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Magic back with Mimi

New York, March 28 (Reuters): On this severely cold March night, Mariah Carey is inside a studio at MTV taping an interview for an upcoming broadcast. Walking out of the studio, she is heard muttering to no one in particular, 'The abuse I endure is never-ending'.

Minutes later, ensconced in one of the cable network's many conference rooms, Carey smiles and laughs. 'I'm a little dramatic at times,' she says, referring to the 'abuse' comment. 'I know, I know, it's tough to believe. But it's true.'

Sure, the multi-million-selling, two-time Grammy Award winner has experienced great highs and lows in the course of her 15-year career. But on the eve of the April 12 US release of her eighth studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi, Carey is confident, upbeat and spirited. The Emancipation of Mimi ' the title comes from the singer's nickname ' arrives on March 30 in Japan and April 4 in the rest of the world outside the US.

The collection of songs rightfully places her voice front and centre. It is as if Carey is returning to the place that put her on the map. Which helps explain the campaign in major markets like New York and Los Angeles that proclaims 'The return of the voice'.

Giggling (again), Carey says, 'Oh, so you've seen the posters' That's good.' On a more serious note, she says, 'The voice has been here all along. Even if you listen to the oh-so-dissed Glitter (soundtrack), there is a song called Lead the Way, which is one of my best vocal performances ever.'

She continues, 'People who only heard certain singles would be like, 'Why is she singing so breathy' Some people are of the opinion that if you have a big voice you should use it all the time.'

When Carey sings, she says, it's not about 'showing off so everybody can hear me singing at the top of my lungs. But truth be told, I feel that my voice is in a better place than it has been in years'. She credits this to her Charmbracelet tour in 2003: 'It was my longest tour ever, and it got me in great shape vocally.'

The album's lead single, It's Like That, is a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The second single is the anthemic power ballad We Belong Together.

To further showcase Carey and that voice, a tour is being discussed.

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