The popular holiday hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has topped the charts every year around Christmas since its debut in 1994. The catchy jingle, sung by Mariah Carey, was co-written by songwriter Walter Afanasieff. Afanasieff now says that he had a falling out with the singer, and that Carey has given him the cold shoulder ever since they parted ways.
“We had a falling out. I would have hoped that in 20 years, she would have knocked on my door — but she hasn’t, so,” Afanasieff said in an interview with Radio Times, where he revealed that the singer doesn’t like to acknowledge other people.
Afanasieff may not be a household name like Carey, but the songwriter has penned, produced, and performed on several popular records and singles in his 30-year career. In 1998, Afanasieff won a Grammy for the global chart-topper, “My Heart Will Go On,” sung by Celine Dion — the headlining musical component to the hit Titanic. He also worked with Ricky Martin on “She Bangs,” and Whitney Houston on “I’m Your Baby Tonight.”
Afanasieff and Carey worked together on more than just her Merry Christmas album. The duo co-wrote several of Carey’s biggest hits like “Emotions,” and “Anytime You Need A Friend.” Now, Afanasieff says that the closeness the two shared has fizzled away, and he hasn’t spoken to Carey in 20 years. The reason, he claims, is partly because of Carey’s failed marriage with Tommy Mottola, who the producer was still close with. But he also slammed Carey — and other famous singers — saying that they’re all insecure creatures.
“Singers like Mariah, Celine, Whitney [Houston], Barbra [Streisand]. They’re all very insecure creatures. If you start working on a song with another singer, the jealousy comes out. They’re very, very jealous people. So, I was working to put food on my table. I can’t only work with Mariah, I have to work with other people, and I think that was a bit of a problem ’cause I was working, at that time, with Celine [Dion], and there was a girl named Lara Fabian, too. So, I don’t know, we just parted ways,” the songwriter confessed.
He claims that you’ll never hear a singer like Carey say that they penned their hit tunes with anyone else. He revealed that the story Carey told in a 2017 interview with Billboard— an interview wherein the singer claimed that she came up with “All I Want For Christmas Is You” while she was just a kid — is not true.
“She came up with some crazy, crazy story over the last couple years that she wrote ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ when she was a kid on her Casio [keyboard]. And I go, that’s crazy, I wasn’t with you when you were a kid writing that song on the Casio, so why am I 50 percent owner of the song? It’s crazy stuff,” he said.
Though he is nostalgic for his time spent working with Carey — and despite the drama that unfolded between the two of them — Afanasieff says that he has nothing but love for the singer, though she may not reciprocate the feeling.
“I love Mariah Carey. She’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go both ways,” Afanasieff mused.