Mariah Carey — Songwriter Accuses Singer Of Not Giving Him Credit For ‘All I Want For Christmas’: She Continues To Deny Existence Of A Co-Writer
This holiday season has been extra joyous for Mariah Carey as her 25-year-old classic “All I Want For Christmas” reaches new heights.
Most recently, the song peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for the first time since it was released in 1994.
At the same time, the co-writer and co-producer of the song Walter Afanasieff, isn’t necessarily experiencing the cheer this season.
In a new interview with Variety, he accused Mariah Carey of failing to give him credit for penning the successful song with her.
She previously said of the song,
“I am proud of this song that I wrote basically as a kid on my little Casio keyboard. I just sat down, decorated a little tree and put on ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and tried to get into that mood. Then I sat in this small room with a keyboard and started doing little melodies and stuff.”
Walter Afanasieff said he just wants to get the credit he said he deserves, but that desire has caused him to get lots of backlash on social media as trolls basically say he’d be nothing without Mariah Carey and the song.
“With the crazy, wonderful, miraculous thing that this is in my life for the last 25 years, it has come to a place where it’s almost bittersweet for me because of the fact that I’m constantly, every single year at this same time of the year having to defend myself, because a lot of people just don’t believe that I’m a co-writer of the song. Mariah has been very wonderful, positive and a force of nature. She’s the one that made the song a hit and she’s awesome. But she definitely does not share credit where credit is due. As a result, it has really hurt my reputation, and as a result, has left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Because here it is, such a wonderful, huge event for me, yet my life is being threatened on the Internet, because Mariah fans are accusing me of stealing from her.”
I want to talk about the song, since I’m a co-writer, I own 50% of the song, we’re equal co-writers, we’re so joyous and, and I mean, we’re so blessed. yet I can’t call her. She doesn’t call me. She continues to deny the existence of a co-writer on this. So on this wonderful first day that the song is No. 1 on the Hot 100, I’m still being attacked left and right and ridiculed and pummeled by the Internet and social media.
He went on to say he’s confused because it’s not the only song the two have written together. They’ve also written hits like “One Sweet Day” feat. Boyz II Men and “Hero”.
“Mariah Carey and I have written a hundred songs together. So to deny my songwriting partnership with her on this one song doesn’t really make sense. All the songs we write are all 50/50, partnership songs. In fact, if you ask Mariah Carey, “Who did you write ‘Hero’ with” or “Who did you write ‘One Sweet Day’ with,” she’ll go, “Oh, well, I wrote that with Walter Afanasieff.” On this one particular song, for some reason, she’s decided to wrap her arms around this in such a way: like she almost does not want to admit [a co-writer]. We wrote three songs on the Christmas album that this is from, 50/50, all in one area of time, together in a house in New York during the summer of 1994. … So on this joyous first 24 hours of this news coming into my world saying that the song went No. 1, you get excited and you get friends and family wishing you congratulations. And my wife posted something on Instagram and, oh boy, it’s like hundreds of just haters. And it makes me realize: is this something that legally hurts my character, my professional name and my professional integrity as a producer and songwriter, that over two decades I’m being branded a liar and a cheat and a charlatan? I’m not bitter in any way, shape or form. I’m just saying, geez, I wish people weren’t such haters. It’s just not fair, to me and my family anymore, to have these horrible, ugly words that have nothing to do with the truth.”
When asked if his reputation has taken a hit, he said,
“Oh, absolutely. There are obviously people in the music business that I’m associated with who know not to believe in that stuff. I’m very reputable, and I’ve never lied or burned a bridge. But I would guess that the people who don’t know me… This is consistently a bad thing, every single year…”
“I think that when you go around not correcting and letting the poison in people’s minds continue without ever setting the record straight, I think that you’re just as equally responsible for some of the negativity and for poisoning the well. … I just know that for 25 years in a row, she’s never given me any credit. She wrote a lot of wonderful, beautiful songs with me. She’s the artist — they’re her songs, but we wrote them together. I’m so blessed because of her. She’s extraordinarily talented. I kiss the ground she walks on. I’ve never said a bad word. She’s been nothing but a blessing in my life.”
He also shared how the song came about.
“We wrote the melody together and all the chords and all the music that you hear… And then she went off and she wrote her lyric, which she does to every song that we’ve ever written. … She absolutely contributed to the melody. Here’s how it goes. In this case we were at the piano, and I played a series of chords, kind of like a boogie-woogie, one of those like Louis Prima, old-school rock piano kind of things, which is obvious when you hear the song. Mariah didn’t play the piano, I did. So in playing these series of chords, she started to develop a melody for the verse that led to interval, interval, interval, that she went back and forth with me — we changed this, we didn’t like that, we went somewhere else – a series of events that songwriters will have with each other. And finally coming up with pretty much what we both thought was a really good musical bed, knowing where it was going to go as the melody of the song. Of course, there were no lyrics yet, because when we’re writing together, she doesn’t like to immediately start writing the lyrics, so that was something that came later. But sitting at the piano, we created a melody/chordal progression song. I went home to San Francisco, she stayed in New York, and I made the entire track of what you hear, excluding the vocals, of course, and did that on my own. She was never in the room. I produced and recorded and arranged and played every single instrumental on the track, on my own, knowing that I think she would like this or wouldn’t like that. I then brought the truck back to her in New York, and she obviously liked everything, and we started to record vocals.”