Writing With Samples

Mariah Carey

Lesson time 12:03 min

Mariah’s work is the blueprint for today’s pop music. In this lesson, learn how she uses samples as building blocks for original songs. She also shares how Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones, Part II” inspired her writing of “The Roof.”

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Topics include: Writing With “Shook Ones Part II” Song Study: “The Roof (Back in Time)” • Understanding Interpolations • Sample Your Own Voice


- Mariah Carey, you made it cool for rappers to jump on R&B tracks. Those Mariah Carey tracks are really important for just the evolution of hip-hop. I feel like you had a vision. Where did that come from? [MUSIC - MARIAH CAREY, "FANTASY"] (SINGING) Whatcha gonna do when you get outta jail? I'm gonna have some fun. MARIAH CAREY: I was in Rye Playland in New York and had pulled up to the Ferris wheel. And the record was on in the car. You know? The "Genius of Love." [MUSIC - TOM TOM CLUB, "GENIUS OF LOVE"] It reminded me of listening to the radio as a child, the guitar and percussion driving the melody, and the layered vocals creating this feeling you can't help but be enamored with. I was there with my first ex-husband, who was on the phone or something. And I started listening to it. I'm like, this is what this has to be. The video has to be, like, an amusement park. And I really want to use a sample and write something on top of it. (SINGING) Oh, when you walk-- This was obviously one of those moments where the sample truly inspired me. So I had the idea to loop the record and use it as the foundation of a new song, which became "Fantasy." So I wrote two new verses, two new hooks, and resang the "I'm in heaven" part from the Tom Tom Club's original bridge. A lot of people tell me this combination created something new but timeless. And that's how I like to think of it. (SINGING) It's so deep in my daydream. Sweet, sweet fantasy, baby. Fantasy. Later, we remixed it. There was a Bad Boy remix of it, featuring Old Dirty Bastard. And I have to say, I really do like how Puff-- "Diddy," I'm not sure what we're calling them now. There's a new name. Sorry. I can't keep up with all the names. And I really liked the section of the song that he looped. I liked how it just felt better. And not that I didn't like the first one, it's just way more pop, not just because ODB's on the other one, but it just feels different. For the remix, I wanted to bring in more of the hip-hop inspiration that I love. So we got together with Bad Boy and kind of like went back and forth with ideas. And Puff suggested that we slow it down and focus more on the drums. (SINGING) --with my boyfriend, my boyfriend. "Fantasy" was a major turning point in my career as a recording artist. There's no doubt about it. And the collaboration with both Bad Boy and ODB was so unexpected. Yet that's exactly what I wanted to be doing at that point in my life. - --doggy. Here we go now. Yeah. Me and Mariah go back like babies with pacifiers. That's right. Oh dirt dog no liar. Keep your fantasy hot like fire. Jump, jump. - Music was trying to figure out how to blend hip-hop with pop and R&B and couldn't do it. And you were one of the pioneers of this. - (RAPPING) Do it. Do it. Do it. MARIAH CAREY: This song still ...

About the Instructor

With a five-octave range and soaring whistle tones, Mariah Carey reigns as the “Songbird Supreme.” Now, for the first time, she’s opening up her studio to show you her creative process. Learn how she uses her iconic voice to write songs, collaborate, and produce—and discover how some of her biggest hits were made. Draw inspiration from Mariah’s journey and connect with the power of your own voice and vision.

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Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey invites you into her studio to share her process. Learn how she uses her iconic voice to create, collaborate, and express a vision.

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