Always Be My Baby
Manuel put his hands on the keyboards and I started singing the melody
- Mariah Carey
Written by Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri & Manuel Seal
Produced by Mariah Carey & Jermaine Dupri
4:20 Album Version
10:27 Always Club Mix
4:10 Def Classic Radio Mix
7:18 Dub-A-Baby Mix
7:11 Groove A Pella Mix
16:23 Morales Discotech Club Mix
5:32 Mr. Dupri Extended Mix featuring Da Brat & Xscape
4:42 Mr. Dupri Mix featuring Da Brat & Xscape
3:44 Mr. Dupri No Rap Radio Mix featuring Xscape
4:46 Reggae Soul Acapella featuring Lil’ Vicious
4:53 Reggae Soul Dub featuring Lil’ Vicious
4:56 Reggae Soul Mix featuring Lil’ Vicious
6:40 St Dub Edit
7:13 St Dub Mix
ABOUT THE SONG
- "Manuel Seal who works with Jermaine, he's the guy singing [Mariah bursts into song] "So Funkdafied" [the hit single by Jermaine Dupri protégée Da Brat] and Jermaine and I did those songs [Always Be My Baby & Long Ago] together. Manuel, sings and plays too and Jermaine does a lot of the programming drums and bass. I always felt that Jermaine had a really unique style. When I heard the tracks he did for Da Brat or Xscape or Kris Kross in the beginning, I always felt I could sing something over those. We actually did the tracks together so I think they had both of our vibes…. For my album I have to stay within a certain framework. I mean you can't have a big ballad next to something that sounds like a rap record. But I do like remixes and that's why I'm looking forward to Jermaine remixing the tracks we've done together. On one of those I brought in the rapper (from Wu Tang), Little Viscous and he's doing some stuff on there.”” - Blues & Soul (UK) Issue: October 24, 1995 “Daydream Believer” by Jeff Lorez
- Jermaine is cool to work with, he’s good, actually he’s one of the better ones out there to work with. We’ve worked on ‘Always Be My Baby’ together, remix for ‘Honey,’ we’ve done a lot of stuff together. We kind of collaborate on the track and the idea and then I take it and do my thing to it, vocals and whatever. - #1s DVD Interview 1999
I am a huge fan of Jimmy [Jam] & Terry [Lewis]. To me, the Alexander O’Neil records and the Cherrelle records , those are like the soundtrack of my life, those guys are geniuses. There is question that were the people that I should do this with. I mean I’ve sampled their records before I even met them - on a remix of Always Be My Baby. To me they are incredible artists. - Glitter Interview CD 2000
“He’s got a very distinct vibe,” says Carey. “Jermaine, Manuel (Seal) and I sat down and Jermaine programmed the drums. I told him the feel that I wanted and Manuel put his hands on the keyboards and I started singing the melody. We went back and forth with the bridge and the B-section. I had the outline of the lyrics and started singing Always Be My Baby off the top of my head.” … ”The background vocals are an important part of the whole picture for me,” she explains. “That’s why I like to do them myself a lot of the time, or at least initially I’ll lay down the tracks. I’ll double my voice or do a couple of tracks of my own voice. It’s easy for me to match my voice. And then if I’m going to use other background singers, I’ll let them go on top of mine. To me, on those kinds of records, the hook is really important. And I tend to do a lot of adlibs, so it can get lost.” - 2003 Fred Bronson “The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits” Page 845
- “It never ceases to amaze me how the audience responds to this song when I sing it live. It is such a feel good record and the audience really loves to participate with me. It still sounds so good when I hear it on the radio. I think it really stands the test of time.” - #1 to Infinity liner notes, 2015
- Did you two have instant chemistry?
I wouldn’t say it was “instant” because I don’t think we really even knew what it was because “Always Be My Baby” was the third single on this album, it wasn’t like people were jumping out the window saying “This is the first single!” I thought I made some cool songs, and I was happy my records made albums, but when you’re coming up as a producer, if you don’t get a first or second single, you feel like you still got a lot more work to do. For me, I didn’t feel like I had accomplished too much of anything. We worked with each other but the fact that I didn’t get the first or second single…even with two songs that I did [on Daydream], I felt like I didn’t really do what I was supposed to do.
Did you feel like you had something to prove?
