Mimi, the songwriter

Lainey Posted by Lainey at March 8, 2018 15:24:32 March 8, 2018 15:24:32

Mimi covers the new issue of V Magazine. It’s a great shoot. The shoot wardrobe is basically underwear. Which means she’s feeling herself, feeling herself so good, especially since every shot is taken from her extra skinniest angles. 

This interview is making headlines because Mimi talks about winning Grammys and why that isn’t important to her. What’s interesting about this is that, after the last couple of years in particular, the relevance of the Grammys is under scrutiny. But it turns out, Mimi was way ahead of that curve. I didn’t realise it until she mentioned it: Mimi hasn’t been involved in the Grammys proper in 10 years. She’s attended Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy party but Mimi doesn’t go to the Grammys. And it’s not like they wouldn’t want her there. She’s one of the most accomplished artists of our time. She could present. She could perform. She could collaborate-perform. But she hasn’t been a Grammy presence. And now she’s explaining why: 

“In the music business, if you care about the Grammys and submitting your stuff before a certain time frame, you want a single out in the summer, and then you want to have your record [out] before the Grammys [consideration] deadline, which has changed. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. I mean, I have five Grammys. That’s cute. There’s people that have been doing this half the time that have twice as many [Grammys]. I won two Grammys the first year I started, but after that, [the Grammys] are like, “We don’t go with the people that are selling a lot of records and are popular; we’re gonna go the opposite way.” So I got screwed out of certain years. I wasn’t bitter about it. I was just like, okay, well, I guess I’m not standing here barefoot onstage singing and trying to go a certain way. I’m just me.”
“That’s cute.”


Mimi so f-cking great at pettiness, I wish someone would come up with an award to honour her for this skill. 

As Mimi reminds us though, she doesn’t get enough credit in other areas too. She insists that she’s a songwriter first, and then a singer. And she’s right about not being adequately acknowledged for her songwriting abilities. She wrote the most popular modern Christmas song, the song that you can’t escape between November and January. She holds the record for #1s with 18, the most of any solo artist – and she wrote 17 of those songs. And, as she notes in this interview, with those #1s, she changed what pop music sounds like and who gets to participate: 

“I remember writing “Fantasy,” then watching it evolve, and being able to sneak Ol’ Dirty Bastard onto the song [laughs]. Now, still hearing it and having people walking down the street going, [deep voice] “Me and Mariah,” saying ODB’s raps for me...Now, everybody’s like, “Oh, it’s so innovative, a pop artist working with rappers!” I’m like, are you serious? Do you know how much shit I had to go through just to be able to work with anyone in hip-hop? It wasn’t done because I thought it was cool. Yes, I thought it was cool in the sense of enjoying myself, but it wasn’t like I was trying to be something I wasn’t. Now, every genre is mixed together. Back then, the rap category had just started.”

Mimi is a trailblazer, a big f-cking deal. So if she wants to do interviews in lingerie, what’s the f-cking problem? Mimi brings up her lingerie – and her hair and makeup – a LOT. She thinks that’s why people don’t take her seriously. Here’s what she says when she’s asked what she wants people to know about her songwriting: 

“It’s something that I think a lot of people don’t give women enough credit for, unless they are known visually as someone strumming a guitar, or they’re behind a piano most of the time. I also have that diva thing attached to me; I mean, I’m sitting here doing an interview in lingerie. But I was just like, you’re totally gonna understand that this is what I’m gonna wear! Why should I wear something uncomfortable? This is what I like.”

You can write hit songs in a negligee, OK? Got it. 

This is why some of Mimi’s answers are so amazing. Because the journalist is there asking questions about her work process, and suddenly we’re talking about outfits. What she’s trying to say about her outfits though, her style, is that it’s part of her presentation as a legend, part of her standard, the Mimi standard, but also a standard of music, a measurement of consistently high quality. She is declaring then that she is a constant of excellence. And image is one way of conveying that message. Mimi’s hair will always be a certain way, her clothes, when she wears them, will also be a certain fit. For her, it’ll always be glitter and dazzle and sparkle and sequins and gowns and hair, hair, hair, and lashes, lashes, lashes. When you see all that, you’re supposed to remember that all of that represents an icon of music. 

Why would you ever want her to change? 

To read more of Mimi’s interview with V Magazine and to see all the really skinny photos, please click here.

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