Mary was born on January 11, 1971, in the Bronx, New York
Father's name: Thomas Blige
Mother's name: Cora Blige
Sister: LaTonya Blige-DaCosta ,Jonquell
Spouse: Kendu Isaacs
Queen of Ghetto Love
Religion: Born-Again Christian
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Born in the Bronx on January 11, 1971, Blige spent the first few years of her life in Savannah, Georgia before moving with her mother and older sister to the Schlobam housing projects in Yonkers, New York. Her rough life there produced more than a few scars, physical and otherwise, and Blige dropped out of high school during her junior year, instead spending time doing her friends' hair in her mother's apartment and hanging out. When she was at a local mall in White Plains, New York, she recorded herself singing Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" into a karaoke machine. The resulting tape was passed by Blige's stepfather to Uptown Records CEO Andre Harrell. Harrell was impressed with Blige's voice and signed her to sing backup for local acts like Father MC.
In 1991, however, Sean "Puffy" Combs took Blige under his wing and began working with her on What's the 411?, her debut album. Combs had a heavy hand in What's the 411?, along with producers Dave Hall, Mark Morales, and Mark Rooney, and the stylish touches that they added to Blige's unique vocal style created a stunning album that bridged the gap between R&B and rap in a way that no female singer had before. Uptown tried to capitalize on the success of What's the 411? By issuing a remixed version of it a year later, but it was only a modest success creatively and commercially. Her 1995 follow-up, My Life, again featured Combs' handiwork, and if it stepped back stylistically from its urban roots by featuring less of a rap sound, it made up for it with its subject matter. My Life was full of ghetto pathos and Blige's own personal pain shone through like a beacon. Her rocky relationship with fellow Uptown artist K-Ci Hailey likely contributed to the raw emotions on the album. The period following the recording of My Life was also a difficult time professionally for Blige, as she severed her ties with Combs and Uptown, hired Suge Knight as a financial advisor, and signed with MCA.
Released in 1997, Share My World marked the beginning of Blige's creative partnerships with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The album was another hit for Blige and debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. Critics soured somewhat on its more conventional soul sound, but Blige's fans seemed undaunted. With her blonde hair, self-preserving slouch, and combat boots, Blige was street-tough and beautiful all at once, and the record company execs who profited off of her early releases did little to dispel the bad-girl image that she earned as she stumbled through the dizzying first days of her career. As she exorcised her personal demons and softened her style to include sleek designer clothes, she remained a hero to thousands of girls growing up in the same kinds of rough places she came from. Her next studio album, Mary, came out in 1999, the fullness and elegance of her new sound seemed more developed, as Blige exuded a classic soul style aided by material from Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Stevie Wonder, and Lauryn Hill. Mary made it obvious that the ghetto fabulous style and more confrontational aspects of her music were gone, while the emotive power still remained.With her fifth album, No More Drama, it wasn't just Blige's style that shone through the structures set up for her by songwriters and producers, it was her own vision -- spiritual, emotional, personal, and full of wisdom, it reflected an artist who was comfortable with who she was and how far she had come.
That power also helped carry the more modern-sounding 2001 release No More Drama, a deeply personal album that remained a collective effort musically yet reflected more of Blige's songwriting than any of her previous efforts. The Mary J. Blige on No More Drama seemed miles away from the flashy kid on What's the 411?, yet it was still possible to see the path through her music that produced an older, wiser, but still expressive artist. In 2003 she was reunited with P. Diddy, who produced the majority of that year's patchy Love and Life album. The Breakthrough followed two years later and was a tremendous success, spawning a handful of major singles. By the December 2006 release of Reflections (A Retrospective), The Breakthrough's lead single, "Be Without You," had spent nearly a year on the R&B chart, while the album's fifth single, "Take Me as I Am," had been on the same chart for over four months. A year later Mary Blige came out with her eighth studio album, Growing Pains. It was her third consecutive studio album to top both the Billboard 200 and the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. While on tour with Robin Thicke during 2008, Blige began working on Stronger with Each Tear, which was released near the end of the following year and came one spot short of topping the Billboard 200. My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1), previewed through the Eric Hudson-produced single "25/8," followed in 2011 with appearances from Beyoncé, Drake, Rick Ross, and Busta Rhymes.
