American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey talks about her Irish heritage and how she became a star.

Mariah Carey grew up in Long Island, New York. Her father is half African American and half Venezuelan while her mother Patricia is Irish. Mariah had to learn to understand herself as an interracial person and when she was a child she used her music to channel her emotions.

Patricia, a singer and a vocal coach knew from an early age that her daughter was a talented singer and was always supportive of her dream of becoming a successful recording artist.

Mariah was singing from the age of four and writing music and meeting musicians from the age of 13. Some of the songs on her first album ‘Mariah Carey’ were written while she was still at school. When she was recording this album, many of her classmates were starting college, unsure of what they wanted to do in life.

I feel like I've been singing my whole life, like there’s never been a time that I didn't know that I wanted to sing.

When Mariah was 17 years old when she made her first demo tape and at 18 was on the verge of a deal with Warner Brothers as a solo artist. Some musicians who used Mariah’s vocal talents on their recordings recommended her to the singer Brenda K Starr and Mariah became one of her backing singers. 

Brenda was very supportive of Mariah’s burgeoning singing career and brought her to a record executives' gala, where the head of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola took her demo tape. He was so impressed with what he heard he tracked down Mairah through Brenda's managers and signed her immediately.

Mariah subsequently married Tommy but realises she married too young. She admits to being a control freak about her music but would prefer if she did not have to be.

The episode of ‘Kenny Live’ was broadcast on 13 March 1999. The presenter is Pat Kenny.