The following biography
Jane Blige ( /ˈblaɪʒ/;
born January 11, 1971) is an American singer, songwriter, record
producer and occasional rapper and actress. She is a recipient of nine
Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards, and has recorded eight
multi-platinum albums. She is the only artist with Grammy Award wins in
Pop, Rap, Gospel, and R&B.
her musical career in 1992, releasing her debut album, What's the 411? on MCA
Records and Uptown. With her tenth album, My Life II... The Journey Continues
(Act 1) (2011), she had ten consecutive albums debut in the top 10 on the
Billboard 200. Blige's work has defined the course of R&B/Hip-Hop music. My
Life, in particular, is considered among the greatest albums ever recorded
according to Rolling Stone (279/500), Time, and Vibe. For her part in
combining hip hop and soul in the early 1990s and its subsequent commercial
success, Blige received the World Music Awards "Legends Award". In 2007 the
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers awarded her its "Voice of
Music" Award. ASCAP official Jeanie Weems stated that "[Blige's] music has been
the voice of inspiration to women worldwide in both struggle and triumph."
That same year, Time included her in its "Time 100" list, a collection of the
year's 100 most influential individuals around the world.
As of 2011,
Blige has sold over 50 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide.
Billboard Magazine ranked Blige as the most successful female R&B artist of the
past 25 years. The magazine also lists her 2006 song "Be Without You" as the
top R&B song of the 2000s, as it spent an unparalleled 15 weeks atop the Hot
R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 2011, Vh1 ranked Blige as the 80th greatest
artist of all time. Moreover, she is ranked number 100 on the list of "100
greatest singers of all time" by Rolling Stone magazine.
earned high remarks for her work in film and fragrance. She starred in the 2009
Tyler Perry box-office hit I Can Do Bad All By Myself and will play a lead role
in the film Rock of Ages, which is set to be released to theaters in 2012. She
is a recipient of two Golden Globe Awards nominations for her musical
contributions to the films Bobby and The Help. She is named to play music icon
Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina. In partnership with the Home
Shopping Network (HSN) and Carol's Daughter, Blige released her "My Life"
perfume. The perfume broke HSN records by selling 65,000 bottles during its
premiere. The scent went on to win two FiFi Awards, including the
prestigious "Fragrance Sales Breakthrough" award.
Birth name Mary
11, 1971 (1971-01-11) (age 41)
The Bronx, New
New York, USA
soul, gospel, hip hop
rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, actress
Blige was born
in The Bronx, New York. She is the second of four children born to parents
Cora, a nurse, and Thomas Blige, a jazz musician. Blige's mother was
an avid fan of R&B/Soul music and constantly spun Aretha Franklin, Gladys
Knight, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, and Jean Carne records when Blige was a
child. These artists had a profound impact on Blige at a very young age. Blige
was taught to sing by her father, who later abandoned Blige and sister LaTonya
following his divorce from Cora Blige in 1980. At the age of five, Blige was
molested by a family friend.
Blige spent her
early years in Richmond Hill, Georgia, where she sang in a Pentecostal
church. She later moved to Schlobohm Apartments in Yonkers, New York, where
she lived with her mother, older sister, five cousins, and two aunts.
She dropped out of Roosevelt High School in the eleventh grade.
an impromptu cover of Anita Baker's "Caught Up In the Rapture" at a recording
booth in the Galleria Mall in White Plains, New York. Her mother's boyfriend at
the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R
runner for Uptown Records. Redd sent it to the president and CEO of the
label, Andre Harrell. Harrell met with Blige and in 1989 she was signed to the
label, becoming the company's youngest and first female artist.
years consisted of session work for the likes of Jeff Redd, who introduced her
during a live performance at the Apollo Theater. A year later, she sang the hook
on Father MC's hit "I'll Do 4 U" and was prominently featured, singing, at the
end of the video.
the 411? and My Life
Blige's debut album began in 1992, with Sean "Puffy" Combs, who was at the time
a 19-year-old A&R executive at Uptown, selected as the executive producer of the
project. When first introducing Mary J. Blige to Uptown Executives at a
convention, Sean Combs originally nicknamed Blige the "Queen of Ghetto Love".
However, Andre Harrell, Combs's supervisor, found the name unsatisfactory and
subsequently dubbed her the "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul".
Blige's niche in R&B became the paramount goal for Sean Combs. Given the fact
that most female R&B acts during that time were very glamorous and refined,
Combs purposely molded Blige into the exact opposite so as to underscore her
uniqueness and maintain her connection to her urban roots. From her fashion
style to her sound, Blige was completely different from most female artists in
the early 1990s. Baseball caps, combat boots, and baggy clothes constituted her
signature style. In regards to her music, on July 28, 1992, Uptown Records
released What's the 411?. Blige's inaugural album ushered in a new era and genre
of R&B music. Blige's raw and gritty sound was utterly antithetical to that of
pop icons Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson. Her East Coast hip
hop, Northern Urban City-influenced sound became the blueprint for artists such
as Faith Evans, Aaliyah, TLC, Destiny's Child, Monica, Ashanti, Pink, and
Me", the album's first single, peaked at number one on the R&B singles chart
that summer. The second single, "Real Love", was released in the fall. It too
topped the R&B singles chart, and became Blige's first top ten Hot 100 single,
peaking at number seven. Both singles were certified gold for their sales
volume. More What's the 411? singles followed into 1993, including "Sweet
Thing", a cover of Rufus's "Sweet Thing", and "Love No Limit". By the end of the
year, What's the 411? had sold three million copies. Blige, meanwhile, released
a hip hop single "You Don't Have to Worry". After the success of What's the 411,
Sean "Puffy" Combs hailed the singer as "the queen of hip-hop soul". The
album's success spun off What's the 411? Remix, a remix album released in
December that was used to extend the life of the What's the 411? singles on the
radio into 1994, as Blige recorded her follow-up album. With combined sales of
over 5 million albums and singles from her debut album, Blige was the best
selling female artist on the Uptown label.
