Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has dominated the charts every December since 1994, but the pop diva’s friendship with the yuletide smash’s cowriter, Walter Afanasieff, has been far from merry.
“We had a falling out,” Afanasieff said in an interview with Radio Times published on Tuesday, December 18. “I would have hoped that in 20 years, she would have knocked on my door — but she hasn’t, so …”
The songwriter, who won a Grammy in 1990 for producing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” explained that his working relationship with Carey ended around the time of her 1997 separation from her first husband, music executive Tommy Mottola.
“I was under an exclusive contract with him. So, she left the building — she wasn’t even on the label anymore — but I couldn’t go and work with her because he wouldn’t let me,” Afanasieff claimed. “So she found that to be a little bit of a slap in the face.”
“If you start working on a song with another singer, the jealousy comes out,” he told the U.K. magazine. “They’re very, very jealous people. So, I was working to put food on my table. I can’t only work with Mariah, I have to work with other people, and I think that was a bit of a problem.”
Afanasieff specifically took issue with Carey. “She doesn’t like to acknowledge other people,” he claimed. “It seems to be a problem with singers. If you see a singer talking about something that they wrote, they will probably say, ‘I wrote the song when I was 12 years old, or here’s another song I wrote.’”
He added, “It doesn’t matter how many interviews she’s done or when she’s on stage, she’ll never, ever say, ‘Here’s the song that I wrote with Walter.’ She’s made it her modus operandi [not to mention my name]. We wrote the song together; my name is 50 percent, her name is 50 percent. We have equal shares.”
Despite their falling out, Afanasieff still enjoyed working with the “Hero” singer. “I love Mariah Carey,” he said. “She’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go both ways.”
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