The daughter of a Venezuelan aeronautical engineer father and an Irish-American opera-singing mother, Mariah Carey was still at school when she started singing on R&B sessions in New York. She'd met keyboard player/songwriter Ben Margulies and they started writing soul, gospel and pop songs together. The extraordinary range of her voice (she describes it as "alto with a five octave range") alerted Tommy Mottola, US president of Sony Music, who signed her instantly. Her 1990 debut single Vision of Love went to Number 1 - the first of five consecutive US Number 1s for her. She went on to marry Mottola and swiftly became an international superstar and, while she split with Mottola in 1997, her blend classy pop with soul and R&B continued her popularity. Mariah later diversified into hip hop through collaborations with the likes of Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes. In 2001 she starred in the movie Glitter and in 2008 married actor/comedian Nick Cannon.