On November 29,
1994, Uptown Records released Blige's second album, My Life which was again
overseen by Combs who also produced more than half of the album along with
Washington DC native Carl "Chucky" Thompson (despite his having recently left
the label), who, with Combs, co-produced all but one of the album's tracks, and
took over as Blige's manager. Unlike What's the 411?, Blige co-wrote a large
body of the material, basing it on her personal life. In its first week, My Life
debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200, and debuting at number one on
the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, for an unprecedented eight consecutive weeks.
The album received critical praise for Combs' production, Blige's songwriting
and vocals, and today, is still regarded as one of the best albums in Blige's
discography. In 2003, the album was ranked at #279 on the The 500 Greatest
Albums of All Time by magazine Rolling Stone. In late 1995, Blige topped the
Billboard Year-End chart toppers as Top R&B Album, Top R&B Album Artist, Top R&B
Album Artist - Female, and Top-Hot Dance Maxi-Single Sales (for her
collaboration with Method Man on "All I Need").
"Be Happy", the
album's lead single, peaked at number 29 and number six on the Hot 100 and R&B
singles chart, respectively. In early 1995, it was followed up with a cover of
Rose Royce's 1976 hit "I'm Goin' Down", which became her first top 20 hit in the
UK, peaking at number 12, it also reached number 22 and number 13 on the Hot 100
and R&B singles chart. Other My Life singles include "You Bring Me Joy" and "I
Love You". "Mary Jane (All Night Long)" and "My Life" received heavy radio play,
despite never being officially released as singles apart from the UK, where
"Mary Jane (All Night Long)" became Blige's second top 20 hit from the album
there. My Life was eventually certified triple platinum. In spite of its success
and her growing fame, Blige later admitted that she was simultaneously dealing
with long time bouts of drug addiction, alcoholism, and depression, as well as
an abusive relationship with then-boyfriend K-Ci Hailey of Jodeci.
herself in several outside projects, recording a cover of Aretha Franklin's
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" for the soundtrack to the FOX series
New York Undercover, and "Everyday It Rains" (co-written by R&B singer Faith
Evans) for the soundtrack to the hip hop documentary, The Show. That summer she
collaborated with rapper Method Man on his song, "I'll Be There for You/You're
All I Need to Get By". Later in the year, she recorded the Babyface-penned and
produced "Not Gon' Cry", for the soundtrack to the motion picture Waiting to
Exhale. The platinum-selling single rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100
and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in early 1996, and became her
biggest commercial hit at the time. Blige gained her first two Grammy
nominations, and won the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for her
collaboration with Method Man. My Life was also nominated for Best R&B Album. In
addition, My Life received a nomination for the 1996 American Music Awards for
"Favorite Soul/R&B Album".
1996, Blige appeared in collaborations with Ghostface Killah, on their
co-written single, "All That I Got Is You", though in the video, Blige was
replaced by Wu-Tang affiliate, Tekitha, due to scheduling conflicts. She also
collaborated with then up-and-coming musicians, singer Case, on his breakthrough
single, "Touch Me, Tease Me", featuring Foxy Brown and also appeared on rapper
Jay-Z's single, "Can't Knock the Hustle", released off the rapper's debut album,
Share My World and Mary
On April 22,
1997, MCA Records (parent company to Uptown Records, which was in the process of
being dismantled) released Blige's third album, Share My World. By then, she and
Combs had dissolved their working relationship. In his place were the
Trackmasters, who executive-produced the project along with Steve Stoute.
Sharing production duties were producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, R. Kelly,
Babyface and Rodney Jerkins.
The album was
made at a time when Blige was trying to "get her life together", by trying to
overcome drugs and alcohol, as well as the ending of her relationship with
Hailey. After an encounter with a person who threatened her life the previous
year, she tried to quit the unhealthy lifestyle and make more upbeat, happier
music. As a result, songs such as "Love Is All We Need" and "Share My World"
Share My World
debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and spawned five hit singles: "Love
Is All We Need" (featuring Nas), "I Can Love You" (featuring Lil' Kim),
"Everything", "Missing You" (UK only) and "Seven Days" (featuring George
Benson). The album became Blige's most commercially successful, selling three
million copies in the U.S. In February 1997, Blige performed her hit at the
time, "Not Gon' Cry", at the 1997 Grammy Awards, which gained her third Grammy
Award nomination, her first for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, as Blige was
recording the follow-up to My Life. In early 1998, Blige won an American Music
Award for "Favorite Soul/R&B Album". That summer, she embarked on the Share My
World Tour, which resulted in a Gold-certified live album released later that
year, simply titled The Tour. The album spawned one single, "Misty Blue".
