Mariah Carey and Mixed-ish Aren't the First: 14 Pop Stars Who've Recorded TV Theme Songs

From Selena Gomez to Destiny's Child, there are the music superstars who've lent their talents to opening sequences on the small screen.

By Billy Nilles 24 Sep, 2019 10:00 AMTags
TV Theme Songs - Mixed-ish, Mariah CareyABC/Brian Bowen Smith, Steve Granitz/WireImage

When Black-ish fans tune in to new spinoff Mixed-ish's series premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 24, they should recognize a very familiar voice when the show's opening credits roll.

And that's because the series, the third in what ABC is calling creator Kenya Barris' "ish" franchise, landed none other than Mimi herself, Mariah Carey, to perform the comedy's theme song!

The new series tells the tale of Johnson family matriarch Rainbow (played by Tracee Ellis Ross on Black-ish) and her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s, chronicling the trials and tribulations they face while trying to acclimate in the suburbs while trying to stay true to themselves after life on a hippie commune. Mixed-ish stars Arica Himmel as the young Bow, with Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tika Sumpter as her parents Paul and Alicia. Christina Anthony, Ethan William Childress, Mykal-Michelle Harris and Gary Cole also star.

Not only does Mariah perform the theme song, "In the Mix," but she wrote it and co-produced it alongside Daniel Moore, as well. And considering her own personal connection to the show's concept, her involvement makes total sense.

 

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"As a fan of Kenya Barris' megahit shows, black-ish and grown-ish, I was inspired to connect with Kenya to find a way we could work together," the iconic singer said in a statement announcing her involvement. "As a biracial woman in the entertainment industry, there was no way I did not want to be a part of mixed-ish, especially after seeing the pilot, which I loved. I could not be more honored and proud to be writing and performing 'In the Mix' for Kenya and the show."

Of course, Mariah's far from the first pop star to lend their vocal prowess to TV theme songs over the years. Check out those who've come before her!

Eve: Missy Elliott

When Eve landed her own self-titled sitcom on the UPN in 2003, she made the conscious effort not to perform any music on the series. "I decided not to even do music for the opening scene, so people can actually see me as an actress," she told the Sun-Sentinel that year. So the show turned to fellow female rapper Missy Elliott for "The Opposite of Sex," the show's theme song, which she also wrote. In the first season's ninth episode, Missy also made a cameo as herself.

Shake It Up: Selena Gomez

When Disney Channel was preparing to launch this Zendaya and Bella Thorne-starring sitcom in 2010, they turned to a network fave to sing the show's theme song: Selena Gomez. Having already handled performing "Everything Is Not What It Seems," the theme for her own series, Wizards of Waverly Place, not to mention launching a music career of her own with Selena Gomez & the Scene's first album in 2009, Selena was a perfect fit. Fun fact: The song went on to be featured during the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race as that week's soundtrack for the lip sync between contestants Vivacious and April Carrion.

The Affair: Fiona Apple

When creator Sarah Treem needed an appropriately haunting theme song for her moody new Showtime series The Affair in 2014, she lucked out when Fiona Apple agreed to revamp an unreleased track called "Container" specifically for the show. "Fiona Apple has been my favorite songwriter since I was 16. I am honored and humbled that she has chosen to lend her talent to our opening title sequence," Treem said in a statement at the time. "If our show can approach one tenth of the depth and complexity of her song, I'll be very happy."

The Big Bang Theory: Barenaked Ladies

When producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady were developing The Big Bang Theory for CBS in 2007, they attended one of the Canadian band's concerts in Los Angeles where co-lead singer Ed Robertson, having just finished reading Simon Singh's book Big Bang, happened to improvise a freestyle rap about the origins of the universe. It prompted them to ask him to write the show's theme song, the now-iconic fast-paced history of, well, everything, and the rest of history. A full-length version, clocking in at one minute and 45 seconds, was released on the band's greatest hits album, Hits from Yesterday & the Day Before, in 2011.

Kim Possible: Christina Milian

No tea, no shade, but when Kim Possible premiered on Disney Channel in 2002, it came along with perhaps the most enduring hit of Christina Milian's music career. The "Dip It Low" singer performed the animated series' classic theme song, "Call Me, Beep Me!" which made a return when the network debuted a live-action film adaptation of the series in 2019.

