When I first wrote the song, it was just gonna be a house record with David [Morales]
- Mariah Carey
Written by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff
Produced by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff
4:36 Album Version
3:49 Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise) Album Version
8:39 Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise) (Def ‘B’ Fly Mix)
9:49 Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise) (Fly Away Club Mix)
4:15 Classic Bossa Nova
4:20 Meme's Club Radio Mix
8:43 Meme's Extended Club Mix Parts 1 & 2
8:47 Meme's Extended Club Mix
8:43 Meme's Instrumental
6:00 Meme's Latinbeats
4:20 Meme's Radio Instrumental
4:21 Meme's TV Track Short
8:43 Meme's TV Track
8:24 Sambatterfly for Clubbers
8:23 Sambatterfly Mix
4:41 Sambatterfly Remix Edit
ABOUT THE SONG
VH1: Where did you get the inspiration for the title Butterfly?
MC: Butterfly was about leaving one section of my life and moving on to another. The title track was a wish list of things I hoped somebody would say to me, but I wrote it as though I were talking to someone else. The lines 'Spread your wings and prepare to fly/ For you have become a Butterfly/ Fly abandoningly into the sun' is like someone saying, ‘Do your thing.”’ There's another line: ‘Wild horses run unbridled/ Or their spirit dies.’ You can't restrain a free spirit - either you're going to break them or they're going to leave and never come back.
The second single, "Butterfly," the title track isn't a typical thing I'd do with Walter (Mariah sings part of it). Originally I'd planned to do it as a house record with David (Morales). I sang it in the Bahamas at Chris Blackwell's (Island Records' head) studio. It was all about the whole freedom of the feeling of being there. That style of singing is really about what comes out of your mouth at the time. It can only come from being inspired. It's a gift from God. It's not sung in a traditional ballad style. Also, because I write my own stuff I don't have a demo singer sing it for me. And I don't sing with a producer in the room, so I'm sort of figuring it out as I go along, too.”
Blues & Soul (UK) “Butterfly kisses,,, or in bed with Mariah!” by Jeff Lorez, September 23, 1997
There’s a song called ‘Butterfly,’ and that’s why I named the album Butterfly, and it just seemed appropriate because I had two different versions of the song as well - one with David Morales [Fly Away (Butterfly Reprise)], which was the original. When I first wrote the song, it was just gonna be a house record with David, and then as I wrote it, I decided that it should be a ballad, so I decided to do another version.
MTV News, “Butterfly Release Party UK,” 1997
“Originally Butterfly was going to be a house record and, in fact, Fly Away was my starting point for the song but as work progressed I decided that this should be the title of the album and a ballad, but it's not sung in a traditional style. I wanted the verses to be much more inward, like small and quiet and subtle the the choruses really open...I didn't plan the vocals, it was about what came out of my mouth at the time, of figuring it out as I go along.”
“It’s like a twist on the original record,” Mariah said. “Actually, when I wrote ‘Butterfly,’ I had a house record in mind, but then started thinking about it while writing it, and it turned into a ballad. But I had to do the other one too, so they’re both on the album.”
Mariah Carey: Revisited by Chris Nickson, Page 334, September 1998
'Butterfly,' the song ‘Butterfly,' to me, is very powerful and very poignant, because it represents a point in my life that was very, very, heavily… very laden with drama - it was really an intense time.
IS: There's a butterfly room? I want to see that.
MC: It was '97 and I was leaving my marriage [to Tommy Mottola]. which encompassed my life. I was writing the song 'Butterfly' wishing that that's what he would say to me. There's a part that goes, 'I have learned that beauty/has to flourish in the light/wild horses run unbridled/or their spirit dies/you have given me the courage/to be all that I can/and I truly feel ...[sings] and I truly feel your heart will lead you back to me when you're ready to land.' At that point I really believed that I was going to go back to the marriage – I didn't think I was going to leave forever. But then the things that happened to me during that time caused me to not go back. Had it been, 'Go be yourself, you've been with me since you were a kid, let's separate for a while,' I probably would’ve.
IS: So it's since you wrote "Butterfly" that the creature has been this icon in your life?
MC: Before then we would be in places and all of sudden butterflies would land on my shoulder.
Interview Magazine, Pages 156-165 “Mariah Carey: The Naked Truth From The World’s Biggest Diva” by Ingrid Sischy, September 20th, 2007
1997 Released on the Butterfly album.
2001 Included on the Greatest Hits compilation.
2009 Included on the Japanese version of The Ballads/Love Songs compilation.