On August 17,
1999, Blige's fourth album, titled Mary was released. It marked a departure from
her more familiar hip hop-oriented sound; this set featured a more earthy,
whimsical, and adult contemporary-tinged collection of songs, reminiscent of
1970s to early 1980s soul. On December 14, 1999, the album was re-released as a
double-disc set. The second disc was enhanced with the music videos for the
singles "All That I Can Say" and "Deep Inside" and included two bonus tracks:
"Sincerity" (featuring Nas, Andy Hogan and DMX) and "Confrontation" (a
collaboration with hip hop duo Funkmaster Flex & Big Kap originally from their
1999 album The Tunnel). The Mary album was critically praised, becoming her most
nominated release to date, and was certified double platinum (selling over two
million in sales.) It was not as commercially successful as Blige's prior
releases, though all of the singles: "All That I Can Say", "Deep Inside", "Your
Child", and "Give Me You" performed considerably on radio. In the meantime, MCA
used the album to expand Blige's demographic into the nightclub market, as
club-friendly dance remixes of the Mary singles were released. The club remix of
"Your Child" peaked at number-one on the Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart
in October 2000.
In 2001, a
Japan-only compilation, Ballads, was released. The album featured covers of
Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed", and previous recordings of Aretha Franklin's "(You
Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue".
More Drama and Love & Life
On August 28,
2001, MCA released Blige's fifth studio album, No More Drama. The album's first
single, "Family Affair" (produced by Dr. Dre) became her first number-one single
on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for six consecutive weeks. It was
followed by two further hit singles, the European only single "Dance for Me"
featuring Common and the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced title track
(originally recorded for the Mary album), which sampled "Nadia's Theme", the
piano-driven theme song to the daytime drama The Young and the Restless.
album sold nearly two million copies in the U.S., MCA was underwhelmed by its
sales, and subsequently repackaged and re-released the album on January 29,
2002. The No More Drama re-release featured a new album cover, deleted three of
the songs from the original track listing, while adding two brand-new songs—one
of which was the fourth single and top twenty Hot 100 hit "Rainy Dayz",
(featuring Ja Rule), plus two remixes; one of the title track, serviced by Puff
Daddy and the single version of "Dance for Me" featuring Common. The album sold
another million-plus units (3.2 million in total) in the U.S. and seven million
worldwide. Blige won a Grammy for 'Best Female R&B Vocal Performance' for the
song "He Think I Don't Know." In April 2002, Blige performed with Shakira with
the song "Love Is a Battlefield" on VH1 Divas show live in Las Vegas, she also
performed "No More Drama" and "Rainy Dayz" as a duet with the returning Whitney
On July 22,
2002, MCA released Dance for Me, a collection of club remixes of some of her
past top hits including the Junior Vasquez remix of "Your Child", and the
Thunderpuss mix of "No More Drama." This album was released in a limited edition
double pack 12" vinyl for DJ-friendly play in nightclubs. On August 26, 2003,
Blige's sixth album Love & Life was released on Geffen Records (which had
absorbed MCA Records.) Blige heavily collaborated with her one-time producer
Sean Combs for this set. Due to the history between them on What's the 411? and
My Life, which is generally regarded as their best work, and Blige having just
come off of a successful fifth album, expectations were high for the reunion
album debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and becoming Blige's fourth
consecutive UK top ten album, Love & Life's lead-off single, the Diddy-produced
"Love @ 1st Sight", which featured Method Man, barely cracked the top ten on the
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, while altogether missing the top twenty on the Hot 100
(although peaking inside the UK top twenty). The following singles, "Ooh!", "Not
Today" featuring Eve, "Whenever I Say Your Name"featuring Sting on the
international re-release, and "It's a Wrap" fared worse. Although the album was
certified platinum, it became Blige's lowest-selling to date. Critics and fans
alike largely panned the disc, citing a lack of consistency and noticeable ploys
to recapture the early Blige/Combs glory. Blige and Combs reportedly struggled
and clashed during the making of this album, and again parted ways upon the
completion of it.
became Blige's first album in six years to debut at number one on the Billboard
200, selling 285,298 copies in first week.
Love & Life
received mixed reviews from music critics. Allmusic gave it 4 stars and said
the album "beamed with joy" and Rolling Stone gave it three stars, saying "You
may not always love Blige's music, but you will feel her".
The album was
eventually certified Platinum by the RIAA. To date the album has sold over
1,000,000 copies in the U.S. and over 2,000,000 copies worldwide. The album
was nominated for the Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 46th Grammy Awards.
Breakthrough and Reflections – A Retrospective
released Blige's seventh studio album, The Breakthrough on December 20, 2005.
