As a world traveler who's been bouncing around to Paris, Miami, the Bahamas, Jamaica and most recently St. Tropez, Mariah Carey knows a thing or two about being relaxed and inspired by exotic locales.
But none of those spots, she said, have a thing on Italy, where she lived during the summer while recording parts of her upcoming Charmbracelet (December 10).
"This album is probably the most personal album I've ever made," she said. "I basically moved into the studio in Italy. I was writing songs in my little apartment upstairs, then I would go downstairs and record them at night. I had so much to say, [and] this was the perfect outlet for me to do that."
Charmbracelet's likely next single, "The One," was co-written with Jermaine Dupri. "It's a personal song," Mariah said. "I've been collaborating with Jermaine since we did 'Always Be My Baby' in 1996. So every time we do something together it's a special moment for me. The song is kinda about when you feel hurt in relationships in the past, and maybe you meet somebody and you want to get involved but you're unsure whether you should or not."
Mariah said the video will likely be directed by Joseph Kahn (DMX, Janet Jackson) on location in Japan.
For another track, "Oh Boy," Mariah looked to Cam'ron's Come Home With Me LP. "I redid Cam'ron's 'Oh Boy' for the record, and Cam'ron came out to Capri and did his rhyme out there. It's definitely one of my favorites, 'cause I love the original. It was cool to have him out there doing his thing in such a random environment."
Cam'ron wasn't the only member of Roc-A-Fella to record on the album. Jay-Z and Freeway appear on "You Got Me."
" 'You Got Me' is a song produced by Just Blaze," Carey explained. "We went in the studio after I heard the 'Oh Boy' track he did for Cam'ron 'cause I just loved it. This is kind of a signature Just Blaze track. We had Freeway on the song, and Jay-Z was in Capri this year taking a little vacation and he came and heard the song. He said he wanted to get on it."
One person who didn't make the album was Justin Timberlake. The two did work together, but Carey said their collaboration will appear in the future via a remix.
"Justin and I did a song together called 'Yours,' which is probably going to be on the remix of that song," she said. "He did an amazing job on the vocals and I was happy with what he did. It's sort of a romantic, mid tempo R&B record that Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and I wrote together."
Besides working on her own disc, Carey has also gotten on the new Busta Rhymes album, It Ain't Safe No More, which drops November 26.