Mariah wanted to co-produce the track with Walden, but Columbia Records wouldn't allow it. Still, she had trouble giving up control in the recording sessions. Walden recalled in Fred Bronson's Billboard Book Of #1 Hits: "Mariah is very astute in the studio, very picky. I don't mean to make it sound like a negative. For her, it's a positive, because she knows she wants to hear herself sound a certain way. For example, there's a lick on 'I Don't Wanna Cry' that I was really happy with, and I think at first she was, too. But after she lived with it, she wanted us to fix it. I don't even know if we fixed it twice or three times, but I had to fly the tape back to her in New York. She went in the studio, fixed that lick, and added other stuff onto it. I called her back and said, 'Look, I used your new lick on that one thing because you like it, but the other stuff you're adding on, you really don't need.' Then she gave in."
He added: "I think a lot of that is what you experience when you're making your first album. You gotta remember, Mariah was 19, 20 years old, making her first album. She really wanted it to be special."