For the album, Blige collaborated with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Rodney Jerkins,
will.i.am, Bryan Michael Cox, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Raphael
Saadiq, Cool and Dre, and Dre & Vidal. The cover art was photographed by Markus
Klinko & Indrani. It debuted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top
R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Selling 727,000 copies in its first week, it became
the biggest first-week sales for an R&B solo female artist in SoundScan
history, the fifth largest first-week sales for a female artist, and the
fourth largest debut of 2005. Since its release, The Breakthrough has sold over
three million copies in the U.S and over seven million copies worldwide,
becoming one of the five best-selling albums of 2006.
single, "Be Without You", peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, while
peaking at number one on the R&B chart for a record-setting fifteen consecutive
weeks; it remained on the chart for over sixteen months. "Be Without You" found
success in the UK (peaking in the lower end of the top forty) it became Blige's
longest charting single on the UK Singles Chart. It is her second longest
charting single to date. The album produced three more singles including two
more top five R&B hits—"Enough Cryin'", which features Blige's alter ego
Brook-Lynn (as whom she appeared on the remix to Busta Rhymes's "Touch It" in
2006); and "Take Me as I Am" (which samples Lonnie Liston Smith's "A Garden of
Peace"). Blige's duet with U2 on the cover of their 1992 hit, "One" gave Blige
her biggest hit to date in the UK, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart
eventually being certified one of the forty highest-selling singles of 2006;
it was her longest charting UK single. The success of The Breakthrough won Blige
nine Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, two BET Awards, two
NAACP Image Awards, and a Soul Train Award. She received eight Grammy Award
nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards, the most of any artist that year. "Be
Without You" was nominated for both "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year".
Blige won three: "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance", "Best R&B Song" (both for
"Be Without You"), and "Best R&B Album" for The Breakthrough. Blige
completed a season sweep of the "big three" major music awards, having won two
American Music Awards in November 2006 and nine Billboard Music Awards in
2006, a compilation called Reflections - A Retrospective was released. It
contained many of Blige's greatest hits and four new songs, including the
worldwide lead single "We Ride (I See the Future)". In the UK, however, "MJB da
MVP" (which appeared in a different, shorter form on The Breakthrough) was
released as the lead single from the collection. The album peaked at number nine
in the U.S, selling over 170,000 copies in its first week, while reaching number
forty in the UK. It has sold more than 1.6 million copies. In 2006, Blige
recorded a duet with rapper Ludacris, "Runaway Love", which is the third single
on his fifth album, Release Therapy. It reached the top five on the Billboard
Hot 100 and the R&B chart. Blige was featured with Aretha Franklin and The
Harlem Boys Choir on the soundtrack to the 2006 motion picture Bobby, on the
lead track "Never Gonna Break My Faith". The song was nominated for a Golden
Globe and won the Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance at the 50th Annual
studio album, Growing Pains, was released on December 18, 2007, debuting at
number two on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
chart. It sold 629,000 copies in its first week, marking the third time since
Nielsen SoundScan began collecting data in 1991 that two albums sold more than
600,000 copies in a week in the United States. In its second week, the album
climbed to number one, making it Blige's fourth number-one album. The lead
single, "Just Fine", peaked at number twenty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 and at
number three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Just Fine" was nominated for
the Grammy Award for "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance", and Blige won "Best
R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" for the Chaka Khan duet
"Disrespectful" (featured on Khan's album Funk This) which Blige wrote.
was not released in the UK until February 2008, where it became Blige's fifth
top ten and third-highest charting album.The Breakthrough and Reflections (A
Retrospective) were released in the Christmas rush and therefore settled for
lower peaks, although both selling more than her top five album Mary.[citation
needed] "Just Fine" returned Blige to the UK singles chart top 20 after her
previous two singles failed to chart highly. Subsequent singles from Growing
Pains include "Work That", which accompanied Blige in an iTunes commercial, and
featured on 50 Cent's 2007 album, Curtis, in the song "All of Me". In March
2008, she toured with Jay-Z in the Heart of the City Tour. They released a song
called "You're Welcome". In the same period, cable network BET aired a special
on Blige entitled The Evolution of Mary J. Blige, which showcased her career.
Celebrities such as Method Man and Ashanti gave their opinions about Blige and
her music. Blige is featured on singles by Big Boi, and Musiq Soulchild. Growing
Pains was nominated for and won the Grammy Award for "Best Contemporary R&B
Album", at the 51st Grammy Awards held on February 8, 2009, earning Blige her
27th Grammy nomination, in a mere decade. Blige went on the Growing Pains
European Tour, her first tour there in two years. A tour of Australia and New
Zealand was scheduled for June but was postponed due to "weariness from an
overwhelming tour schedule" and then eventually canceled entirely.
On August 7,
2008, it was revealed Blige faced a US$2 million federal suit claiming Neff-U
wrote the music for the song "Work That", but was owned by Dream Family
Entertainment. The filing claimed that Dream Family never gave rights to use the
song to Blige, Feemster or Geffen Records. Rights to the lyrics of the song used
in an iPod commercial are not in question.
