Christmas came early on Tuesday for hundreds of U.S. troops in Kosovo when pop diva Mariah Carey flew in to perform a festive concert for them.
“We want to give them a little glamour,” said the 31-year-old singer, sporting stylish military fatigues for her frontline “day out with the boys in the Balkans.”
One of the world’s most successful female artists of the past decade took a chartered jet from London to Skopje and then was off by helicopter for a whirlwind tour of bases in Kosovo.
Her top priority, she told Reuters on the flight out, was to boost morale for the American peacekeeping troops stationed there. “I think it is important as they are not going to have much of a holiday season. We just wanted to come here and support them.
“We were in Europe doing promotion and thought it might be something nice to do because not many people make it to Kosovo,” said the star, who has had 15 Number One singles and sold more than 150 million records worldwide.
Fellow popstar Janet Jackson canceled her European tour amid safety concerns after the September 11 attacks in the United States. Carey had no such qualms.
“I have a different philosophy to a lot of people,” she said. “Traveling and being around different fans around the world is kinda what keeps me going. It’s a different thing. I don’t do well just staying home and staying stationary in one place. I feel better being around people and doing things like this.”
The year 2001 has been one that the New Yorker would be more than ready to put behind her
In July, the singer spent two weeks being treated for what her publicist called “emotional and physical breakdown.”
Virgin Records had to delay the release of her first album under a lucrative new $80 million deal and then her biopic movie “Glitter” was panned by critics.
But the roller-coaster year was put firmly behind her on Tuesday as Carey went to meet the troops. “This is the first time I have ever done anything like this and definitely never anywhere as remote as Kosovo. We are all excited.”
Reuters Photo And there certainly won’t be any tantrums about the concert set, however makeshift.
“On my live shows I just wing it and do whatever. If the worst comes to the worst I’ll just sign autographs and hang out and trim the (Christmas) tree with them.”