Mariah the Scientist Embodies Dualities – Science and Art, Sensitivity and Detachment
Her art is like left and right brain.
WORDS // Jennalynn Fung
Scientists can be sensitive, too.
In a world where artistic expression and scientific inquiry often seem like disparate realms, Mariah the Scientist stands as a remarkable embodiment of the union between the two.
Mariah the Scientist sings with conviction on stage, serenading crowds with stories that are steeped in the hard lessons that she has learned in life. It is this realism with herself, and her life, that has resulted in such charged, yet vulnerable music – subjective, yet objective. The artistic masterpiece of someone who has a scientist’s perspective.
The singer gets her name from when she attended St. John’s University in Queens, New York, where she was on scholarship to study biology. She once aspired to be a pediatric anesthesiologist, stemming from her desire to be a physician with a sensitive side that kids truly felt comfortable with.
However, during the spring semester of her sophomore year, she came to realize her immediate calling was music. “It was Easter Break, and I’m like ‘I’m not going back.’ And my mom was like, ‘you’re going back.’ But I just didn’t go back. I didn’t tell my dad because he’s the stricter one. I just didn’t say anything about it. And I abandoned all my stuff in the dorm room. It was just a hot mess. Less than a year later, I signed a record deal.”
While most parents would be ecstatic to hear their child had signed a contract that would jump start their career, Mariah’s parents – specifically her father – were less than overjoyed. He saw her contract as a liability. “When they put a huge amount of money in my personal bank account, attached to my father’s bank account, he could see it. He called me like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t– I’m not gonna be able to get you out of this. I mean, if it doesn’t go right. Like, I can’t pay that money back.’ I was like, ‘it’s gonna be fine.’”
She ended up being right.
Photo by: Jennalyn Fung
The singer and songwriter has sold out multiple headlining shows and has millions of streams on all of her songs. Her album, RY RY World, has been hailed by fans as a standout record with the late 2010s RnB feel, but a fresher interface.
Since her success in the industry, she says her father has come around.“I think he doesn’t believe it when it comes to things like this, there’s so many people and they’re like singing my songs, and it was shocking for him.”
Mariah is shocked too. “I feel like I’m more detached. I’ve been disassociating a little bit, because it’s so shocking. Like two times, I’ve cried at a show because it was just like ‘Oh my God, wow. This is crazy.’ It was so intimidating, and I used to feel like I wasn’t good at it but that encouraged me to work harder.”
Amidst the current applause and adoration, Mariah’s journey remains grounded in humility, but elevated by determination to continually improve.
At the beginning of her career, there was a lot of criticism over her stage presence – statements that she was too stiff, or had no control over the crowd. Wanting to make the concert experience more worthwhile for her fans, Mariah shared with Billboard: “I’m in a little too deep to be trying to cut corners on this s–t. My only option now is to do it full force and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
Her performance at the RnB festival, Sol Blume, in Sacramento, California on Aug. 19th seemed to be a metaphorical fruit of her labor, ready to be picked. Just the weekend before, she had performed at Outside Lands Music Festival where she mesmerized a crowd full of admirers. Mariah has a basket full of fruit now; every performance is a testament to how when she sets a goal, she will accomplish it.
Her next goal is to combine music and her love for science as seamlessly as possible. She wants to run a science camp like Mariah Carey, and already is working on the theme for her next album. “For the next project that I’m going to put out, I’ve been trying to figure out ways that I can merge the two. RY RY World was a little more astronomy. This will be more animalistic biology.”
Photo by: Cerys
The discussion turns towards a book she’s been reading recently that focuses on the left brain and right brain, and how creativity is just as natural as breathing. “I’m only about 35 or 50 pages in,” she says, as though prefacing the summary of the book with a disclaimer, just like a scientist writing a report.
Living up to her name, and providing an example of the author’s words in real time, Mariah points to a woman standing just outside the Sol Blume tent. “See, she’s hot, so she’s fanning herself. She’s improvising this. She created that. Animals do this too.”
Her fascination with animals carries the conversation as Mariah confesses that she watches a lot of videos about animals, ones involving predator and prey provide a visceral reaction. “It makes me so sad, but it is the way of life. I’m so sensitive though, I’ll be on Instagram and see a cat doing some shit with its owner and I will literally be about to cry!” She laughs, almost in disbelief of herself.
Her attachment to animals is real, more-so when the one in question is her own. While traveling from Portugal to Germany with her husky, they were separated for passport and microchipping reasons. “I had to split from him. Crying, just so sad. And I didn’t even get to do my set.”
Truth be told, Mariah the Scientist is well informed about a lot of news that span beyond the animal kingdom. She talks about Maui and the fires, Joe Biden’s plan to give every family on the island $700, and even Japan’s financial assistance plans. In spite of touring and performing all the time, she says she’s well informed by happenstance – she can’t escape the news.
Being well informed goes back to her family and growing up. She told Music Musings that her parents had always instilled structure; “the creative thing wasn’t as appreciated in comparison to hard work and academics.” Thus, The Scientist grew up studious and being well informed has become something of second nature.
Her mom worked in a church and her dad was a police officer. Although she claims they weren’t so strict that she couldn’t do anything, she says they were no nonsense. “We didn’t really have that much money. My father’s mantra is [life stability]. That’s how he lives his life.”
The realistic viewpoints of her father impacted her lyrics, too. It has made her an honest songwriter, able to tell stories as they are. The love songs she writes are so often a candid reflection on what she should have done and what went wrong. Even so, Mariah’s creativity and willingness to explore is what has got her this far.
Photo by: Jennalyn Fung
From her days envisioning a future as a pediatric anesthesiologist as a biology scholar to the transformative moment when she chose to follow her passion for music, Mariah’s story encapsulates the audacity of chasing one’s dreams against all odds. Her artistic voyage mirrors the unpredictability of life itself – a symphony of chances, choices, and unwavering determination.
With every sold-out show, melody streamed, and stage conquered, Mariah’s evolution from an uncertain artist to a confident performer is an attestation to her dedication and persistence. While doubts and criticisms lingered around the start of her career, she embraced the challenges with an unyielding resolve to give it her all. The applause, the emotions, the tears shed – each live performance is a microcosm of her growth, a reflection of her commitment to pushing boundaries.
Now, as her music resonates with millions, she stands as a living embodiment of the philosophy that creativity, like science, knows no bounds.
As Mariah embarks on her quest to merge her love for music with her scientific curiosity, she showcases a captivating blend of the analytical and the imaginative. Her willingness to explore the dualities of life – from animalistic biology to the complexities of human emotion – mirrors the blend of left and right brain thinking she delves into. Much like the animals she observes in her videos, Mariah recognizes the interplay of instinct and adaptation that defines both the natural world and her creative process. Her profound sensitivity, whether expressed through heartfelt ballads or in her attachment to animals, becomes the crucible where raw emotions are transformed into art.
In every note she sings and every story she tells, Mariah not only bridges the gap between the scientist and the artist, but also encapsulates the intricate dance of vulnerability and strength that defines the human experience.
Photo by: Cerys
MARIAH THE SCIENTIST