Stronger with Each Tear
to performing in January 2009 by performing the song "Lean on Me" at the
Presidential Inauguration Committee's, "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural
Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial". Blige also performed her hit 2007 single,
"Just Fine", with a new intro at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball after Barack
Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009. Blige appeared as a marquee performer on
the annual Christmas in Washington television special.
studio album, Stronger with Each Tear, was released on December 21, 2009,
debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Top
R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, selling 332,000 units in its first week of release. It
became her fifth album not to take the top spot in the United States.
single, "The One", which features Canadian rapper Drake, was released for
airplay in June 2009, and was officially and digitally released in July 2009,
peaking at number sixty-three on the Hot 100. Blige recorded "Stronger", as the
lead single from the soundtrack to the basketball documentary "More Than a Game"
in August 2009. The second single from Stronger with Each Tear, "I Am", was
released in December 2009 and reached number fifty-five on the Hot 100. The
third international single from the album, "Each Tear", was remixed with
different featured artists from different countries, then being released in
February 2010. The single failed to chart anywhere except in the UK where it
reached number one-hundred-eighty-three and in Italy where it reached number
one. The album's third U.S. single, "We Got Hood Love" featuring Trey Songz, was
released in March 2010 and reached number twenty-five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop
Singles chart though it failed to reach the Hot 100. One of Blige's
representatives reported to US Weekly magazine that a tour in support of
Stronger with Each Tear will begin in the fall of 2010. On March 2010, Blige
released Stronger with Each Tear in the United Kingdom, as well as in the
European markets. The album performed modestly in the United Kingdom, debuting
at number thirty-three on the UK Albums Chart and at number four on the UK R&B
Chart. It reached the top 100 in other countries.
honored at the 2009 BET Honors Ceremony and was paid tribute by Anita Baker and
Monica. On November 4, 2009, Blige sang The Star-Spangled Banner at Yankee
Stadium before the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies played the last
game (game 6) of the World Series. Blige performed two songs from her ninth
album as well as her previous hits, "No More Drama" and "Be Without You" along
with the song "Color", which was featured on the Precious soundtrack. Blige
appeared as a guest judge on the ninth season of American Idol on January 13,
On January 23,
2010, Blige released a track "Hard Times Come Again No More" with The Roots as
well as performing it at the Hope for Haiti Now telethon. At the 2010 Grammy
Awards, Blige and Andrea Bocelli performed Bridge Over Troubled Water. Blige
also performed on BET's SOS Help For Haiti, singing "Gonna Make It" with Jazmine
Sullivan and "One." Blige also took part in February 2010's We Are the World 25
for Haiti, singing the solo originally sung by Tina Turner in the original 1985
We Are The World version. At the 41st NAACP Image Awards Blige won Outstanding
Female Artist and Outstanding Album for Stronger with Each Tear. On November
18, 2010, Billboard revealed Mary J. Blige as the most successful female R&B/Hip
Hop Artist on the Top 50 R&B/Hip Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years list. Mary
came in at number 2 overall. Blige named her fans " Mary Janes ".
My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1) and 11th studio album
On January 4,
2011 on Hot 97, Angie Martinez premiered a new version of Diddy-Dirty Money's
"Someone to Love Me". The remix, titled "Someone to Love Me (Naked)", features
new vocals from Blige and Lil Wayne. The song was released as an iTunes
digital download single on March 29, 2011 and serves as a teaser until the
official first single from the album. The video for the song was directed by
Colin Tilley. The video premiered online via Vevo on April 4, 2011 and made
their television debut on April 5, 2011 following BET’s “The Game.”
revealed the tracks likely to make the final cut of Mary's tenth studio album
are the Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis-produced "Feel Inside" and "Beautiful Scars," a
ballad by Diane Warren. Also describing the album as retro with lots of live
instrumentation and soul samples. Mary has also teamed back up for production
from long time collaboraters Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Babyface. The
album's guests include R&B/pop songstress Beyonce, in addition to male rappers
Busta Rhymes, Nas, Drake and Rick Ross. MTV.com revealed that the album
titled My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1), was released November 21,
2011. The LP, recorded in Los Angeles and New York City, sees Mary looking
toward the future while acknowledging the past. “From me to you, My Life II… Our
journey together continues in this life,” explained Mary. “It’s a gift to be
able to relate and identify with my fans at all times. This album is a
reflection of the times and lives of people all around me.” The album will aso
feature production from Kanye West and The Underdogs.
awarded Outstanding Female Artist at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards.
On July 5,
2011, Mary released the song "The Living Proof" as the lead single to the
soundtrack of the film The Help. On July 24, VH1 premiered their third
Behind the Music on Mary that profiled Mary's personal and career life. August
25, 2011 Mary released her first single off the album simply titled "25/8",
which later reached number ten on iTunes for Top R&B/Soul song. My Life II...
The Journey Continues (Act 1) will be released November 21
2011, Mary confirmed in an interview that there will be a sequel to the album
which will be titled My Life: Act 2 in May 2012. On February 26th, 2012,
Blige preformed the Star Spangled Banner at the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
as guest mentor on American Idol on March 7, 2012, and performed "Why" on the
results show the following night.
In 1998, Blige
made her acting debut on the sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show playing a character, the
apparently southern Ola Mae; a preacher's daughter who wanted to sing more than
gospel music. Her father was portrayed by Ronald Isley of The Isley Brothers. In
2001, Blige starred opposite rapper Q-Tip in the independent film Prison Song.
That same year, Blige made a cameo on the Lifetime network series, Strong
Medicine; playing the role of Simone Fellows. Blige's character was the lead
singer of a band who was sick, but would not seek treatment. In 2000, Blige was
featured in a superhero web cartoon in junction with Stan Lee. Blige used the
cartoon as part of her performance while on her 2000 Mary Show Tour. In 2004,
Blige starred in an Off-Broadway play, The Exonerated. The play chronicled the
experiences of death row inmates. Blige portrayed Sunny Jacobs, a woman who
spent 20 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. In late 2005, it was
reported that Blige landed the starring role in the upcoming MTV Films biopic on
American singer/pianist Nina Simone. According to IMDB.com the film will be
released in 2012.
