b. Mary Jane Blige, 11th January 1971, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Mary Jane Blige hails from the Bronx in New York and records under her abbreviated name, Mary J. Blige.
She spans a musical bridge, which has on it’s banks, Rap, New R&B and Soul Music.
Born on the 11th January 1971 in The Bronx, Mary is the second of four children.
Her parents are Cora and Thomas Blige, her mother being a nurse, and her father, a jazz musician.
Her early career as a performer, came with her membership of the group Pride, along with the drummer Eddie D'Aprile.
Her family history was an eventful one.
Mary’s father divorced his wife when Mary was 9, a trauma which followed an alleged molestation of mary four years earlier, at the hands of a family friend.
she spent her adolesence in Richmond Hill, Georgia, where she sang the local church.
Mary then relocated to New York, moving in with her mother, sister, five cousins, and two aunts.
Mary’s eventful childhood led to her dropping out of Roosevelt High School in the eleventh grade.
Mary one day chose to sing a cover of Anita Baker's ‘Caught Up in the Rapture’ at a Galleria Mall in White Plains, New York.
Her mothers partner took a copy of the recording to the singer Jeff Redd, who in turn, took the recording to Uptown records CEO, Andre Harrell.
Andre arranged a meeting with Mary in the late Eighties, and signed her to his imprint.
Performing live, and in sessions with Father M.C. and Jeff Redd, led to Mary collaborating on her first album with Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs, who described her as the ‘Queen of Hip-Hop Soul’.
The album was released in 1992 on Uptown Records, and was entitled ‘What's the 411?’.
what's the 411 - 1992 / what's the 411 (remix) - 1993 / my life - 1994 / share my world - 1997
‘What's the 411?’ proved to be something of an innovation in R&B, fusing several formats into one sound, which echoed several influences from Salt N’Pepa to Chaka Khan.
‘You Remind Me’, was the album's first single, which reached number one on the R&B singles chart.
The follow up, ‘Real Love’, went to the top of the R&B singles chart, and climbed the top ten Hot 100 singles chart, reaching number seven.
A follow up album of remixes followed, entitled ‘What's the 411? Remix’.
In 1994, a second album entitled, ‘My Life’ was released.
‘My Life’ was ranked at number 279 on the The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by magazine Rolling Stone.
In 1995, her song ‘Be Happy’, was released, charting at number 29 and number six on the Hot 100 and R&B singles chart.
She then performed on other artists albums, singles and film soundtracks, before releasing ‘Share My World’, her third album.
Further troubling personal issues led to the new album being seen as the singer working through her personal matters.
‘Share My World’ debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and contained the tracks ‘Love Is All We Need’, ‘I Can Love You’, ‘Everything’, ‘Missing You’ and ‘Seven Days’ (which featured George Benson).
The album received many accolades, and led to a World tour for the singer.
mary - 1999 / no more drama - 2001 / love and life - 2003 / the breakthrough - 2005
In 1999, Mary released the self titled album ‘Mary’.
A return to more traditional R&B roots was apparent in the overall sound of the set.
In 2001, MCA released Mary’s fifth album, ‘No More Drama’.
The first single, ‘Family Affair’ became her first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album sold nearly two million copies in the U.S.
In 2002, MCA released ‘Dance for Me’, a collection of club remixes.
The following year, Mary released her sixth album ‘Love & Life’ on Geffen Records.
Geffen had taken over MCA, and the new set saw Mary collaborating again with Sean Combs.
‘Love & Life’ became Mary’s fourth consecutive U.K. top ten album.
The album received mixed reviews from music critics, however, it was eventually certified Platinum by the RIAA.
Geffen Records released Mary’s seventh studio album, ‘The Breakthrough’ in 2005.
Again, the album charted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.
In 2006, a compilation called ‘Reflections - A Retrospective’ was released.
The following year, Mary released her eighth studio album, ‘Growing Pains’, which reached number two on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
The lead single, ‘Just Fine’, peaked at reached number 22 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
growing pains - 2007 / stronger - 2009 / my life II...the journey continues - 2011 / a mary christmas - 2013
‘Growing Pains’ was released in the UK in 2008, where it became Blige's fifth top ten and third-highest charting album.
The U.K.version contained her take on the Todd Rundgren evergreen ‘Hello It’s Me’, a track showcasing her ongoing musical maturity.
In 2009, Mary performed the song ‘Lean on Me’ at the Presidential Inauguration Committee's, ‘We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial’.
Later that year, she released her ninth studio album, ‘Stronger with Each Tear’.
The album reached number two on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Later in 2009, Mary sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at the Yankee Stadium before the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies played the World Series.
In 2010, Mary released ‘Hard Times Come Again No More’ with the group The Roots, for Hope for Haiti Now charity.
Mary released her tenth studio album, ‘My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1)’, in 2011.
The album reached number 5 on the Billboard 200.
In 2013, Mary released a Christmas album, entitled ‘A Mary Christmas’.
The album featured collaborations with the likes of Barbra Streisand, The Clark Sisters, Marc Anthony and Jessie J.
‘A Mary Christmas’ became her 12th top ten album, reaching number 10 in the charts.
Mary J. Blige is a recipient of nine Grammy Awards, and Billboard ranked her as the most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years.
What's The 411? (Uptown Records 1992)
What's The 411? - Remix Album (Uptown Records 1993)
My Life (Uptown Records 1994)
Share My World (MCA Records 1997)
Mary (MCA Records 1999)
No More Drama (MCA Records 2001)
Love And Life (Geffen Records 2003)
The Breakthrough (Geffen Records 2005)
Growing Pains (Geffen Records 2008)
Stronger With Each Tear (Geffen Records 2009)
My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1) (Geffen Records 2011)
A Mary Christmas (Verve Records 2013)
The London Sessions (Capitol Records 2014)
Strength Of A Woman (Universal Records 2017)