Nah, I don’t think so. [“Always Be My Baby”] that’s probably one of my biggest least-known works. It just sounds like a traditional pop, R&B type of record. None of the inspiration for the song came from a rap record, it was what I would’ve done on Xscape’s record or something like that. If anything, that’s what I was mimicking, something I would give Xscape, that’s what she liked.
How did you guys come up with concept for “Always Be My Baby”?
Our studio sessions were like from 9 in the morning ’til 5:30 in the afternoon. It would cut off at that point, Tommy would pick her up everyday and they would go to dinner. This was so different from anything I had ever seen in my life — ever. I had never been in the studio in the morning, for nobody, that’s one. And two, it’s cold shut-off, like no matter where you are in making the record, by 6 o’clock she had to leave. I was from an era where you stayed in the studio ’til the song is finished, so how does a person come in the studio and leave by dinner time?
It was a weird experience for me, but the whole song actually came from Mariah. I don’t recall having any writing influence in that song, as far as lyrically. That was all her, and I think, like I said just because of the timing and the dynamic of it, I’d adjust. I was coming from staying up all night then I’d be in the studio at like 9 in the morning. I think we made the track and I might’ve fallen asleep [laughs] because I was adjusting to the time [constraints].
So Tommy Mottola slowed down the process?
It aided to the process because we made “Always Be My Baby.” All it did was create what was to come after that. It feels like I’ve known Mariah my whole life, that [album] was the beginning. It wasn’t a bad thing that he was doing that. I think it was like, we didn’t get a chance to get as creatively close as we should have on the project, but we got close enough to know that when we work together it’s gonna always be something special. - BET Here's What Jermaine Dupri Remembers About His First Collaboration With Mariah Carey, October 3, 2015
- According to Dupri, Carey was a hip-hop fan and determined to incorporate that sound into her new album. "I remember the first track we tried to do, she wanted to sing over Wu-Tang's 'C.R.E.A.M.', and I was like, ‘What?’”… Dupri says that he and Carey recorded four or five records in the studio, but only two made it onto Daydream - "Long Ago" and "Always Be My Baby”. - Genius: May 5, 2016 “The Secret Hip-Hop History of Mariah Carey’s Daydream” by Anna Oseran
This was the first song we hooked up on. We ran into each other at a Grammy after-party. She wanted to talk about working on her new album. I didn’t know what that was going to entail, but it was her idea to work with the new hip-hop guy—to merge the pop sound with hip-hop as much as possible.
She would tell Manuel what she wanted to say. So we switched the chords and the keys to what she wanted to sing in. And then from there, we just started building. She would say yes, no and then we would just start picking out chords. I started tapping on the drum machine, just trying to make a beat to see what was going on. It was a musical rollercoaster. We were just really in the studio feeling each other out and giving each other ideas. - Jermaine Dupri on Genius 2016
Sway Calloway: The first song that we gonna play that Jermaine Dupri made: Mariah Carey - Always Be My Baby. This song became a massive pop hit, right? You know, when you made this, how did it start? Did you just hand over the song to her?
Jermaine Dupri: Nah, me and her, we don’t have the ‘hand over’ type of relationship. It’s a funny situation between me and Mariah. Mariah is the rapper when we go in the studio and I’m the musical person.
JD: So we fought before this song to get to this song.
JD: She came to the studio with the Wu-Tung CD and she was like ‘I want to sample “C.R.E.A.M.’, I want to sing on ‘C.R.E.A.M.’’
Sway: She wanted to sing on C.R.E.A.M.?
JD: And I was like ‘What? You want me to sample C.R.E.A.M., you want to sing on C.R.E.A.M.?’ This is like the first time we ever worked together, so I’m thinking, like, nah, not Mariah Carey, that ain’t what you want to do. And she really let me know that she was so connected to hiphop and this that and the third. So then it was just like, this song was like a hybrid between what she wanted and what I felt like she should be doing. And then when she put her vocals on it, I didn’t really know what the song was going to be, but I thought it was a great record. And it just turned out to be my first number one with Mariah Carey - TRL: June 20, 2018 Jermaine Dupri Reflects on His Work With Mariah Carey & Kris Kross with Sway Calloway
1995 Released on the Daydream album.
1998 Included on the #1s compilation album.
2001 Included on the Greatest Hits compilation album.
2009 Included on the The Ballads/Love Songs compilation.
2015 Included on the #1 to Infinity compilation album.