2007, Blige guest-starred on Ghost Whisperer, in an episode called "Mean Ghost",
as the character Jackie Boyd, the school's cheer leader coach grieving for the
death of her brother and affected by the ghost of a dead cheerleader. The
episode features many of Blige's songs. In August 2007, Blige was a guest star
on Entourage, in the role of herself, as a client of Ari Gold's agency. In
October 2007, Blige was also a guest star on America's Next Top Model, as a
creative director for a photo shoot by Matthew Rolston. In May 2009, Mary made a
guest appearance on 30 Rock, as an artist recording a benefit song for a kidney.
Blige also had a supporting role in Tyler Perry's movie I Can Do Bad All By
Myself, which was released in September 2009.
As of March
2011, Blige has signed on to star alongside Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, and Alec
Baldwin in the film adaptation of the 80s jukebox hit musical Rock of Ages (2012
film). Blige will play Justice Charlier, the owner of a Sunset Strip gentlemen's
club, when production began in May 2011.
In 2004 Blige
launched her own record label, Matriarch Records, distributed through
In July 2010,
Blige launched her first perfume, My Life (through Carol's Daughter),
exclusively on HSN. The fragrance's unprecedented success broke sales
records in hours and has been awarded two prestigious FIFI awards from the
Fragrance Foundation. The newest fragrance, My Life Blossom launched in
August, 2011 exclusively to HSN.
In October 2010
Blige released a line of sunglasses called "Melodies by MJB". The first Melodies
collection featured four styles with a total of 20 color options. Each style
represented a specific facet of Blige’s life. Essence magazine reported that in
the spring of 2011, "Melodies by MJB" extended their collection to offer more
production company, along with William Morris Endeavor is also working on
several TV and film projects.
Blige has had
endorsement contracts with Reebok, Air Jordan, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Gap, Target,
American Express, AT&T, M·A·C, Apple Inc. and Chevrolet. She
has also been a spokesperson with Carol's Daughter beauty products and
Citibank's with Nickelback program.
early 1990s, Blige dated singer K-Ci from Jodeci. The relationship ended in
1997. Blige also briefly dated rapper Nas. In 2000, Blige met record industry
executive Martin Kendu Isaacs (known as "Kendu") who became her manager. The two
were married on December 7, 2003, in a small private ceremony at Blige's home
attended by 50 guests.
her GED in 2010.
Blige has been
a resident of Cresskill, New Jersey.
Known to the
music world as the reigning "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul", Mary would go on to be
responsible for changing the construct of R&B music. Credited for the musical
marriage of Hip-Hop and R&B, she introduced elements of hip-hop/rap into modern,
contemporary r&b/pop music. Using old school hip-hop samples and loops, Mary
would bridge "the gap between R&B and rap in a way that no female singer had
before.". Ethan Brown of The New Yorker says that albums "What's the 411?"
and "My Life", in hindsight, invented "the sample-heavy sound that reinvigorated
urban radio and became a blueprint for nineties hip-hop and R&B.". Brown
further concludes that Mary's "duets with the Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man and
Ghostface Killah set the trend for collaborations between rappers and R&B
songbirds like Mariah Carey.". Tom Horan of The Telegraph comments that
Blige, being a hugely influential figure in popular music, "invented what is now
called R&B by successfully combining female vocals with muscular hip hop rhythm
tracks. All over the world, that recipe dominates today's charts.". Called
one of the "most explosive, coming-out displays of pure singing prowess" and
"one of the most important albums of the nineties", What's the 411? saw
Blige pioneer "the movement that would later become Neo soul, generating
gripping songs that were also massive radio hits.".
received notable awards and achievements. In 2010, she was ranked 80th on VH1's
list of the 100 Greatest Artist of All Time. Blige was listed as one of the
50 most influential R&B singers by Essence. Rolling Stone magazine ranked My
Life at number 279 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The
album was also included on Time's list of the 100 Greatest albums of All
Time. Alternately called the "Queen of R&B" for her unprecedented success in
the realm of R&B, Blige has amassed eight number one albums on the R&B/Hip Hop
Albums chart - a record for a female artist. Blige is also the only artist
to have won Grammy's in the R&B, Rap, Pop, and Gospel fields.
In 2001, Mary
performed "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" for the Red Hot Organization's
compilation album Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington, which raised
money for various charities devoted to increasing AIDS awareness and fighting
On May 9, 2008,
The Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now,
Inc. (FFAWN) was inaugurated at Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, New York.
FFAWN's purpose is to inspire women "to reach their individual potential". The
foundation offers scholarships and programs whose aim is to foster self-esteem
and career development. The Mary J. Blige Center for Women has opened in
In 2008, Mary
teamed up with Carol's Daughter executive Lisa Price to make a perfume which
would be called "My Life". On July 31, 2010, Mary J. Blige was on 6 live
televised Home Shopping Network specials to promote and sell her perfume. On
that day, "My Life" sold a record breaking 60,000 + units. Her perfume was the
first to sell over 60,000 bottles in one day on HSN. Also $1 from each purchase
was donated to FFAWN her foundation for women to send more women to college.
