Beef Over Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Continues — Carey Responds to Co-Writer Accusation

Mariah Carey Christmas beef
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Mariah Carey Christmas beef
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Photo Credit: The United States Army Band / CC by 2.0

Beef over Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” continues as the singer responds to co-writer Walter Afanasieff’s claims.

Mariah Carey’s former co-producer and co-writer, Walter Afanasieff, told the “Hot Takes & Deep Dives” podcast that stories of the singer writing her hit Christmas track on a Casio keyboard as a child were fictitious. Now the 52-year-old singer has responded — or at least her representation has.

“Mariah has never claimed to write ‘All I Want for Christmas’ by herself or as a child. She has always credited Walter, as he is cited as a writer on the song, so that would be ridiculous,” said a rep for Carey. “Not sure where that rumor came from, but Mariah is very respectful of writers and the craft, as she is a songwriter herself.”

Additionally, Carey shared a 1994 clip of her from VH1 on her Instagram story. The clip shows her explaining the behind-the-scenes of the writing of “All I Want for Christmas.”

“I was up at the farm, upstate where we did the video, and it was nighttime, and I was just walking around, and I got the idea for the song,” Mariah Carey says in the clip. 

“I don’t know where it came from; sometimes things just come to me like that,” she explained. “That melody just came into my head, the verse melody. And then, I was walking around, and I just went in, and I had a little keyboard set up there, and I just kind of finished the lyrics, and the melody just came pretty quickly.”

The 64-year-old Afanasieff said that the two of them were initially on the same page about the song’s origins, but about ten years ago, the story began to change.

“She started to hint at the fact that, ‘Oh, I wrote that song when I was a little girl.’ But why weren’t you saying that for 12 or 13, or 15 years prior to that? So it just sort of developed in her mind,” he told the “Hot Takes & Deep Dives” podcast, claiming that the Grammy-winning artist “doesn’t understand music.”

“She doesn’t play anything; she doesn’t play keyboard or piano. She doesn’t understand music. She doesn’t know chord changes and music theory or anything like that. She doesn’t know a diminished chord from a minor seventh chord to a major seventh chord,” said Afanasieff.

“So to claim that she wrote a very complicated chord-structured song with her finger on a Casio keyboard when she was a little girl, it’s kind of a tall tale,” he added.

While representation for Carey denies that she ever claimed to have written the song as a little girl, the singer-songwriter did tell Billboard in 2017 that she came up with it when she was a kid.

“I am proud of this song that I wrote basically as a kid on my little Casio keyboard,” Carey said at the time.

Carey and Afanasieff are credited equally for the Christmas song, with no additional writers or producers. The two worked together on several of Carey’s studio albums, such as Emotions and Music Box.