The Art of Letting Go

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"The Art of Letting Go"
Single by Mariah Carey
from the album Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse
Released November 11, 2013 (2013-11-11)
Format Digital download
Length 3:44
Label Island
  • Carey
  • Darkchild
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"The Art of Letting Go"
"You're Mine (Eternal)"

"The Art of Letting Go" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey included on her fourteenth studio album, Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse (2014). It premiered via Facebook on November 11, 2013, as the third single from the album. It was co-written and co-produced by Carey with Rodney Jerkins.


"As a songwriter, I never like to be too totally specific, because I like people to be able to make it about their own life experiences," Carey said. "(But) there is an art to learning how to let go of things in your life, people in your life, things that are not good for you. Whatever the case may be."

The "Art of Letting Go" was originally released as the second single from Carey's formerly-named fourteenth studio album of the same name, following the lead single "Beautiful" featuring Miguel that was commercially successful, reaching number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and receiving a platinum certification from RIAA.[1] In June 2013, Carey left a message to her fans, stating: "While making this album, I got so immersed in the creative process that I just don't feel I would be doing it justice to release it on 7/23. I'd rather not exclude meaningful songs. I want to give you this album as it's meant to be heard. When I'm ready, you'll be the first 2 know!....".[2][3] In July 2013, Carey shot a video clip for the remix of "Beautiful" featuring Young Jeezy but an unexpected accident on the set resulted in the singer having a dislocated shoulder - thus delaying the album even more - as Carey stated the she needs time to recover.[4][5][6] On November 11, 2013; during a Q&A session following the song's Facebook release, Carey gave an update about the album, stating: "Now I've been inspired to add two more songs so we're almost there. I can't even express this properly but I feel like this is gonna be my favorite album.[7][8]


On October 28, 2013, Carey uploaded the single artwork on her Instagram.[9] The revealed artwork shows Carey kneeling down on a beach in front of a sunset.[10] Sam Lanksy on Idolator commanded the sexiness of Carey's emancipated body [...]" Wearing a swimsuit thing on a beach against a golden sunset, sporting tousled waves, her body is emancipated — just like her spirit". He also thought that it is more creative than the single cover of "Beautiful" as Carey appears more free here. "It's also an upgrade from the dismally sloppy 'Beautiful' artwork — and a good sign of things to come".[11]


Manager and longtime friend Jermaine Dupri invented the Idea of the Facebook release

Carey's new manager and longtime friend Jermaine Dupri planned to release the song via the singer's official Facebook page on November 11, 2013. Carey stated that she wanted to share the song on Facebook since the music industry is taking advantage of the social media where the fans can globally listen to the song at once despite the time difference.[12] Commenting on the personal message of the song, Carey wrote to her fans on her Facebook page: "I could not be more thrilled to announce that my new single, 'The Art Of Letting Go', will be released exclusively on Facebook on 11 November. This song is very personal to me and I am very excited to share this experience with you in a way so intimate. I do not even know what to say". In an Interview with Fuse conducted on October 24, 2013, Carey spke about her relationship with her fans: "It's not like, 'Oh, here comes the new world of the Internet. Let me figure out how to adapt myself into this.' No. It was always either calling my fans... or having fans wait hours on end in front of a signing, and I tried to do things like buy pizza for them."[13]

On being asked about the release strategy, Dupri stated to Global14 that in the age of illegal download and biased radio airplay, Facebook is the best place on the internet to keep Carey's fans updated to her latest work where many of whom are now old-schooled and may not have iTunes account nor a large fan base like contemporary established artists. He added: "With basically 1 day left before the release of 'The Art Of Letting Go' on Mariah's Facebook page, I thought it was important to share with my Lifers, things I’ve learned through this exercise. First off, as big as Facebook is, when it comes to music people still question how much ground will actually get covered, I've gotten messages every day from lambs like this. Mariah’s fanbase isn’t like Biebers in that it isn't full of teenagers who sit on iTunes. Many of them are old skool and need to be exposed to the song on radio first to want to support her, so while the Facebook premiere will attract a lot of die hard fans, many more fans will only be exposed to Mariah by airplay and that is what will drive up her iTunes position."