1994: My Life
1997: Share My
2001: No More
2003: Love &
with Each Tear
2011: My Life
II... The Journey Continues (Act 1)
List of awards and nominations received by Mary J. Blige (see
Share My World
The Mary Show
No More Drama
Love & Life
Breakthrough Experience Tour (2006)
Heart of the
City Tour (with Jay-Z) (2008)
European Tour (2008)
Love Soul Tour
Music Saved My
Life Tour (2010–11)
Year Film &
Television Role Notes
1998 The Jamie
Foxx Show Ola Mae "Papa Don't Preach" (episode 14, season 2)
2001 Angel: One
More Road to Cross Guardian Angel Direct to DVD
Mrs. Butler Main Role
Simone Fellows "History" (episode 4, season 2)
13.^ a b c
Proefrock, Stacia. "Mary J. Blige Biography".
14.^ a b
Whetstone, Muriel L. (1995-10). "Goin' Down and Up with Mary J. Blige".
FindArticles (CBS Corporation): pp. 1–3.
15.^ a b
Lampert, Nicole (2008-01-25). "is back from rock bottom – how she kicked drugs,
gin and hangers-on". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers).
16.^ "You can
find a way to heal". Parade Magazine. 2007-01-23.
MacPherson, Iex. "'I saw my life going down a drain'", The Guardian, 1 February
18.^ a b "Mary
J. Blige: Biography". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media.
http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/maryjblige/biography. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
21.^ Mary J.
Blige: Love & Life (2003): Reviews Metacritic. Accessed 2007-11-08.
23.^ "Mary J.
Blige is able to mix integrity, popularity". San Jose Mercury News. September 6,
Jonathan (November 21, 2007). "Keys Storms Chart With Mega-Selling 'As I Am'".
Official UK Singles Chart of the year: 2006". BBC Radio 1. Archived from the
original on 2007-01-16.
Chicks Make Nice With Five GRAMMYs".
American Music Awards Winners".
28.^ "Mary J.
Blige Wins Big At Billboard Music Awards".
Entertainment : Mary J Blige". Chuggentertainment.com.
http://www.chuggentertainment.com/tours/maryj/index.php. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
Melissa (2008-08-07). "Mary J. Blige faces 2M lawsuit over stolen song". New
York Daily News.
32.^ The One
Shaheem (2010-05-06). "Mary J. Blige On Making 'Hood Love' Video With Trey Songz
- Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.
34.^ "Mary J.
Blige: I'm Not Going to College! - Movies, TV & Music". UsMagazine.com.
35.^ "Mary J.
Blige and Black Eyed Peas Win 2010 NAACP Image Awards". Celebrity-mania.com.
2010-02-27. http://www.celebrity-mania.com/news/view/00011971.html. Retrieved
36.^ a b
37.^ "Mary J.
Blige, Lil Wayne And Diddy Debut ‘Someone To Love Me’". Rapfix.mtv.com.
38.^ "Mary J.
Blige Readies Video for New Single". Rap-Up.com. 2011-03-31.
Music Preview: Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, Lil Wayne and Many More Pictures - Mary
J. Blige". Rolling Stone.
40.^ Mary J.
Blige interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' November 2011
Alvin (2011-04-05). "Mary J. Blige Announces My Life Sequel Release Date -
Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.
42.^ "Mary J.
Blige Readies ‘My Life’ Sequel for September". Rap-Up.com.
Music: Mary J. Blige – ‘The Living Proof’". Rap-Up.com.
Music Preview: The Season's Hottest Albums Pictures - Mary J. Blige - 'My Life
II... The Journey Continues Act I' 11/21". Rolling Stone.
Steven J. (2011-11-09). "Mary J. Blige Reveals "My Life II: Act 2" Will Arrive
In May 2012 | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales".
Brian (2012-03-08). "Mary J. Blige sings 'Why'".
"Mary J. Blige on Her New Fragrance: My Life - Beauty Industry and Products
50.^ "Mary J.
Blige Breaks HSN Record With 'My Life'". AOL Stylist.
52.^ "Mary J.
Blige launches "Melodies" sunglasses line w/ Mr. Iovine". WoooHa.
53.^ "Mary J.
Blige Launches Sunglass Line 'Melodies'". Essence.com. 2010-06-06.
54.^ Up for
Discussion Jump to Forums (2009-09-14). "Mary J. Blige, "Stronger withEach
55.^ "Mary J.
Blige's Wedding Details". Weddings.about.com.
http://weddings.about.com/cs/justforfun/a/maryjblige.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
Ann (July 12, 2010). "Mary J. Blige isn't going back to school". USA Today.
Associated Press. "Lil Wayne, Coldplay top Grammy nods", The Star-Ledger,
December 3, 2008. Accessed 2011-02-21. "Other New Jerseyans on the nominees list
include Cresskill's Mary J. Blige, contemporary R&B album, for Growing Pains"
70.^ "Mary J.
Blige breaks HSN record". CNN. http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/04/mary-j-blige-breaks-hsn-record/.
above biography has been copied in part or in whole
from an article on
"The Free Encyclopedia." It has been modified under
the GNU Free Document License Section 5 in the
following manner: (1) All links within the article
have been removed, including text links such as
"[#]"; (2) The "[Edit]" text and link have been
removed [if you would like to update the article,
you may do so from the original page]; (3) the table
of Contents links and text have been removed; and
(4) all of the sections of the original article have
not been copied. All of the above text is available
under the terms of the
GNU Free Document License.