She dropped out of Roosevelt High School in the eleventh grade
Mary Jane Blige is a singer-songwriter, record producer and actress.
It was Mary J. Blige's voice that rescued her from the tragic life into which she was quickly falling. "Everyone talked about the karaoke machine at the mall," she remembered. "So I went in and recorded Anita Baker's 'Caught Up in the Rapture' on a cassette tape. I didn't think it was anything big." After four years of sending out her demo tape to no avail, Blige managed to get the tape to Uptown Records CEO Andre Harrell, who was blown away by her beautiful, powerful and soulful voice. He signed Blige to a record contract in 1992 and assigned a young up-and-coming music producer named Sean "Puffy" Combs to work with her. Blige released her debut album, What's the 411?, later that year, and it instantly became a huge success. The album sold more than 3 million copies, bolstered by the hit singles "You Remind Me" and "Real Love."Two years later, Blige released a second album, My Life, on which she wrote or co-wrote nearly all of the songs. My Life proved another critical and popular success with singles such as "Be Happy," "Mary Jane (All Night Long)" and "You Bring Me Joy." In 1996,she won her first Grammy Award (best rap performance by a duo or group) for "I'll be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By," a duet with Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan. Her third album, 1997's Share My World, reached No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart. In 2011, Blige contributed a song, "The Living Proof," to the soundtrack of the hit film The Help. She also released the album My Life: Part II ... The Journey Continues, which became a Top 5 hit. The record featured the song "Mr. Wrong," a collaboration with rapper Drake. The following year, Blige celebrated the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough debut What's the 411? with a new edition of this classic album. Known as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige is undeniably one of the great singers of her generation. She has sold over 50 million albums and has won nine Grammy Awards.
In addition to music, Blige has branched out into acting. 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. Also in 2001 she made a cameo on the Lifetime network series, Strong Medicine; playing the role of Simone Fellows. She appeared in Tyler Perry's dramatic comedy I Can Do Bad All By Myself in 2009, and sang in the musical film Rock of Ages alongside Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand in 2012. Taking on a more dramatic role, in 2013, she appeared as Dr.Betty Shabazz, the widow of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X, in the TV movie Betty & Coretta. Angela Bassett co-starred as Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., in the small-screen production, which explored the lives of these two women in the wake of their husbands' deaths.
Her awards include:
Singing, being with family, music piano etc
I know who I am. I am not perfect. I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I'm one of them.
Music makes us want to live. You don't know how many times people have told me that they'd been down and depressed and just wanted to die. But then a special song caught their ear and that helped give them renewed strength. That's the power music has.
Really, every woman is an example to me, because as women we go through so much pain. We have to live this perfect life when we are messed up inside. We all go through trials and tribulations.
You can hate me. You can go out there and say anything you want about me, But you will love me later because I told you the truth.
One day I realized that I wasn't getting anywhere by blaming other people for my circumstances. I finally understood: Even if you feel someone has wronged you or owes you something, no one is going to give you anything for free.
I've just been growing right along. It's painful, but it's a great pain, and I like suffering for great results. It's like going to the gym. It hurts really bad at first, but after a couple of months and after that diet, you're looking so hot.
In the inner city, there's a mentality that the government owes you something. My breakthrough came when I stopped feeling sorry for myself and took responsibility for every part of my life. No more pity parties. I've gotta love me more than anybody else loves me.
You can look at my palm and see the storm coming. Read the book of my life and see I've overcome it.
I do consider myself part of black
. I don't know what kind of God the rest of y'all are serving, but the God I serve says, 'Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I'm gonna make sure you're doing that.'
I believe there are certain things that God uses to get us out of a bad situation, and I believe music was one of the things he used for me.
You know a lot, but you don't know
. You either learn from your experiences or go back and do the same thing, and I learned from my experiences.