Have you been wondering why Ariana Grande’s music sounds so similar to Mariah Carey and if the young songbird has intentionally been ripping off her idol as part of some evil plan? Well, You Know I Got Soul got to the root of the mystery in a new interview with the man behind the music, Harmony Samuels.
Samuels co-wrote and produced most of Grande’s Yours truly debut album, including the songs “The Way”, “Right There” and “Almost is Never Enough”, and is well aware of the the comparisons made between sound of those records and Carey’s early work. However, he doesn’t see that as a problem, and prefers to view it as positive instead of blatant imitation.
“Everyone keeps making Mariah comparisons, but there’s different types of Mariah,” Harmony explained. “There’s the real Pop Mariah from “Emotions”, the throwback Mariah from “Butterfly” and she has different colors. That’s why [Grande is] Mariah.” Just a minor note: “Emotions” is a mixture of Pop, Soul, Dance and Gospel as an innovative sound developed by Carey alongside C+C Music Factory in 1991 but of course, Samuels probably doesn’t understand what it means to be original, so I’ll let that slide.
Samuels continued by saying, “I feel like Ariana Grande holds a different color and Jordin [Sparks] holds another particular color. It’s just different mixtures and it’s just good music. It just makes sense people use names like Mariah so it has an understanding, but it really is all fresh and new to them.” How can something be “fresh and new” when it sounds almost identical to the work done by Carey in her prime?
Moving on from Grande, Samuels is eager for us to hear Jordin Sparks’ new album, which is preceded by the truly refreshing “Skipping a Beat” lead single, later this year. “I did eight records for her. She’s about to shock everybody. We got a single and nobody has heard Jordin like this,” he said excitedly.”
Yet, Samuels, who produced Fantasia’s entire Side Effects of You album, refuses to stray far from the formula that made Grande a mainstay on the charts. “It’s R&B throwback Mariah meets JLo, [Sparks is] just killing it. I know just like what happened with Fantasia, when you guys hear this, it’s going to be amazing. She has a beautiful song on the album called “My Guitar”. It’s really just good music. I don’t think I was as excited about Fantasia as I am for Jordin.”
Here we go again with the throwback Carey music. On the bright side, Samuels honestly could not have chosen a better source of inspiration for Grande and Sparks with their innocent girl next door appeal and MOR sound. Listen to Samuels’ entire interview with You Know I Got Soul below: