I'll Be There
"‘Unplugged’ taught me a lot about myself"
- Mariah Carey
Written by Berry Gordy, Bob West, Willie Hutch & Hal Davis
Produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff
Cover of “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5
4:42 Live Version with Trey Lorenz
ABOUT THE SONG
- He was a find at first sight, a star at first falsetto flight, and, while the world recognized the former backup singer's exceptional gifts the instant his pipes penetrated the troposphere on MTV's "Unplugged" last March, still nobody really knows Trey Lorenz. So Mariah Carey figures it's time we were all properly introduced.
"Everybody kept asking, "Who's the guy singing?" says Carey, swiveling giddily on a stool in the control room at Manhattan's Right Track Studios. She is describing the since oft-retelecast moment during the live "Unplugged" taping at Kaufman Astoria Studios when Lorenz cut loose on the "Jermaine part" of her cover of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." Fact is, Lorenz's aerial larynx acrobatics at the bridge of the vintage R&B classic proved the most crowd-pleasing eruption of vocal yearning since Carey's own high-pitched exploits on her May 1990 "Vision of Love" debut.
"I really didn't want all the fun and interest behind him with the "I'll Be There" record to go to waste," Carey continues, nodding to the gangly, grinning Lorenz, who's seated opposite her, "so we just went at it for about three months, worked really hard and made this." She flicks the mixing console faders forward to near-maximum volume level, while the tape begins to roll for "Someone To Hold," the kickoff single (written by Carey, Lorenz, and Walter Afanasieff) from the forthcoming self-titled Epic album, "Trey Lorenz."
“But we also were involved in the preparation for "Unplugged," and people kept saying to do an oldie. Two nights before the actual show I decided on "I'll Be There" and said, "Trey, why don't you sing the male part?" We had no plans to release the show on record when we originally did it, so the decision to put the song out as a single was a total fluke. Eventually, we decided we should get going on his album, and we wrote two songs, the second being 'Always In Love.'"
"It all happened just like she said!" exclaims the genial Lorenz, whose hectic discourse can rival the vivacity of his best serenades. "I just happened to be in the room when Mariah was doing "There's Got To Be A Way," and, you know, when you're in the studio so long, you get bored. I was singing along with the guys, just going along with the song, and that's when she heard me. At that point, I was in my junior year at Farleigh Dickinson University, majoring in advertising, and I had been in a group that had quickly disbanded called" -- he whimpers -- "Squeak & the Deep -- but we were only together for a minute!"
Lorenz's sheepishness concerning the outfit that immediately preceded his association with Carey is mild compared to his embarrassment with his initial reaction to the news that "I'll Be There" would be released as a single. Problem was, he couldn't honestly recall how he'd sounded on the performance -- which he hadn't heard since the "Unplugged" session -- and he feared the worst. "I was like, "Whoa! Let me hear it again!" I mean, great goodness, I think we were singing really good that day, but I wasn't so sure about me." He smirks. "I was really relieved when I listened.
"When the song actually debuted at 13 in Billboard," he adds, "that's when I really lost it -- especially after growing up in a small town where you don't have anything else to do but watch the charts, check the record stores, and dream." - 1992 MUSIC TO MY EARS - TREY LORENZ: THE VISION BEHIND THE VOICE by Timothy White
- ‘Unplugged’ taught me a lot about myself because I tend to nitpick everything I do and make it a little too perfect because I’m a perfectionist. I also learned a lot from working with Trey because when you’re working with another singer and the singer’s going, ‘Oh I hate that, that sounds horrible.’ and you’re going, ‘No, it’s great,’ that’s what everyone always does to me. I’ll always go over the real raw stuff and now I’ve gotten to the point where I understand that the raw stuff is usually better. - 2003 Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Page 808
- “We were rehearsing for MTV Unplugged and I was going to perform ‘Vanishing’ from my first album. The label came to me and said, ‘MTV really wants you to perform a remake.” It was the night before the show at rehearsal. My friend and background vocalist, the talented Trey Lorenz was there and we both are huge fans of Motown and the Jackson 5. I had the idea to sing ‘I’ll Be There” and Trey was nice enough to accompany me. We never expected the song to be released as a single, let alone become a #1 record.” - #1 to Infinity liner notes, 2015
1992 Live recording released on the MTV Unplugged EP.
1998 Included on the #1s compilation album.
2001 Included on the Greatest Hits compilation album.
2009 Included on the The Ballads/Love Songs compilation album.
2015 Included on the #1 to Infinity compilation album.