Mary J Blige: Jan. 11,1971
Born and raised in The Bronx, NY
" Be Without You"
Who Is She?
Singer, song writer and actress, this dynamic figure of R&B started her career as background singer on Uptown Records in 1989. A recording of the 17 year old Mary singing karaoke in a booth caught the attention of record producers and labels. realsing her first solo album, What’s the 411?, Mary has had several No. 1 Billboard hits and has won nine Grammy Awards. She has also earned positive reviews for her acting in projects such as the 2013 TV movie Betty & Coretta and the 2017 World War II-era drama Mudbound.
Before becoming a music mogul Mary endured a very violent childhood. Her mother, Cora Blige, was a nurse and an alcoholic; her father, Thomas Blige, was a jazz musician who played the bass guitar, as well as a Vietnam War veteran who suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.” She once recalled. “He left us when I was 4, but he’d come back from time to time and abuse her some more.” Hoping to escape from her father, Blige and her mother moved to the Schlobohm Houses, a public housing project in Yonkers. The projects offered only more horror: “I’d hear women screaming and running down the halls from guys beating up on them. People chased us with weapons. I never saw a woman there who wasn’t abused. It was a dangerous place. No one wanted anyone else to get ahead. When I was 5, sexual stuff was done to me. My mother was a single parent, a working woman. She left us with people she thought could be trusted. They hurt me.” Mary found escape from the terrible world of her childhood in church and in music. “I loved being there because I wouldn’t be hurt,” she said about going to church. “I felt wanted and special, and when I was 12, I sang the hymn ‘Lord, Help Me To Hold Out Until My Change Has Come.’ I was praying as I sang it. I felt the Spirit.” However, by the time she turned 16, she had dropped out of school, stopped going to church, and become addicted to drugs and sex. “I ended up becoming my environment,” Mary said. “It was bigger than me. I had no self-respect. I hated myself. I thought I was ugly. Alcohol, sex, drugs—I’d do whatever it took to feel a little better.
Early Career :
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.”
" My Life(1994)"
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, and featured hits like “Love Is All We Need” and “Everything.”
In 2017, Mary pulled off a rare acting/singing double nomination from the Golden Globes, earning consideration for her supporting role in the period drama Mudbound and its song “Mighty River.” (Barbra Streisand is the only performer to win Globes in both categories the same year, for her contributions to A Star Is Born in 1976.) Mary later earned Academy Award nominations for Supporting Actress and Original Song. Early in 2018, it was announced that mary was being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with Sean “Diddy” Combs tapped to deliver the introduction for the January 11 ceremony.