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When You Believe

When You Believe

You really do hear the differences in our voices

- Mariah Carey

Written by Stephen Schwartz & Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds
Produced by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds


4:33     Album Version (Duet with Whitney Houston)
5:04     (The Prince Of Egypt) Soundtrack Mix (Duet with Whitney Houston)
4:32     TV Track Instrumental


  • DS: Tell me about the song you did with Whitney.
    MC: I wish I could tell you more about it, but unfortunately, Kenneth [she uses her fingers to make quotation marks] “Babyface” Edmonds has it under wraps. We’ve done our vocals, but now he’s in the process of changing it around. I kinda like it the way it was. It’s called “When You Believe,” for The Prince of Egypt soundtrack.
    DS: One of those big ballads…
    MC: It’s a very big ballad but in an inspirational way. The movie is about Moses. That she [Whitney] and I came together on this particular song is important. It’s not just like, Here we are, Divafest ’98…. I don’t think we’re trying to outsing each other. You really do hear the differences in our voices.
    DS: What are the differences?
    MC: She just has a really rich, strong mid-belt that very few people have. She sounds really good, really strong. I guess I sound airier and lighter than her.
    DS: Was it dramatic being in the studio with her?
    MC: Not at all.

    • VIBE Magazine, November 1998 – Danyel Smith

  • “I chose the bonus tracks for various reasons… ‘When You Believe (from The Prince of Egypt)’ - because to me, it almost is a miracle that Whitney and I are on a record together! After meeting and working with Whitney Houston, I have gained a whole other layer of respect for this truly talented woman in so many ways.

    • #1s Liner Notes, 1998

  • Whitney: “Working with Mariah was pulling each other’s hair out and stuff you know, and I grabbed her clothes and she grabbed mine - [cat growl], but we didn’t! Mariah is a helluva a vocalist, let me tell you, she can go.”

  • Q: Much has been made of your supposed rivalry with Mariah Carey - why do you suppose that is and was there any kind of tension in the studio with her?
    Whitney: No, no, we came to sing, we didn’t come to fight. Music is supposed to be, bring people together, you know. We came together for music. I mean, you do a song like When You Believe for The Prince of Egypt and what are you going to do? Cat fight and rolling? It’s a spiritual song, it’s about love, it’s about people trying to get over obstacles and things like that. Mariah and I have never had a rivalry because I don’t know her well enough to have them with her and she didn’t know me well enough to have one with me. So when we met, it was a beautiful thing that we got to know each other for ourselves. And we’re friends, really.

  • Whitney: When we got together, it was like magic - we clicked, we talked, we laughed like old girlfriends.

  • Q: How did the duet with Mariah Carey come about?
    Whitney: Jeff Katzenberg from Dreamworks, I guess he figured, well, we need somebody that we’re going to get to sing this song that has to have some sort of gospel something and some sort of inspiration, some gospel background, of course. And he called me, and he called Mariah at the same time. And I remember him saying, ‘Well, Mariah’s agreed to doing it.” When in fact, later on, I found that she hadn’t agreed to doing it, she hadn’t to doing it. And he went to Mariah and said, ‘Whitney’s agreed to doing it too.” And in fact, I hadn’t agreed to doing it. And when she found out I was going to do it, she said ‘yes’, once I found out, I said ‘yes,’ so then we both said ‘yes,’ not knowing that neither one of us was going to do it, so we were kinda tricked.
    Q: So he played you off against each other?
    Whitney: Yes, yes, which worked out fine, actually.
    Q: But I thought you guys were supposed to be big rivals?
    Whitney: Yeah, see, don't ever believe what you read or hear. I never met Mariah, really before this time. I never got a chance to sit down and talk with Mariah, you know, get to know her. I mean, because she sings great, I’m supposed to be a rivalry with her? That is so, so shallow of people, you know? It makes me wonder about the intelligence of people. Mariah and I never met each other. We met on this thing, we’re like this, we're tight. I have her number, she has mine, we call each other on the phone, we talk all day, like girlfriends. It’s like two divas that don’t have to be reminded that they’re divas, they just know how to act.

  • You’ve won five Grammys but not yet won an Oscar or Golden Globe.
    Actually, the song I sang with Whitney Houston, “When You Believe,” for The Prince of Egypt, won the Oscar for best song. But I am not the writer of that song. They came to me with that song and the idea to work with Whitney. And of course I was overwhelmed and honored because I had always loved her so much. Then we became friends after we sang the song together and did the campaign together. Then it won the Oscar that year.
    What are your memories of that recording session with Whitney?
    MC: What I remember the most is that we were in two different places location-wise when we recorded it. Afterwards we did a few live performances and we also shot a video for that song. That’s when we started being around each other a lot. That’s when people started thinking there was a feud or something like that. That wasn’t the case at all. I have nothing but fond memories of that time and the fact that the song won an Academy Award and is a faith-based song — which is not dissimilar to “The Star” — I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just something that happened. I do perform “When You Believe” in concert where I sing back and forth with Whitney, who is projected on a screen. And we all miss her.




1998 Released on the #1s compilation.
1998 Released on Whitney Houston’s My Love Is Your Love album.
1998 Released on The Prince of Egypt soundtrack.
2001 Included on the Greatest Hits compilation.
2009 Included on the The Ballads/Love Songs compilation.
2011 Included on The Essential Mariah Carey compilation.