Andrew Chan with Aisha Harris - Why Mariah Carey Matters (Ferry Building Store)

Andrew Chan
in conversation with Aisha Harris

Why Mariah Carey Matters

In-Person Event • Book Passage (SF Ferry Building)

Thurs., September 28th • 5:00pm PT

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's SF Ferry Building Store. Please contact with questions regarding events.

The first book to critically examine the legacy of pop superstar Mariah Carey.

When it comes to Mariah Carey, star power is never in doubt. She has sold hundreds of millions of albums and cut more chart-topping hits than any other solo artist—ever. And she has that extraordinary five-octave vocal range. But there is more to her legacy than eye-popping numbers.

Why Mariah Carey Matters examines the creative evolution and complicated biography of a true diva, making the case that, despite her celebrity, Carey’s musicianship and influence are insufficiently appreciated. A pioneering songwriter and producer, Carey pairs her vocal gifts with intimate lyrics and richly layered sonic details. In the mid-1990s, she perfected a blend of pop, hip-hop, and R&B with songs such as “Fantasy” and “Honey” and drew from her turbulent life to create the introspective masterpiece Butterfly. Andrew Chan looks beyond Carey’s glamorous persona to explore her experience as a mixed-race woman in show business, her adventurous forays into house music and gospel, and her appeal to multiple generations of queer audiences. He also reckons with the transcendent ideal of the voice that Carey represents, showing how this international icon taught artists around the world to sing with soul-shaking intensity and a spirit of innovation.

Andrew Chan writes regularly about music, film, and books for 4Columns. His work has also been published by the Criterion Collection, Film Comment, NPR, the New Yorker, and Reverse Shot.

Aisha Harris is a culture critic and co-host of the award-winning NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour and the author of Wannabe: Reckonings With the Pop Culture That Shapes Me. She previously covered arts and culture for the New York Times and Slate as a writer and editor, and was the creator and host of Slate's TV and film podcast Represent. Born and raised in Connecticut, she earned her bachelor's degree in theatre from Northwestern University and her master's degree in cinema studies from New York University.


Andrew Chan photo courtesy of Grant Delin. Aisha Harris photo courtesy of Shelby Macena.


Book Passage Ferry Building
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
Why Mariah Carey Matters (Music Matters) By Andrew Chan Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477325070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title for More Details
Published: University of Texas Press - September 12th, 2023

Wannabe: Reckonings with the Pop Culture That Shapes Me By Aisha Harris Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063249943
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title for More Details
Published: HarperOne - June 13th, 2023