The Proud Family: Solange Knowles feat. Destiny's Child

When Disney Channel was ready to launch animated comedy The Proud Family in 2001, the network tapped Beyonce's younger sis Solange, still just a teenager and beginning her music career, to sing the show's theme song. Her backup? A little group by the name of Destiny's Child. Perhaps you've heard of them?

Orange Is the New Black: Regina Spektor

When it came time for Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan to find someone to create the theme song for her hit Netflix series, which just wrapped up a seven-season run, there was only one person she had in mind: Indie pop singer/songwriter Regina Spektor. "I listened to Regina's albums obsessively while writing the series, so I immediately thought of her for our theme song," Kohan told Entertainment Weekly in 2013. "I had total faith in her and she nailed it." Spektor went on to write and perform the now-iconic "You've Got Time" specifically for the show, earning herself her first Grammy nomination in the process. Sadly, she lost Best Song Written for Visual Media in 2014 to Adele's Bond theme "Skyfall."

All That: TLC

An essential element of the classic Nickelodeon sketch show, which debuted in 1994 and aired for 10 seasons through 2005 before being revived in 2019, was its weekly musical guest. To drive that point home, the producers enlisted the pilot's musical guest, powerhouse girl group TLC, to record the iconic theme song. 

Kenan & Kel: Coolio

When All That breakouts Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell were given their own spin-off series by Nickelodeon in 1996, producers enlisted rapper Coolio, who'd appeared as a musical guest in each of the sketch show's first two seasons, to perform the new show's theme song, "Aw, Here It Goes."

A Different World: Aretha Franklin

While she may not have written the theme for this Cosby Show spinoff, which aired on NBC for six seasons from 1987 to 1993, or even been the first artist to sing it for the show, it was a huge moment when the Queen of Soul agreed to re-record the track, written by Stu Gardner, Bill Cosby and Dawnn Lewis (one of the show's eventual stars). Replacing Phoebe Snow, Aretha's version of the song was used for seasons two through five. She, too, found herself replaced in season six with a New Jack Swing version recorded by Boyz II Men.

Dog, the Bounty Hunter: Ozzy Osbourne

When this reality series chronicling Duane "Dog" Chapman's adventures as a bounty hunter debuted on A&E in 2004, it was none other than the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, growling lyrics like "I'll hunt you down 'cause I'm the dog/I'm the dog, the big bad dog" on the show's theme song. Written by Mark Hudson, "Dog, the Bounty Hunter" was eventually released on Osbourne's 2005 Prince of Darkness four-disc box set.

One Day at a Time: Gloria Estefan

For Netflix's Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear's classic sitcom One Day at a Time with a Cuban-American family at the center—which has been rescued by Pop TV for season four after the streaming service gave the beloved series the chop—there was no one better to turn to for a reinvention of the show's theme song, "This Is It," than the Cubano powerhouse husband-and-wife team of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, who arranged and performed the new version, respectively.

Fuller House: Carly Rae Jepsen

When Netflix gave the female-fronted Full House sequel series Fuller House the greenlight in 2016, they turned to pop princess Carly Rae Jepsen for a sparkly new version of the iconic "Everywhere You Look," performed by Jesse Frederick for the TGIF staple that ran from 1987-1995. And when the offer came her way, she forced her team to find time in her busy schedule so she could take it on. "Full House is essentially my childhood. It was my favorite TV show growing up," she told Rolling Stone. "When I found out that [Taylor Swift and Pink producer] Butch Walker was part of it too, that sealed the deal for me, because obviously I admire what he's done and heard such great things that I was dying to get in the room and combine two things I was very curious about."

Mixed-ish: Mariah Carey

For the third entry into the "ish" universe, following Black-ish and Grown-ish, Mixed-ish flashes back to the '80s to tell the story of Johnson family matriarch Rainbow (played by Tracee Ellis Ross on Black-ish, Arica Himmel on Mixed-ish) growing up in a mixed-race household. For the show's theme song, they turned to someone who could identify with that unique upbringing: Mariah Carey. The iconic singer wrote, produced and recorded "In the Mix" for the new series.

Mixed-ish premieres Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. on ABC.