Composition and lyrical interpretation[edit]

"The Art of Letting Go" is an empowering gospel and classic R&B ballad with use of the piano, strings, and guitar.[14][15] It was written by Carey and Jerkins.[16] The lyrics of the song talks about a personal experience Carey faced throughout the years specifically her early career days when she was signed to Columbia Records through her relationship with her then-husband, the former executive of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola. At that time she was not being herself and did not produce the music she always wanted to be, until her 1997 studio album, Butterfly, changed her image drastically. Carey wrote on her Facebook page that she never likes to be specific in her lyrical content to any song so all the fans can add their experiences and related to the song. "For the first time Ever! 'The Art of Letting Go' on Facebook!!!!...This is such a personal record to me. I wrote the lyrics so that anyone and everyone could relate to them and hopefully release anything that they need to let go of that’s holding them back or bringing them down. Thank you for sharing this experience with me!"[17] The song was originally inspiration to also call the album The Art of Letting Go[18] however, during in interview with MTV in February 2014, Carey revealed that she was frustrated the album title leaked as she had not intended for the public to know about it just yet, as a result she would be retitling the album.[19]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, "The Art of Letting Go" was met with general acclaim from contemporary music critics. Mike Ayers of Rolling Stone complimented the song's overall production describing it as Carey's most controlled performance in years as well as commending the notes at the climax through calling them classic Mariah. "The melancholy number finds Carey in fine form, exploring loss over a smooth, orchestral production. The song builds steadily over three and a half minutes, and just when you think that it might be one of Carey's more controlled performances in years, she brings it home with classic Carey high notes."[20]Rap-Up acclaimed the song and the personal direction of the single, writing: "The wait is over. After overcoming a painful injury, Mariah Carey soars once again with her new single 'The Art of Letting Go'."[21] Erika Ramirez of Billboard complimented lyrical content describing Carey as singing after a heartbreak and she commended Carey for the vocal belts towards the end.[22]

Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly compared the song as a nice throwback of "Vision of Love" as well as commending the hooked lyrics and the use of the line "Go to Mimi on your contact/ press delete".[23] Kevin Fallon of The Daily Beast hailed the simplicity of the ballad and commended that overall synthesized production of the song "'The Art of Letting Go', is a much-needed lesson that great pop music is composed of the most basic group of ingredients—a stellar voice and straightforward orchestrations—even if it’s admittedly not the most explosive track that Carey has ever produced."[24] Brian Mansfield of USA Today described the song as a "gospel ballad" and proof that Carey "could, indeed, sound captivating singing the phone book... 'The Art of Letting Go' is a vent disguised as a gospel ballad and has lyrics that often sound rushed and awkward."[25]

Robert Copsey of Digital Spy awarded the song four stars out of five, commending the single title. "It's a typically wordy but wonderfully apt name, given that after the so-so success of previous offering '#Beautiful' (and disastrous showing for "buzz" single 'Triumphant') she delayed its release from July to some time next year. But after endless teasing, could this be the smash she's seemingly holding out for?". Additionally Copsey didn't expect any commercial success for the single since Carey admitted that she doesn't follow any particular trend in music, he added "The short answer is no. An orchestral R&B ballad packed with Mariah-isms ('Go to Mimi on your contacts... press delete') and no major hook is never going to set the charts alight, but something tells us Carey is more than aware of this. Rather than buying into the current trends for EDM, guest rappers or shock tactics, she's adopted a welcomely serene approach and stripped it back to the core basics of her earlier work: old-school soul that culminates in a stunning finale that only Mariah knows how."[26]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, "The Art of Letting Go" failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but it did peak at number 46 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[27] It also reached number 13 on the Hot R&B Songs chart and number 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs chart.[28][29] In Australia, it peaked at number 82 on the singles chart, but fared better on the urban chart, reaching number eight.[30] In Europe, the song performed best in Spain, reaching number 29,[31] but charted on the lower regions of the singles charts in France and the United Kingdom, at numbers 84 and 90, respectively.[32][33] In South Korea, it debuted at number 66 with digital download sales of 3,198 units upon the release of the album in May 2014.[34]

