a cockroach and some scrawled lipstick. She remembers driving around, shouting lyrics to songs she wrote that nobody knew.

Ultimately, she said that a friend of hers named Clarissa Dane recorded lead vocals and wrote a grunge song with Carey, and it was released with Carey on backup vocals. That version is no longer widely available.

But it seems like the version that Carey wants us to hear may be coming soon.

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Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.