Her magnum holiday opus, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” finally hit No. 1 in 2019, 25 years after its initial release, and the Christmas classic keeps climbing the charts and setting records annually.
“Having No. 1 in 2019 with ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ was a moment where I just sat there by myself at 3 in the morning looking at the Christmas tree lights and just really taking it in on a human level, because you work your whole life for something,” she gushed to Billboard in 2020. “It’s so exciting because it’s at Christmas, which is my favorite, but it’s also like, what a validating thing to have happen [to] my first Christmas song that I ever wrote. How did I know that that was going to become a thing every year? I couldn’t have known it. And I’ve grown to love it more, because I used to always listen through it and pick it apart at Christmas against all the other Christmas songs, like, ‘Why didn’t I change this part? I wish I could’ve done that over.’ Because I did it so early on, so young. But still, it makes me happy every year.”
Of course, that’s all besides her epic career as a pop, R&B, soul, and hip-hop star; she’s one of the highest-selling artists of all time, thanks to music that’s always somehow simultaneously of its moment and completely timeless.
The festive chanteuse is back on her holiday grind in 2021 with a new Christmas special, and her Christmas joy pays in more than just cheer. Find out Mariah Carey’s net worth and how much Mariah Carey makes from “All I Want for Christmas Is You” every year!
How did Mariah Carey become famous?
Carey began her music career as a background singer for Brenda K. Starr (whose hit “I Still Believe” Carey later covered for her No. 1s compilation album). In December 1988, Carey accompanied Starr to an industry event, where she gave her demo tape to Tommy Mottola, then-head of Columbia Records. Mottola was instantly obsessed and spent two weeks searching for Carey to sign her, eventually winning her over despite other labels getting into a bidding war over her. (They also later married and then divorced.)
Carey’s 1990 self-titled debut album was bolstered by hits “Vision of Love,” “Love Takes Time,” “Someday” and “I Don’t Wanna Cry.” She won the Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammys (the latter for “Vision of Love”).
What is Mariah Carey’s net worth?
Carey’s net worth is estimated to be within a pretty large range: She may be worth anywhere from $300 million to $550 million, depending on which source you cite.
How much did Mariah Carey make from “All I Want for Christmas Is You?”
The success of Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is all the more impressive when you realize it was written in just 15 minutes. (That’s according to legend, although it’s a legend Carey herself has said isn’t really true.) According to The Economist, Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” made Carey $60 million between 1994 and 2016, averaging $2.6 million per year. This doesn’t even include how much she makes from her holiday-themed merchandise, concerts, specials, book and animated film tied to the festive favorite.
According to Billboard, by the tracking week of Nov. 12 to Nov. 18, 2021, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was already at No. 36 on the Hot 100, with 11.2 million streams, 8.2 million radio plays, and 2,700 sales… so expect this sum to keep on rising.
Why is Mariah Carey so rich?
Carey has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide since her self-titled 1990 debut.
Carey’s royalties are estimated to be approximately 20 percent, a high rate for any star, plus multi-million dollar advances for albums. A big reason for that is her songwriting credits: Carey is often overlooked for her songwriting ability, but she has a hand in penning every single one of her hits—and her lyrics have been praised for their sophisticated vocabulary to boot—so please, put proper respect on her name! (Signed, a true Lamb.) Her contract with Universal Records netted her $7.5 million per album, and when her contract with EMI/Virgin Records imploded, she took $28 million with her.
But Carey doesn’t stop there: Her branding has made her millions as well.
According to Billboard, Carey first began endorsing products in 2006, beginning with Intel Centrino computers and an accessory line for Claire’s and The Icing called Glamorized. She’s launched her own perfume line with Elizabeth Arden and endorsed the ultra-pricey (we’re talking $290,000 per bottle) Angel Champagne.
Carey has also endorsed Pepsi, Motorola, Gillette Venus, Jenny Craig, McDonald’s, Milk Bar, and HSN, and launched her own Mariah Carey’s Cookies line from Robert Earl, as well as her own brand of Irish cream liqueur, Black Irish, inspired by her Black, Venezuelan, and Irish ancestry.
Carey has also been a judge on American Idol, the subject of her own reality show Mariah’s World, and appeared in movies including The Bachelor, WiseGirls, Glitter, The Lego Batman Movie, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, The Butler, Precious, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, and more, as well as her own holiday specials and a Hallmark Christmas movie, The Keys of Christmas.
How much did Mariah Carey make on American Idol?
Carey reportedly pocketed a cool $18 million to judge American Idol Season 12 in 2013, but she didn’t enjoy the experience at all, thanks largely to her beef with fellow judge Nicki Minaj.
“That was the worst experience of my life,” Carey confessed on Kyle & Jackie O in 2015. “I’m not going to get into what it was, but let’s just say I don’t think they had any intentions for us to have a good experience doing that show. Pitting two females against each other wasn’t cool… It should have been about the contestants instead of about some nonexistent feud that turned into even more ridiculousness. I would never want to be involved with it again. But everybody else did like it.”
