Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1969 or 1970) is an American singer and songwriter. Referred to as the "Songbird Supreme" by the Guinness World Records, she is noted for her five-octave vocal range, power, melismatic style, and signature use of the whistle register. She rose to fame in 1990 after signing to Columbia Records and releasing her eponymous debut album, which topped the US Billboard 200 for 11 consecutive weeks. Soon after, Carey became the first and only artist to have their first five singles reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, from "Vision of Love" to "Emotions".Following her marriage to Sony Music head Tommy Mottola, Carey became the label's highest-selling act with the follow-up albums Music Box (1993), Merry Christmas (1994), and Daydream (1995). These albums spawned some of Carey's most successful singles, including "Hero", "Without You", "All I Want for Christmas Is You", and "One Sweet Day"; the latter became the longest-running U.S. number-one single in history, with a total of 16 weeks. After separating from Mottola, Carey adopted a new image and incorporated more elements of hip hop into her music with the release of Butterfly (1997). Billboard named her the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States, while the World Music Awards honored her as the world's best-selling recording artist of the 1990s.
After 11 consecutive years charting a Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, Carey parted with Columbia in 2000 and signed a record-breaking $100 million recording contract with Virgin Records. However, following her highly publicized physical and emotional breakdown, as well as the failure of her film Glitter (2001) and its accompanying soundtrack, her contract was bought out for $50 million by Virgin and she signed with Island Records the next year. After a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to the top of music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). It became the world's second best-selling album of 2005 and produced "We Belong Together", which made her the only artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 Decade-End chart twice. With the release of "Touch My Body" (2008), Carey gained her 18th number-one single in the United States, more than any other solo artist.
Throughout her career, Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the third-best-selling female artist in the United States, with 63.5 million certified albums. In 2012, she was ranked second on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music. Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Carey has won 5 Grammy Awards, 19 World Music Awards, 10 American Music Awards, and 14 Billboard Music Awards, and has been consistently credited with inspiring generations of singers.