April 2, 2001 -- After a five-year marriage with label boss Tommy Mottola, and a 10-year union with his Sony Music label, pop diva Mariah Carey is getting a fresh start, and a big new paycheck, with Virgin Records.
According to the New York Daily News, the multialbum deal tops Janet Jackson's Virgin pact as the biggest recording contract ever.
The singer was seeking $25 million per album — and had sought to even top that by taking sealed bids by the major labels. But the deal with Virgin, according to the paper, was secured through a traditional, in-person negotiation.
Carey's first project for Virgin, which is a division of EMI Group, will be the soundtrack for All That Glitters, a musical, semiautobiographical movie starring Carey as an aspiring singer in the '80s. The soundtrack was originally set for release on Sony, until Carey negotiated out of her remaining contract two weeks ago.
Carey worked odd jobs — as a waitress, coat checker, and beauty salon janitor — in New York, as she pursued her singing career, until a gig as backing vocalist for R&B singer Brenda Starr gave her the opportunity to give Mottola a demo tape.
The Sony head sought her out, and her self-titled debut was released in 1990, quickly becoming a hit. A string of albums in the '90s made her the top-selling female singer of the decade.
The Cinderella story began to crumble, however, with her 1998 divorce from Mottola. Butterfly, the album she released that year, had numerous references to a troubled marriage and a desire for freedom.