How much did Mariah Carey get from Tommy Mottola?
The details of Carey’s 1998 divorce settlement from Mottola aren’t publicly known, but here’s what we do know: She was absolutely miserable in their marriage and accused him of essentially holding her hostage and controlling not just her career, but her entire existence while they were together. In her memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, the singer recalled not even being allowed to go to the bathroom in her own home without a guard outside the door, and that Mottola and his crew flipped out just when she had the audacity to go to Burger King with pal Da Brat without clearing it with them first.
She elaborated to Cosmopolitan in 2019, “There was no freedom for me as a human being. You might want to picture a child bride. There was a conscious effort to keep me as this all-American—whatever that means—girl. There was no freedom for me as a human being. It was almost like being a prisoner.”
Mottola was accused of sabotagingGlitterand the soundtrack’s lead single “Loverboy,” giving Carey rival Jennifer Lopeza Yellow Magic Orchestra “Firecracker” sample and a Ja Rule feature for her own debut album, On the 6, after finding out Carey planned on using both (the former for “Loverboy” and the latter on “If We”).
J.Lo and Ja released their hit “I’m Real (Remix)” before Carey could drop “Loverboy,” effectively forcing her to rework the lead single from the album.
You can listen to Carey’s original version of “Loverboy” with the “Firecracker” sample below—it sounds like a completely different song, and it remains to be seen if it would have had a bigger chart impact if there hadn’t been so much interference ahead of its 2001 release.
The freedom Carey found upon her split from Mottola is priceless.
For his part, Mottola said in his memoir Hitmaker: The Man And His Music that it was “absolutely wrong and inappropriate” to get involved with Carey, adding that he was “truly sorry for any discomfort or pain that all of my good intentions inevitably caused her, and most of all for the scars it left on my two oldest children.”
Related: Mariah Carey’s Dropping a New Holiday Single! Find Out All About ‘Fall in Love at Christmas’
How much did Mariah Carey make from Free Guy?
Carey’s payday for using “Fantasy” in Free Guy isn’t known, but Ryan Reynolds chose the track very deliberately. He told Variety that he writes to music and considered using The Outfield’s “Your Love,” but then “Fantasy” came on and it “everything clicked in.”
“I got to speak with Mariah and talked to her a little bit about how much of an engine and an agent of progress that this song had been in terms of our creative process and the scripts,” he said. “She’s just been awesome about it.”
How much money did Mariah Carey make for Sony?
Carey and Mottola separated in 1997, and she broke from Sony Music at the same time. According to The Wall Street Journal, Carey raked in an estimated $250 million for the record label before her exit.
Related: Shopping for the Holidays? Mariah Carey’s Holiday Amazon List Should Help
How much did Mariah Carey get paid for Precious?
Considering Mo’Nique, one of the film’s leads, only made $50,000 for Precious (and won an Oscar for it), Carey likely made pocket change for her role as social worker Ms. Weiss—a role that was originally intended for Oscar winner Helen Mirren. She recalled in The Meaning of Mariah Carey that Lee Daniels gave her just one day’s notice for the role, which saw her wearing no makeup at all.
“I was over the moon, but a little freaked out too. I had a little more than one day to prepare,” she wrote. “The entire process of filming was renegade and brilliant. Lee believed in me, and I believed in him. I believed in the remarkable cast, and of course, I believed in the brilliance that was on the page.”
She continued, “I loved working on the film. My management at the time discouraged me from doing it, because it was last minute and low budget, but I knew it was a rare and exquisitely human story. It was also a creative stretch, which was artistically enriching for me. I was so proud to be involved.”
How much did Mariah Carey make for her Christmas special?
Carey has had three Christmas specials so far.
In December 2015, she starred in Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas, a Christmas special for the Hallmark Channel that premiered alongside her Hallmark Christmas movie A Christmas Melody with Lacey Chabertand Kathy Najimy.
Carey’s most recent holiday specials were both for Apple TV+. In 2020, she debuted Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, which featured celebrity guests including Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, and Tiffany Haddish, among others.
In December 2021, her second Apple TV+ special, Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues, with guests Khalid and Kirk Franklin, will drop on the platform.
How much did Mariah Carey get paid for You Don’t Mess With the Zohan?
Carey played herself in a cameo in 2008’s You Don’t Mess With the Zohan alongside Adam Sandler. In the film, she sings the national anthem at a hacky-sack tournament.
“Mariah Carey, you know her, you love her, she’s a beautiful woman,” Sandler said in a behind-the-scenes snippet. “Beautiful voice!”
It’s not known how much she made for the film, but the movie made more than $200 million worldwide.
How much did Mariah Carey get paid for Walker’s?
Reports suggest that Carey took home a whopping $11 million for her 2019 Walkers crisps ad campaign. Her beautiful mug was emblazoned on bags, and she appeared in a commercial for the brand as well. The TV ad finds Carey filming a holiday video set to “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” then giving bizarre gifts to the crew. She then argues with a crew member in an elf costume over the last bag, ultimately winning when she employs her signature whistle note… though she does at least try to share!