Mariah Carey celebrates the 25th anniversary of Butterfly on Friday and is releasing a special anniversary edition of the album to mark the milestone.
Mariah told Variety what the album symbolizes. "I didn't have a thing with butterflies when I was a kid ... It is just something that happened," she said. "When I made that album, I was leaving a point in my life that was extremely stifling and I had to go through an actual metamorphosis to become a grown woman who was strong enough to get out of that situation. It was me breaking through, to become free enough to fly."
The Grammy winner divorced Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola during that time of "metamorphosis." She hinted he was a key player in making her continually churn out pop music. Mariah also said she kept seeing butterflies at the time and adopted them as her symbol of power.
"It was then and there I was able to gain my freedom. There’s no price you can put on that. There is nothing more valuable than freedom," she expressed.
Butterfly was Mariah's entry into R&B and hip-hop, and -- as she says -- proof of her liberation. "You can hear a sense of emancipation there before I ever did The Emancipation of Mimi," she dished in reference to her 2005 studio album. "This album, Butterfly, consists of slivers of my life back then."
Butterfly 25 arrives Friday and includes a cover of Prince's "The Beautiful Ones." Mariah said Prince was instrumental in releasing Butterfly because her label wanted her to stay pop.
"He defended me to record executives who didn’t understand my decision to make an album like that. The execs didn’t understand me veering from a successful formula. But Prince understood," she said.