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Mary J. Blige

Singer, Songwriter, Actress and Philanthropist

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Mary J. Blige tells the story of what music means to her, and how it ultimately saved her life.

Iconic Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and philanthropist, Mary J. Blige is a figure of inspiration, transformation and empowerment making her one of the defining voices of the contemporary music era. With a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 32 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe nomination, and five American Music Awards, Blige is a global superstar. And in the ensuing years, the singer/songwriter has attracted an intensely loyal fan base—responsible for propelling worldwide sales of more than 50 million albums.

Born in the Bronx, New York, Blige began moving people with her soulful voice when at 18 she signed with Andre Harrell’s Uptown Records in 1989, becoming the MCA-distributed label’s youngest and first female artist. Influenced at an early age by the music of Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight, Blige brought her own gritty, urban-rooted style—fusing hip-hop, soul and honest, frank lyrics—to the forefront on her 1992 debut album What’s the 411? The multi-platinum set, executive produced by Sean “Diddy” Combs, quickly spun off several hits, including two No. R&B No. 1s: You Remind Me and Real Love.

Blige helped redefine R&B and began forging a unique niche for herself on the more personal second album, 1994’s My Life. Blige is an artist that uses her gift of song to lift spirits and touch lives while bringing her heart, soul and truth to those who are willing to listen. She is loved for her passionate, chart-topping hits like “Be Without You”, “No More Drama” and “Family Affair” all of which have made her a force in music.

And thus began the Blige movement: connecting legions of fans that identify with and have accompanied her throughout her personal travails and growth—all fearlessly related through her music. Each subsequent album reads like a chapter from an autobiography: Share My World (1997), Mary (1999), No More Drama (2001), Love & Life (2003), the multiple Grammy-winning and hit-spewing The Breakthrough (2005), Growing Pains (2007) and Stronger with Each Tear (2009). Along the way, she’s lined up a string of hit singles, including Not Gon’ Cry, Love Is All We Need, Seven Days, All That I Can Say, Family Affair and Just Fine.

In October 2013, Blige for Matriarch Records/Verve Records/Interscope Records released her first-ever holiday album titled, A Mary Christmas in collaboration with legendary producer, David Foster. Blige's holiday album features her soulful interpretation of classic holiday tunes including Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and The Christmas Song. Blige is joined by a number of A-list guests, such as Barbra Streisand, and duets with Jessie J, The Clark Sisters and Spanish collaboration with Mark Anthony.

Blige, who co-penned I Can See in Color for 2009’s Precious soundtrack, has branched out into acting. She appeared in Tyler Perry’s dramatic comedy, I Can Do Bad All By Myself in 2009 and starred in Rock of Ages, alongside Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Russel Brand in 2012. Taking on a more dramatic role, in 2013, she starred as Betty Shabazz in the TV movie Betty & Coretta, a biographical story about the widows of Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. Then in November 2013 Mary J. Blige starred as the mysterious guardian angel “Platinum Fro,” in the holiday musical film drama Black Nativity. Ramping up her acting career, Blige has guest-starred on the ABC comedy, Black-ish and the FOX musical drama Empire and as well as playing Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, on the NBC musical, The Wiz LIVE! 

In 2014, Blige released her 13th studio album, The London Sessions, which reached the No.1 position on the Top R&B Albums chart and included a behind-the-scene documentary of her recording sessions that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2015.

Blige recently completed The King and Queen of Hearts World Tour with Maxwell and is finalizing her 14th album titled Strength of a Woman, slated for release April 28. Her single, “Thick of It,” held the number 1 spot on the Urban AC Chart for 16 consecutive weeks after its release in November.

Blige most recently guest starred on ABC’s, How to Get Away with Murder and is starring in MUDBOUND, opposite Carey Mulligan and Garrett Hedlund, which premiered to rave reviews this year at Sundance.

More From Mary J.

Too Hurt to Give
Mary J. Blige admits that sometimes it's best to take a step back from your work as an artist to ensure emotions are not running too high while creating.

The Only Thing That's Going to Make You Free
Mary J. Blige talks about the freedom that comes with living your truth.

The Best Advice from Chaka Khan
Mary J. Blige shares the most powerful pieces of advice she has received over the years from her most admired mentors.

Making Magic with Taylor Swift
Mary J. Blige talks about teaming up with Taylor Swift, and how they inspired one another artistically.

Puffy Cultivated Me
Mary J. Blige discusses what it was like to transition into the spotlight.

What I Hope You See
Mary J. Blige expresses her thanks for the life she's been given.

As a Child
Mary J. Blige shares what she was like growing up, how she loved school, was curious and has always passionate about music.

Music Was My Only Friend
Mary J. Blige shares her struggles growing up in the projects of Queens, and how music was her "only friend" through challenging times.

My Next Endeavor
Mary J. Blige shares her excitement and passion for her next undertaking in the world of acting.

What Inspired Me in London
Mary J. Blige talks about how living in London inspired her to be her most authentic self as an artist, as opposed to blindly following trends.

These Kids Are Killing It
Mary J. Blige congratulates today's young artists for constantly inspiring and for being who they are.

My Legacy
Mary J. Blige shares her feelings of gratitude for the legacy she is able to leave behind, and her hope for future artists to remain genuine and diverse.