Noted humanitarian Mariah Carey helped to usher in the Easter long weekend Friday, with a special performance of “Hero” that she dedicated to those on the front-lines of the current coronavirus pandemic.
Dressed in a “pink-yet-lavender” blouse, and seated in front of framed photos of her kids while in a makeshift home recording studio, Carey introduced the clip by saying she was doing her best to stay “festive” during the Holy Week, despite what she called “a unique time in history.”
“We are united in this effort and in this moment,” she declared, showing off the writing skills that got her inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year. “I want to take this time to acknowledge and honor the sacrifices of those who work everyday taking care of their communities,” she continued, calling them, “the heroes who are making our daily lives possible.”
Accompanied by her long-time musical director Daniel Moore on piano (presumably social distancing via a video camera), Carey sang a condensed version of her hit number-one single, leaving out the bridge altogether. Still, she soared on the ballad, hitting notes in the second verse she hasn’t attempted since her Emancipation of Mimi days (coincidentally, this week marks the album’s 15th anniversary). There were also timely “Easter eggs” in the clip for her longtime fans, with a picture of a lamb strategically placed on a music stand in full view (Carey’s fans lovingly call themselves the “Lambily”).
Of course “Hero,” taken from the 1993 album, Music Box, is undoubtedly Carey’s signature song; the singer has performed the inspirational ballad on a number of occasions, including a benefit concert following the September 11th attacks, and for the 2005 revival of Live 8. Carey also performed “Hero” in front of President Obama, during his inaugural ball in 2009 (it was reportedly one of Obama’s favorite songs to listen to during his campaign). Her peak performance though, may still be this 1996 event, where Carey paid tribute to police officers killed in the line of duty with an octave-defying performance that left even then-President Bill Clinton misty-eyed.
The new recording of “Hero” marks the second time Carey has given an at-home performance since the coronavirus outbreak forced millions of people to stay indoors. Carey sang a memorable version of “Always Be My Baby” on Elton John’s “Living Room Concert for America” telethon last month.
Fresh off the end of her Vegas residency, Carey has been quarantining at home with her twins, Moroccan and Monroe, and the once-“elusive chanteuse” has been active on social media, retweeting words of gratitude for nurses and medical professionals, and sending messages of encouragement to fans in affected countries. The singer-songwriter seems to be working on new music as well — she posted a photo of herself in the studio on her “anniversary” last month with the caption, “new song.”
And while members of the “Lambily” are now campaigning for Carey to release a new version of her underrated 2002 self-help ballad, “Through the Rain,” it seems there couldn’t be a more appropriate song for self-isolation right now than “Hero.” As Carey croons on the song, “It’s a long road when you face the world alone and no one reaches out a hand for you to hold.”
The answer to getting through these unprecedented times may be to listen to a good pop song and to take Carey’s lyrics to heart: when you feel like hope (and your friends, family and social life) is gone, “look inside you and be strong.” And yes, you’ll finally see the truth, that a self-quarantining, homebody hero really does lie in you.