After a glittering career stuffed with No. 1 hits—not to mention a two-year pandemic delay—Mariah Carey was finally inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday, but not before challenging her new fellow members to do better by women. "I read that out of the 439 total inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, only 32 have been women, until now," she said Thursday at the end of a four-hour celebration at the Marriott Marquis in New York. The line got a huge applause. Carey was the headliner, following the inductions of the weirdly cool producers the Neptunes (made up of songwriting duo Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo), the British electro-pop band Eurythmics (Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart), psychedelic bluesman Steve Miller, and the iconic Isley Brothers, per the AP.
Songwriters are eligible for induction after writing hit songs for at least 20 years, and the hall includes such iconic songwriters as Burt Bacharach, Missy Elliott, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and Carly Simon. New annual slates are voted on by the membership. Questlove introduced Carey and regretted that all too often her songwriting chops were often overlooked. With 19 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, she's only behind the Beatles, and Questlove reminded the crowd that she did it as a Black woman. "Success at this level, especially for Black artists, is a real obstacle course," he said.
Carey said a dysfunctional background prompted a dark vision of the world as a 6-year-old, so music, melodies, and lyrics were her escape. She said she always has to remind people she's a songwriter first, but the diva label seems to stick more. She left the crowd revved up for a performance, but other artists came onstage to sing a medley of her songs, including "Fantasy," "Hero," "Make It Happen," and "We Belong Together." Lil Nas X, meanwhile, was honored with the Hal David Starlight Award, which recognizes "gifted young songwriters who are making a significant impact in the music industry via their original songs."
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