MARY J. BLIGE DISCOGRAPHY: ALBUMS, SINGLES, COMPILATIONS, BOXED SETS, ETC.
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writing album reviews, CLICK HERE.
What's the 411?
Share My World
No More Drama
"Leave A Message"
"You Remind Me"
"Love No Limit"
"I Don't Want To Do Anything"
"Changes I've Been Going Through"
"What's the 411?"
"Mary Jane (All Night Long)"
"You Bring Me Joy"
"I'm The Only Woman"
"K. Murray Interlude"
"You Gotta Believe"
"I Never Wanna Live Without You"
"I'm Going Down"
"My Life Interlude"
"Be With You"
"I Love You"
"No One Else"
"(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman" [International Bonus Track]
2. I Can Love You
3. Love Is All We Need
4. Round And Round
5. Share My World
6. Share My World
7. Seven Days
8. It's On
9. Thank You Lord
10. Missing You
12. Keep Your Head
13. Can't Get You Off My Mind
14. Get To Know You Better
16. Our Love
17. Not Gon' Cry
"All That I Can Say" (featuring Lauryn Hill)
"Sexy" (featuring Jadakiss)
"Deep Inside" (featuring
"I'm In Love"
"Don't Waste Your Time" (Duet with Aretha Franklin)
"Not Lookin'" (Duet with K-Ci Hailey)
"No Happy Holidays"
"The Love I Never Had"
"Give Me You" (featuring
"Let No Man Put Asunder"
"Steal Away" (featuring
"No More Drama"
"Keep It Moving"
"Where I've Been" (featuring Eve)
"Dance For Me"
"In The Meantime"
"Forever No More [Poem]"
"Checkin' For Me" (Bonus Track on UK version.)
Love & Life
Reflections - A Retrospective
Stronger with Each Tear
"Love & Life Intro" (featuring
"Not Today" (featuring Eve)
"Finally Made It (Interlude)"
"Let Me Be The 1" (featuring
"Love @ 1st Sight" (featuring Method Man)
"Willing & Waiting"
"Feel Like Makin' Love"
"It's A Wrap"
"Message In Our Music (Interlude)"
"All My Love"
"Special Part Of Me"
"Ultimate Relationship (A.M.)"
"Didn't Mean" [International Bonus Track]
"Whenever I Say Your Name (Duet with Sting) [International Bonus Track]
"Happy Endings" [Japan Bonus Track]
"If I Don't Love You This Way" [Japan Bonus Track]
"No One Will Do"
"Enough Cryin" (featuring Brook Lynn)
"About You" (featuring will.i.am)
"Be Without You"
"Gonna Breakthrough" (featuring Brook)
"Good Woman Down"
"Take Me As I Am"
"Can't Hide From Luv" (featuring
"MJB Da MVP" (featuring
"Can't Get Enough"
"Ain't Really Love"
"I Found My Everything" (featuring Raphael Saadiq)
"Father In You"
"Alone" (featuring Dave Young)
"Reflections (I Remember)"
"We Ride (I See the Future)"
"King & Queen" (duet with
"No More Drama"
"No One Will Do"
"Be Without You"
"I'm Going Down"
"911" (Wyclef Jean featuring Mary J. Blige)
"Not Gon' Cry"
"My Life '06"
"I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" (Razor Sharp Mix)
(Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige)
"As"* (duet with George Michael)
"One"* (duet with
"MJB Da MVP"*
1 Work That 3:30
2 Grown Woman (featuring Ludacris) 4:05
3 Just Fine 4:02
4 Feel Like a Woman 4:02
5 Stay Down 4:22
6 Hurt Again 4:08
7 Shake Down (featuring Usher) 3:36
8 Till the Morning 4:17
9 Roses 4:35
10 Fade Away 4:15
11 What Love Is 4:03
12 Work in Progress (Growing Pains) 4:00
13 Talk to Me 4:09
14 If You Love Me? 3:39
15 Smoke 3:10
16 Come to Me (Peace) 5:01
1. Tonight 4:00
2. The One (featuring Drake) 3:14
3. Said and Done 3:23
4. Good Love (featuring T.I.) 4:01
5. I Feel Good 3:47
6. I Am 3:23
7. Each Tear 4:15
8. I Love U (Yes I Du) 3:23
9. We Got Hood Love (featuring Trey Songz) 4:15
10. Kitchen 4:31
11. In the Morning 4:36
12. Color (from the motion picture Precious) 5:31
My Life II... The
Journey Continues (Act 1)
1. Intro 1:16
2. Feel Inside (featuring Nas) 5:07
3. Midnight Drive (featuring Brook Lynn) 4:12
4. Next Level (featuring Busta Rhymes) 4:13
5. Ain't Nobody 4:03
6. 25/8 3:55
7. Don't Mind 3:57
8. No Condition 4:27
9. Mr. Wrong (featuring Drake) 4:01
10. Why (featuring Rick Ross) 4:21
11. Love a Woman (featuring Beyoncé) 4:31
12. Empty Prayers 3:15
13. Need Someone 3:55
14. The Living Proof 5:55
MARY J. BLIGE ON
VIDEO, A FILMOGRAPHY
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