Mariah Carey is tapping into her own tumultuous history for her ”Through the Rain” video. No, not her breakdown last year, though she told MTV News that listeners will probably hear the ballad’s motivational lyrics as a response to that. Rather, the video, which she shot earlier this week in New York City, tells the story of her parents’ then-controversial interracial courtship. And playing her mother is another music-minded performer, ”Sopranos” actress/singer Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
”It’s sort of Romeo and Juliet but it’s set in the ’60s and they’re kind of torn apart,” Carey said of the video’s storyline. ”It’s about their struggle and I’m sort of the narrator. I don’t want to give too much away about it, but it’s nice. Something I could relate to, being the product of an interracial union, though [my parents] did not wind up happily ever after standing in church together.”
Sigler said she was surprised to be cast in the Dave Meyers-directed clip. ”We just got a call a few days ago and they said, ‘You know Mariah would like you to play her mom in her video,”’ said Sigler, who starts a Broadway run this week as the star of ”Beauty and the Beast.” ”I was like, ‘What? Okay!’ Not a phone call you expect to get. It’s a bit surreal as I grew up being a big fan of Mariah, and to be playing her mother… it’s a very exciting week for me. It’s fun for me — I get to be in ’60s garb and have old-school hair. I look a little like my mother — a little too much.” Of her character, she said, ”She’s basically going against her parent’s wishes to be with this gentleman. She’s pregnant with a baby, which is Mariah, and they run away together. So it’s kind of an epic love story, it’s nice.”
Carey’s father died this summer, capping an emotional year for the singer. There was her breakdown last summer, the twin flops of her movie ”Glitter” and its soundtrack, and getting dropped by Virgin Records after releasing just one record for the label — although she did score a $28 million severance package. Carey told MTV she knew people would read her own dramas into the rise-above-your-troubles lyrics of ”Through the Rain.” ”People are going to read into it as, ‘This is Mariah and her struggle,”’ she said. ”The stuff they talked about in tabloids and the things that were so overly exaggerated, that’s one aspect. I also went through a lot of personal stuff, a lot of family stuff this year. Losing a parent is an intense thing for anybody. It’s brought me to another place.”
She insisted, however, that she’s fine now, and that her breakdown was nothing more than exhaustion from overwork. ”I did actually have time to take a break, which is really what I needed.” she said. ”[I needed] downtime, just to sleep. And actually the writing process and working on this album has been something to immerse myself in, because I realized how that has always been my saving grace.”
The yet-untitled new album, on Carey’s new MonarC imprint with the Island/Def Jam label, is due in stores on Dec. 10. Her movie with Mira Sorvino, ”Wisegirls,” enjoyed good buzz at Sundance earlier this year but failed to find a distributor and is going straight to cable. It debuts on Cinemax Oct. 19.