On this day in 1997, Mariah Carey released the ‘Butterfly’ album.
The ‘Butterfly’ era began in August 1997 when the lead single ‘Honey’ was released. It represented a fresh chapter for Mariah, as it was her first single to be released following the separation of her marriage to Tommy Mottola.
Mariah has expressed that with this album she felt more liberated as an artist, as she had more creative control to make decisions about both her music and image. As well as being a favourite amongst fans, Mariah herself considers ‘Butterfly’ her personal favourite of her own albums.
The 2020 memoir ‘The Meaning of Mariah Carey’ chronicles various elements of the creative process and Mariah’s personal circumstances surrounding the time the ‘Butterfly’ album was being made, with fascinating insight. Just a few of the revelations about the album include confirming the lyrics to the ‘The Roof’ were entirely autobiographical and how the idea to use the Mobb Deep sample came about, when the lyrics and melody came to her for ‘Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise)’, the secret shout-out to Derek Jeter in ‘Honey’, and so much more.
“…the songs written for Butterfly were no longer about far-off, fictional lovers – these songs, though certainly poetically embellished, were full of specific details and sensual realness”.– The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey with Michaela Angela Davis | Chapter: ‘Just Like Honey’
Following the album’s release, the butterfly symbol has become synonymous with Mariah’s name, being commonly used on subsequent projects.
‘Honey’ and ‘My All’ were the only worldwide single releases from the album, and they both became Billboard Hot 100 #1 hits. The album also spawned three further promotional singles; ‘Butterfly’, ‘The Roof’ and ‘Breakdown’ featuring Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
The album saw global success, charting within the Top 10 around the world and topping the charts in Australia, Canada, Japan and the US. It has sold over ten million copies worldwide and has been certified multi-Platinum in Australia, Canada and the US.
‘Butterfly’ has been widely regarded as one of the most essential R&B albums of all time and celebrated for over twenty years for its timeless sound, innovative production and masterful lyrics. The stunning music videos which accompany the singles are also some of the most memorable of her career.
In 1998, Mariah embarked on the ‘Butterfly World Tour’ in support of the album, which at that point in her career was the biggest tour she’d ever done. Footage of the shows across Asia, Australia and Hawaii was later featured as part of the home video release titled ‘Around The World’.
In 2020, Mariah reissued the five ‘Butterfly’ era singles digitally with re-recorded remixes and more; ‘Honey‘, ‘Butterfly‘, ‘My All‘, ‘Breakdown‘ and ‘The Roof‘. The music videos were remastered in HD, and the album was reissued on black and gold vinyl.
Watch the music videos: