On this day in 1997, Mariah Carey released the lead single from her Butterfly album, ‘Honey’.
A collaboration with Puff Daddy, Q-Tip and Stevie J, ‘Honey’ represented a new chapter in Mariah’s career, as it was the first single following the separation of her marriage to Tommy Mottola. She revealed in her 2020 memoir that the sample of ‘Hey! D.J.’ by The World’s Famous Supreme Team was a secret shout-out to her boyfriend at the time, Derek Jeter. The song marked an edgier sound, a fresh image and a more fun persona in her music videos.
During the promotion of this era, Mariah expressed that she felt more liberated as an artist and had previously felt stifled in her career. She fought with her label to have more creative control of her image and sound.
‘Honey’ became Mariah’s third single to debut atop Billboard’s Hot 100 and became her twelfth #1 single at the time, however she has since collected a total of nineteen chart toppers.
Internationally, ‘Honey’ peaked in the Top 5 in Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Spain, and was a Top 10 hit in Australia, Sweden and Italy.
The ‘Honey’ music video, directed by Paul Hunter, is one of Mariah’s most iconic and memorable, with a James Bond theme where Mariah escapes after being held hostage in a mansion. A remix video was also filmed, featuring Puff Daddy, Mase and The Lox.
‘Honey’ was the first time I felt I had full creative license in making a video. We were making a mini-comedy-action thriller, and it was possible thanks to an insane two-million-dollar budget. The video allowed me to really explore my kitschy humour, with Frank Sivero as the gangster character with the crazy hair. I also included Johnny Brennan from the Jerky Boys.Excerpt from ‘The Meaning of Mariah Carey’; Chapter ‘Just Like Honey’
The hip-hop remixes by Bad Boy and So So Def are just as impactful as the album version, and the re-sung David Morales dance remix was #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.
In ‘The Meaning of Mariah Carey’, it was revealed that there were plans in place for The Notorious B.I.G to appear on the Bad Boy remix, but sadly he passed away prior to their studio date.
The song has been certified 2x Platinum in the US and Platinum in Australia. It also earned Mariah a BMI Pop Award for ‘Best Pop Songwriter’.