This article is from the Mariah Carey FAQ, by Kade Hansson firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
At just two-and-a-half years of age, Mariah first demonstrated her vocal
talent by singing part of the Italian opera Rigoletto while her mother was
practising. After Mariah Carey's parents were divorced in 1973, Mariah's mother
began to give her voice lessons, and in 1976 Mariah made her public debut.
During her teenage years, from about age 14, she sang on demo tapes at
various recording studios around Long Island, New York. Mariah began writing
songs with her friend Ben Margulies at about age 16, and in 1986 cut her
first demo with her brother.
After graduating from high school in 1987, and leaving home to persue her
ambitions, Mariah spent some time as a waitress and hat check girl.
Eventually she got the chance to audition as a concert background vocalist
for Brenda K Starr, and that turned out to be the break she needed. While
attending a recording industry party with Starr in 1988, she was introduced
to CBS Music president Tommy Mottola, and the demo cassette she handed him
was her ticket to a recording contract with the label (see M7).