It’s five days until Christmas! And our generous Christmas Butterfly just keeps giving! This, after all, is the season of Mimi. Mariah Carey IS Christmas, a fact.
As we know, Mimi’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time last week after 25 years. No one in recent history has been able to do this – on so many levels. For a song to be around this long and then get to #1 all these years later but also no one in all these years has been able to write and release an original Christmas song that has become a legitimate classic. A recognised classic. Wherever you go in the world, people know “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Like every single word, from the opening notes. Mimi will live on and on and on and on and on through this song. And in this sense she is in her own company too. Because nobody associates “Jingle Bells” or “White Christmas” or any of the other Christmas classics with its songwriter. “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin. Please don’t come at me right now and insist that people know this the way they know that “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is Mariah Carey. Yes, the Bing Crosby version is the most famous version of the song. But are most people thinking about Bing Crosby when they hear “White Christmas” at this time of year the way they can’t separate Mimi from “All I Want For Christmas Is You”?
Part of the reason for that is that while “White Christmas”, as an example, has been covered by many other famous artists (Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bette Midler to name a few), “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is very rarely performed by anyone other than Mimi. The second best-known version of the song for most people is from Love Actually. And Mimi tells Billboard in a new cover story “How Mariah Carey Stole Christmas”, about her Christmas domination, that she does give credit to the film for some of the success of the song:
“The curious thing about that is that [the movie] happened before the song was as big as it is. So the Love, Actually moment, I’m actually very grateful for it because I think it did help the song reach an even greater audience. But I also think the song has taken on a life of its own that I had never anticipated.”
The song HAS taken on a life of its own. But Mimi isn’t just the creator of it, she’s the guardian. And you will note – she does NOT licence it out a lot. Which is another reason why her brand, her identity, is inseparable from the song. I love that Billboard asked her about how often the requests come in. Because you can imagine how many people want to cover it. Her response:
“A lot. Some are from people whom I respect enormously. I [usually] want to say yes, but I may be working that year on something for myself with the song, be it a film project or cartoon. I should be flattered, and I am. But sometimes I just want to keep my version. It’s precious to me because it genuinely feels like it’s a part of my childhood that I never got to experience.”
I mean of course she’s territorial about “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Wouldn’t you be? And she’s smart to be. Look what it’s done for her. She built a Christmas empire and she keeps expanding on it. Here’s the thing about a Christmas empire: it’s TIMELESS. Christmas isn’t a trend; it’s an annual event, it happens every year, it will never go out of style. And the best part of this for Mimi, why it works so well for Mimi, is because even though it’s become her business, literally, it also comes from the heart. She genuinely LOVES Christmas. She is a Christmas expert. She knows the movies, she knows the accoutrements, as she would say, she has her own sad Christmas stories dating back to her childhood growing up with complicated family dynamics, and so for her to have taken over Christmas, nobody doubts the authenticity. This is a case study for the perfect brand. Christmas is work for Mimi. But she’s made it so that it doesn’t feel like work. We talk all the time of celebrity strategy and when they show their work. When it comes to Christmas, no one works better and shows their work more than Mariah Carey.
So here she is, with a brand new video for “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, just released last night.
This video has EVERYTHING:
-Mimi in a bodysuit under the best lighting possible
-“Young Mimi” played by an adorable little girl with the most beseechingly sweet eyes
-Mimi in an evening gown that could not be any tighter
-lots of sequins
Mimi is doing choreo – what the f-ck is happening? Sure, it’s not the most complicated choreo. But she’s gesturing in unison with other dancers. She does it several times. Which means she had to learn the moves and probably practise them. THIS IS COMMITMENT GIVE HER AN AWARD. She is out here hustling in the spirit of holiday happiness for us, all of us. We are blessed, everyone. We are so blessed.