Life

Radio review: Mariah Carey engages in an intelligent discussion of her craft

Bimpe Archer

Trevor Nelson's Rhythm Nation - BBC Radio 2

Nicholas Parsons: A Man of Many Parts - Radio 4

It's been a long time since I spent the night with Trevor Nelson.

In a world turned upside down all our rhythms have been disrupted and for me former listening habits have been among the casualties.

An audience with Mariah Carey, however, is an appointment to listen, not least in the wake of publication of her memoir.

It was, as Trevor was pains to point out several times during the interview on Monday night, not the first time they had met – albeit the first time on that 2020 staple Zoom.

This avowed familiarity was not as cloying as it would have been from the lips of many of his Radio 2 colleagues eager to bask in reflected glory from previous proximity to a superstar.

And what reflected glory potential there is with a diva so epic that in popular culture she has effectively become a diamond encrusted meme.

So credit to both Mariah and Trevor that what emerged was intelligent conversation between equals - talented singer-songwriter discussing her craft, her industry and her life with a presenter with the musical knowledge to explore beneath the gossip column inches.

Given the title of her memoir - `The Meaning of Mariah Carey' - the multi-award winning chanteuse was undoubtedly ready for a deep dive into her history and psyche.

The delight of Rhythm Nation is that it is always about the music, between the chat were tracks by Minnie Riperton, Curtis Mayfield and Whitney Houston.

Thinking of the latter and their erstwhile rivalry while listening to Carey's warm voice speaking candidly about everything from parental guilt to childhood trauma, marriage defined by coercive control and her struggle for artistic freedom, one was reminded that for all the sneering headlines it is Mariah who survived.

And survived with her humanity and humour intact.

A legend no longer with us was remembered on Radio Four this week.

This was for those who knew Nicholas Parsons exclusively for his masterfully understated chairmanship of `Just A Minute' (he only missed four episodes over 52 years of the show).

A charming look at his life hosted with a geniality Parsons would have approved of by Paul Jackson allowed him to speak to us again through his own interviews and the eyes of friends and colleagues including Giles Brandreth, Bruce Forsythe and Paul Merton.

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