Carey is known as one of the top "pop divas" of the 1990s, having sold more than 80 million albums worldwide. Her voice spans more than five octaves and she writes most of her own music.
Carey's parents divorced when she was 3 years old. She stunned her mother by imitating her operatic singing as early as age two and was given singing lessons starting at age four. After graduating in 1987 from Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, New York, Carey moved to Manhattan where she worked as a waitress, coat check girl, and studied cosmetology while writing songs and actively pursuing a music career at night.
Carey has sold around 160 million albums worldwide. She is the third best-selling female artist of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. With 2008’s Touch My Body (from her eleventh studio album E=MC²), Carey passed Elvis Presley to become second only to the Beatles for the most No. 1 hit singles in the United States.
Outside of her music career, Carey is active in fundraising for The Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit agency that provides free summer vacations to disadvantaged children in New York City.