Many religious organizations have music guidelines. But, if you’re allowed some freedom with song choice, look for some modern funeral songs, like ones from Mariah Carey, to add to the service. She’s been one of the powerhouses of contemporary American music since coming onto the scene in the 1990s, creating an impressive discography of singles and number one hits.
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There’s also an increasing trend to stream events online, making it possible for those unable to attend important occasions in life to have a kind of destination service right from their home. If you’re planning a remote service, the right music can help viewers feel engaged and immersed.
Mariah Carey knows how to touch the heartstrings and convey emotion in song. Check out the following tunes and covers of Carey for some inspiration.
Uplifting Mariah Carey Songs for a Funeral
What makes an uplifting funeral song isn’t just about the music or score; the message also matters. Below is a wide selection of songs from throughout Mariah Carey’s career. Some of them you’ll know right away, while others may find a new place and with a new meaning in your heart.
1. “Forever” by Mariah Carey
"Forever" debuted on Carey's 1995 album, Daydream. It works as an uplifting funeral song because it comes from a place of devotion and love, identical to how many feel about their loved one.
2. “When I Saw You” covered by Eric Joel
Eric Joel’s version of “When I Saw You” stays close to the original, and you won’t find a lot of differences in the melody or any other unusual adaptations.
3. “Always Be My Baby” covered by Travis Atreo
Seattle’s singer/songwriter, Travis Atreo, takes on Carey’s classic. His bare rendition uses only a piano and his voice for an effect that makes her song personal to his experiences.
4. “Underneath the Stars” by Mariah Carey
Memories often get compressed into snippets like mentally recalling part of a movie or when you only reread a section of your diary. "Underneath the Stars" provides that same flash of time; that same chance to look back at a moment that altered your life enough to change everything.
5. “Never Forget You” by Mariah Carey
This song works if you’re looking for a song that speaks of devotion, memories, and keeping someone forever in your heart. Check out a few lyrics:
No, I'll never forget you
I'll never let you out of my heart
You will always be here with me
I'll hold on to the memories
You will always be dear to me baby
6. “Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child” by Mariah Carey
Here's an uplifting song that's suitable for a funeral service when you're looking to hear Gospel singing alongside the story of the birth of Jesus. Although it’s on Carey's holiday album, you may appreciate her message and make it work when it’s most needed, no matter the time of year.
7. “Fly Away” by Mariah Carey
When this song is playing, it doesn't take much to imagine everyone’s good thoughts and prayers are lifting your loved one's spirit into heaven on angel's wings. Mariah Carey's five-octave range comes out clear and ethereal, lifting spirits along with it.
8. “The Star” by Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey wrote, "The Star" for a movie about the Christian Nativity. It'd be appropriate for a funeral if religion played a pivotal role in your loved one's life. Many follow that same “star” and allow its presence to guide every critical aspect of life.
9. “Bye Bye” by Mariah Carey
It’s said that "Bye Bye" is based on Mariah Carey's father, who died from cancer. But it also encompasses the general feeling of loss for just about anyone in your life.
You might find the title of the song is a bit misleading, because it’s less about saying goodbye, and more about keeping that person in your heart.
10. “One Child” by Mariah Carey
Losing a loved one during a holiday redefines it, replacing the association of joy with pain. If you're experiencing this awful circumstance, consider music with a positive message. This is not an easy time, but in doing this, you’ll allow yourself to make it a holiday about happy remembrances versus one clouded in sorrow.
11. “I Pray” by Mariah Carey
Carey’s 2005 album, Rarities, produced some incredible music. One song therein was “I Pray,” which addresses some hard truths about humanity and life. Its upbeat vibe and powerful messages could help shine a light on the dark roads ahead.
12. “Close My Eyes” by Mariah Carey
Without a doubt, Mariah Carey's work and time with Columbia records produced an incredible collection of work. "Close My Eyes" is part of that catalog. It works as an uplifting song for relationships filled with respect, growth, struggles, and successes, such as those with a parent or mentor.
13. “The Art of Letting Go” by Mariah Carey
Let’s face it, not all relationships are good or healthy, made evident by those scathing obituaries you read from time to time. In a sense, you’re not alone.
Maybe “The Art of Letting Go” won't be the uplifting song you'll play while at the funeral, but it could be the one you keep in your head to get you through the day.
Sad or Sorrowful Mariah Carey Songs for a Funeral
Covering a Mariah Carey song is a difficult task not only because of her vocal range, but because she puts so many personal stories into her lyrics. Those that do take the challenge tend to be pretty amazing vocalists. We’ve listed a few of those covers below, as well as some covers that Carey made for others throughout her career.
14. “Against All Odds” covered by Mariah Carey
When Carey covers a song, it’s obvious she feels some kind of a connection to it. You’ll hear that connection in Phil Collins's song, "Against All Odds, “ which Collins said that he wrote from a place of misery. Here are a few lines:
So take a look at me now
Well there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face
15. “Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)” by Mariah Carey
The loneliness the singer experiences, while everyone else seems to be happy and enjoying their holidays, will drench you with an earnest, ugly cry. “Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)” works for those dealing with loss while the rest of the world is celebrating.
16. “Vanishing” by Mariah Carey
This song isn't just about loss; it's about how someone's memory can fade with time—or vanish. You can look online for a version from Kelly Clarkson to hear it acapella, but Carey’s performance with the instrumentals is incomparable.
17. “The Wind” by Mariah Carey.
"The Wind" is one of Carey's more jazzy/sultry songs. The breathlessness adds an element that mimics the title of the music, including the way someone might float away from us. Check out some of the lyrics:
You've flown into the wind
Escaping all the hurt within
Took to the sky
Leaving all the world behind
18. “Til The End of Time” covered by SOPitchy
Mariah Carey's 1991 album, Emotions produced this song. In the search for covers, I stumbled on SOPitchy, who's got a clear and resonant voice. Check out his version for a rendition of the original.
19. “Without You” by Mariah Carey
Music Box was Carey's third album and this is yet another song where she collaborated with writer Walter Afanasieff. The mix of contemporary and hip hop makes this one of her most beloved songs of all time.
20. “Looking In” by Mariah Carey
Carey has an extensive history of albums dating back to the early 90s. "Looking In" made its mark on her 1995 album, Daydream, where it has an extensive instrumental background and an ever so slight Latin guitar influence.
21. “Open Arms” covered by Mariah Carey
On the same Daydream album is "Open Arms," a song made famous by the band Journey and the incomparable Steve Perry. Carey's version does complete justice to the original piece while giving it her trademark warble and vocal range.
22. “My All” covered by Rochelle Diamante
Diamante's cover of "My All" includes some Latin-influenced guitar sounds. She hits the notes similar to Carey and doesn’t alter the song's essence too much. While it's got a romantic feeling to the words, it works for both a memorial or funeral slideshow.
23. “Rainbow” by Mariah Carey
At just one minute 32 seconds, "Rainbow" is one of Carey's shortest songs listed here. But it's also an indication of new writing partnerships and production, where she broke away from the first few albums she created lyrically to start a new chapter in her singing career.
Modern Music for Funerals
Mariah Carey has written some of the most memorable and prized songs in American music history. Those result in some of the best funeral songs you could choose for your loved one.
Hopefully, we’ve provided you with a wide enough selection to find one or more pieces that are suitable for the services of a loved one.