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Mary J. Blige

When her debut album, What's the 411?, hit the street in 1992, critics and fans alike were floored by its powerful combination of modern R&B with an edgy rap sound that glanced off of the pain and grit of Mary J. Blige's Yonkers, New York childhood. Called alternately the new Chaka Khan or new Aretha Franklin, Blige had little in common stylistically with either of those artists, but like them, she helped adorn soul music with new textures and flavors that inspired a whole generation of musicians. 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 exorcized 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. Blige reinvented her career again and again by shedding the bad habits and bad influences that kept her down; by the time her fourth album, Mary, was released in 1999, she had matured into an expressive singer able to put the full power of her voice behind her music, while still reflecting a strong urban style. 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.

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. By the time 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.

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 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. Like her previous nine studio albums, it reached gold status. (Her first eight surpassed gold to reach either platinum or multi-platinum status.) Her first holiday album, A Mary Christmas, was released in 2013.

Early in 2014, she linked with Disclosure for an alternate version of the U.K. dance-production duo's single "F for You." A few months later, Blige -- supported by extensive assistance from the-Dream and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, as well as a few other associates -- provided the soundtrack to the comedy Think Like a Man Too. It entered the Billboard Top 200 at number 30 and also reached the Top Ten on Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. Released on Epic, rather than on her home label, it didn't receive the typical level of promotion for a Blige album and, as a result, sold significantly less than her prior releases. Inspired by Disclosure and other genre-blurring singer/songwriters and producers who were emerging from the U.K., she recorded her 13th album in London that summer with the likes of Sam Smith, Naughty Boy, and Emeli Sandé, as well as Disclosure once more. The London Sessions, her first album for Capitol, was released that November. ~ Stacia Proefrock, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: 25/8 (Single)

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Track List: Growing Pains

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Track List: Just Fine (Remixes)

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Track List: Not Loving You (Single)

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Track List: Rainy Dayz (Single)

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Track List: Right Now (Single)

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Track List: Someone To Love Me (Naked) (Radio Single)

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Track List: Stronger (Radio Single)

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Track List: The One (Radio Single)

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Track List: Therapy (Single)

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Track List: When You're Gone (Single)

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Track List: Whole Damn Year (Single)

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Track List: Work That

Comments

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w.chelsawill i a m s 4 0 0
Love mary j.blige((( I can love you better than she can)))) this my sh** t Mary be jammin lol
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I love u girl, I am feeling u strength keep going
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This song helps lift me.....
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Take me as i am or have nothing at all.....poin t blank period������
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Like your music
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I listen to this song while working on my business website. www.bol-deal s . c o m
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Not gon' cry....Alway s gon' be a hit!...dis song ain't going nowhere she dis dat♡♥♡
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Mary always bring it with the vocals just like with this one.
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My favorite old school song
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I'm going down because you not around
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She always have a song for that perfect time when you feel some type of way
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Love it
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I AM NOT!
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myeyeamanuel
Love me some her
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mswalker64
One more thing , you also taught me I can love again cause I'm happy now
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mswalker64
If it wasn't for Mary J Blige music I'd probably be dead, in jail or in an asylum and not giving a hot f**k about my kids or me. Ms. Blige I want to Thank You for your inspiration, strength, bravery, honesty, love and music. You just don't know how many lives you have saved let alone mine (I want to cry now as I'm typing this) with your music and self image. Once again Thank You Queen!!!!!! I Love You and God Bless You Your #1 Fan Juanyeena White
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Love It! Go girl!
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You are the best sing I am your bigis fans my name is khamailah
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Luv you Mary J Blige
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Trying to go somewhere
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jasminecdani e l s
" I saw Mary in New Orleans perform in 2002 at th e dome before Katrina. She was just released and somewhat struggling.Y o u overcame.God bless you.You are inspiration!
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She has truly weathered the storm she is our g.o.a.t the best vocalist of my time period
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Mary J BLIGE has such resiliency and heart and strength just once I wish I could meet her and get some wisdom she the real life story of how to make it!
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Love you MJ.
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The best R&B my girl
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Family affair tho:)
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The queen of music. Love her. #Maryjblige�
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This woman is bad because she was born two days before me and Capricorn forever we don't play
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shanelgray78
I love it. A lot
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Can't sleep with out you baby..:(
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Absolutely love this station
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lndprcsldy8
Yes, Mary!
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lucycut30
Every time I hear this song my eyes fill with tears..it brings back one of the darkest moments of my life...being cheated on after giving everything is no joke :(
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Sounds like a Angel
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Can still listen and sing these songs like it was the year the album dropped! #ogvoicequee n
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Couldn't be love when you find another woman's bra huh! MARY sing this song for a broken sister!!!!
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Mary how you make music so prevalent in today's life this song was made years ago and I'm going through this same situation now bow to the queen!
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Màç
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ronoldydelga d o
Don't read this cause it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured (but you won't die) in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When your done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
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Love your station ��
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Yes yes bring back good old days
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Mailk
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Damn had good times with my ex's with this
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My song
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Share my wrld la la la..love Mary
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Love you mary j sing from the heart
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Love MJB
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Love you mary
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bobettenatal i e
Don't read this it actually works you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love your life tomorrow will be the best day of your life how ever if you don't post this you still be injured (your won't die) in two days now you already started reading this t won't stop post this on at least five other songs/statio n s in the next 143 minutes when your done push f6 and your loverd name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary this actually works I had to. IDK if it works!
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This song the truth!!!
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