Live performance[edit]

Carey performed "The Art of Letting Go" for the first and only time live on NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly on December 31, 2013.[35][36]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Recorded at Rapture Studios, Bel Air, CA; Metrocity Studios, New York, NY; Pon de Islands Studios, Antigua; Jungle City Studios, New York City, NY; Capital Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA; Sunset Studios, Hollywood, CA; RMS Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Mixed at Ninja Beat Club, Atlanta, GA

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse.[37]


Chart (2013) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[30] 82
Australia (ARIA Urban)[30] 8
France (SNEP)[32] 84
Ireland (IRMA)[38] 96
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[31] 29
UK Singles Chart (OCC)[33] 90
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[27] 46
Chart (2014) Peak
South Korea International Digital Singles (Gaon)[34] 66

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Worldwide November 11, 2013 Facebook premiere[12]
United States Digital download


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  5. ^ "Daytime in No Time". Yahoo! TV. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ Smith, Emily (July 8, 2013). "Mariah Carey rushed to hosp. after dislocating shoulder on video set". New York Post. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "With crochet swimsuit, Mariah Carey releases cover of new single". Musica Terra. October 29, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
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  10. ^ Black, Kathryn (October 29, 2013). "Mariah Carey unveils The Art of Letting Go Artwork". Hit The Floor. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ Lanksy, Sam (October 28, 2013). "Mariah Carey Emancipates Her Body on "The Art of Letting Go Single Artwork"". Idolator. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
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  13. ^ James, Nicole (October 24, 2013). "Mariah Carey Talks "Genius" Facebook Music Release". Fuse. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  14. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (November 11, 2013). "Mariah Carey "Art of Letting Go"". Fuse. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
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  17. ^ ""Mariah Carey"=Art of Letting Go Personal Massage on Facebook". Facebook. November 11, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Ayers, Mike (November 11, 2013). "Mariah Carey Releases New Single - The Art of Letting Go". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  21. ^ "New Music- Mariah Carey - The Art of Letting Go". Rap-Up. November 11, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  22. ^ Ramirez, Erika (November 11, 2013). "Mariah Carey Releases New Song - The Art of Letting Go - Go Listen". Billboard. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  23. ^ Anderson, Kyle. "Mariah Carey - The Art of Letting Go - New Single". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  24. ^ Fallon, Kevin. "Mariah Carey Releases New Single - The Art of Letting Go". The Daily Beast. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  25. ^ Mansfield, Brain (November 11, 2013). "Playlist - Mariah Carey - The Art of Letting Go". USA Today. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  26. ^ Copsey, Robert (November 12, 2013). "The Art of Letting Go - review". Digital Spy. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (June 4, 2014). "'Elusive' Sales for Mariah Carey's New Album". Billboard. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Hot R&B Songs. The Week of November 30, 2013". Billboard. November 30, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  29. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs. The Week of November 30, 2013". Billboard. November 30, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b c "ARIA Report 1239" (PDF). Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b " – Mariah Carey – The Art Of Letting Go" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  32. ^ a b " – Mariah Carey – The Art Of Letting Go" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  33. ^ a b "Archive Chart". UK Singles Chart. The Official Charts Company. November 23, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "South Korea Gaon International Digital Chart (Week: 2014.05.25 to 2014.05.31)". Gaon Chart. June 1, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Mariah Carey announces 'The Art of Letting Go' for spring 2014, prepping new single for Valentine's Day [Video]" (video). Music Times. January 2, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  36. ^ Williott, Carl (January 2, 2014). "Mariah Carey To Release Next Single On Valentine’s Day". Idolator. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  37. ^ Carey, Mariah (2014). Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse (Liner Notes) (Compact Disc). Mariah Carey. New York City, New York: Def Jam. 
  38. ^ "Chart Track: Week 46, 2013". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 21, 2013.