May 16, 2014 at 10:44 AM ET
Mariah Carey is back! And she wants everyone to know it, based on the title of her new album: "Me. I Am Mariah ... The Elusive Chanteuse." And on Friday, fans found her on TODAY — lighting up the plaza with performances, then sitting down to chat about herself and "Me."
The title, she said, came from a self-portrait she did as a 3-year-old. Her mom saved the image all these years, and now it graces the back of the new album, which she says is a "cohesive body of work" from start to finish.
"What it really is, is from that little girl and who she was and all that it has taken to kind of feel like a complete person," she explained.
Being complete to Carey involves not just her career, but her devotion to family — including husband (and "America's Got Talent" host) Nick Cannon and their "dem babies," 3-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan. She even got them to appear on a tune, "Supernatural," on the new record.
And Carey's a lucky mom. For the most part, the twins don't give her any trouble at all.
"The main thing is that they don't let me get enough sleep," she said. "That's the only thing, it's the truth. I would rather stay awake and watch their favorite movie ... and so we have to do that."
Earlier, Carey spread light across an otherwise gray day on the TODAY plaza, performing songs including "Touch My Body" and "You Don't Know What To Do" while wearing a slinky, sparkly black dress and a long black fingerless glove (she's still recovering from a dislocated shoulder injury from last July).
The singer will also light up another venue — the small screen — when she chats with TODAY's Matt Lauer in a special called "Me. I Am Mariah." In a short clip from that special, Carey and Cannon talked a little more about their home life, and it seems Cannon is as on board with domesticity as Carey.
"It truly is a family," said Cannon. "It doesn't matter what goes on outside of our household. As long as everything inside is tight and we enjoy it and embrace that union, and that foundation that we've built."
"Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse" will be available May 27. "Me. I Am Mariah" on NBC airs on May 31 at 8 p.m.