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Mary J. Blige-Bio- by geffen
Nobody tells it like Mary. With a voice that is rough and ready,
sweet and pure, Mary J. Blige is capable of conveying heartache
and happiness in a single musical phrase. A confessional singer,
her emotional honesty reflects the great traditions of blues and
soul with a ripped-from-the-pages-of-your-diary immediacy that has
won her countless honors and a devoted, ever-growing audience around
Over the course
of twelve years, five studio albums and one live collection,
Mary J Blige never fails to deliver potent R&B/hip hop mantras
that work on the head, heart and hips. More than a vocalist, she
is an accomplished recording artist known for her electrifying
live performances, dramatic videos, and innovative studio productions
with a who's-who and who's-hot of musical talents from Elton John
leap forward and a welcome return to her roots, Love & Life,
the latest CD from Mary J. Blige (scheduled for release 8/26/03)
reunites Mary and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, the producer-performer
who crowned her the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Now a seasoned songwriter
(she co-wrote 17 of the albums 18 tracks) as well as a brickhouse
vocalist, Mary co-executive produced the album with P. Diddy.
They collaborated on many of the albums tracks including
the pulsating first single "Love @ 1st Sight, a tune
inspired by her real life romance that features Method Man, as
well as "Let Me Be The One" (featuring 50 Cent). Blige
and Combs won a Grammy in 1996 for "Ill Be There/Youre
All I Need To Get By." "The person I really am is hip
hop. That stuff lives in me. I know how to choose whatever sample
is the hottest thing cause Ive lived in the clubs. Ive
been to block parties since I was 16. Ive grown up in hip-hop
a new-found serenity without forgetting her trademark straight-up
messages to players, cheaters, and fools, Love & Life features
club-ready slammers ("Ooh!") tender love ballads ("Special
Part of Me") and gospel-flavored songs ("Ultimate Relationship").
"Not Today" featuring Eve, once again pairs her with
producer Dr. Dre who produced Mary's #1 smash 2002 single Family
Affair. "This album is more upbeat," she notes.
"It's a celebration of coming full circle. Its who
I am and who Mary J. Blige has been. "
with conviction and compassion, the songs on Love & Life are
evidence of Mary's spiritual growth and her transcendence over
a childhood in the projects of Yonkers, New York and an early
success plagued with drama, to her current joy. "Yes shes
gotten lost, shes done this and that and shes been
trying to figure it out," Mary admits in her typically forthright
The team of
Combs and Blige helped usher in a stylish, "ghetto fabulous"
hybrid of R & B that united gospel and blues-influenced vocals
with high-tech funk and rap on Marys groundbreaking 1991
debut Whats The 411? Their follow-up, 1994s My Life
set a standard for soul that remains unmatched.
It also set
her up for some hard life lessons explored on 1997's Share My
World and 1999's Mary. With the same inner strength and raw honesty
she had used to tackle her personal pain, these uncompromising
recordings revealed the universality of Mary's heartaches and
demonstrated the healing power of music. "I didnt want
to tell my business," she continues. "I had no other
choice. I wrote it down and people came back to me and said 'You
life!' without even knowing that when they listened to me sing,
it helped me, too."
the 21st century Mary released the triple-platinum No More Drama
in 2001. "I always thought my fans were just inner city but
people from all over the world and of every color responded to
that record. I gave a lot of myself not knowing it was gonna reach
so many people." She has also reached them in other arenas,
budding actress on TV (Strong Mediciine) and in the independent
film Prison Song (co-starring with rapper Q-Tip) as
well as in her humanitarian efforts.
to filming anti-drug public service announcements, Mary has worked
with various education groups and received Rock The Vote's highest
honor, the Patrick Lippert Award. She is a tireless fundraiser
for people with AIDS and continues as the spokeswoman for MACs
Viva Glam IV with all proceeds from the lipstick earmarked to
AIDS education and research.
her heart out in a recording booth or on a concert stage or privately
learning how to love herself and help others, Mary J. Blige has
discovered something powerful. The music that she makes, the songs
that have brought so much joy and solace to so many, have also
been her own salvation.
through all the stuff I went through wasnt in vain because
I found out that my job is to give," she concludes. "No
More Drama wasnt just an album, it was a transition in my
life. I was tired of suffering, of the hustle and hassle of everyday
life. I figured out that all along, the problem had been pride
and ignorance. Right now Im growing, Im learning,
and Im listening. I realized that I need to hear the truth
and that the truth is setting me free. And what you hear on Love
& Life is the truth and my willingness to embrace it."