“I’m Not Having The Games” Mariah Carey Says Anxiety Almost Kept Her From Performing With Aretha Franklin

mariah carey was intimidated to perform with aretha franklin

Source: KMazur / Getty

Fresh off the release from her latest album Caution, singer Mariah Carey is sharing some reflections on pivotal moments of her career. During a recent sit down with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, the “We Belong Together” vocalist revealed a performance that almost never happened because of her nerves.

Carey shared that she is in fact working on her memoirs, and in them she talks about a time she was “very intimidated” to share the stage with none other than the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. While preparing for the VH1’s Diva Live performance of 1998, Carey says that she was already battling anxiety at the thought of performing with Franklin, but it only increased when she learned they could only rehearse together once. The singer says at that point, she was ready to back out altogether:

In a full Aretha Franklin impression, Carey tells Cohen Franklin was not entertaining any nonsense at the time:

“She said to me, ‘Mariah, they’re playing games, and I’m not having the games. So, we won’t be rehearsing tonight.’”

Carey doesn’t disclose the drama that occurred at rehearsals (perhaps the truth will be revealed in her memoirs) but she did share she was ready to give the opportunity to someone else:

“I was very intimidated and didn’t want to perform with her. Everybody else was like, ‘Let me have it’ And I’m not saying anything against anybody else, but I felt there was a thing where it was like they wanted to be able to say they took her on.”

“I was like, ‘I’ll be with the background singers, okay? That’s the Queen of Soul.’”

Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Gloria Estefan were just a few of the other performers sharing the stage with Franklin that night, so I wonder who was trying to go toe to toe with the Queen of Soul? Ms. Carey is going to be serving a few pots of piping hot chamomile when her memoirs drop and I can’t wait. In the meantime, you can check out the interview below: