Mary J. Blige (Research Paper) -NAJIA GRIFFIN

The Beginning Life of Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige was born on January 11, 1971 in the Bronx, New York, to her parents Cora and Thomas Blige. Mary J. Blige grew up with her eldest sister because her parents we’re never on good terms as they continuously fought which led to her parents divorcing at just age 4. After her parent’s divorce, her and her sister lived with their mother in Georgia. However, Blige was very uncomfortable with living in Georgia, therefore, she returned to the rougher parts of New York where the crime rates skyrocketed. Blige stated to have been fearful of her life while living in this rough area. While living in New York, Blige grew extremely fond of hip-pop music. She began to start practicing her singing which then became her passion by the age of 8 years old. When Blige would go to visit her father, her music taste would broaden as she started to perform in church choirs and family gatherings. In terms of highschool, Blige decided to quit highschool and focus mostly on her music projects. Throughout all of her projects, she received some attention for “Uptown Records,” because her singing was not recognized until she became a mentee to the legendary Puff Daddy.


Mary J. Blige’s first album “What’s the 411?” was released in July of 1992. She received a lot of positive feedback from critics and the public because her first album consisted of two distinct genres of music, soul and hip-pop. The album was a top album on the “Billboard 200” chart. The two singles that stood out from this album that the public and critics favored most were, “Real Love,” and “You Remind Me.” These songs became famous–so famous in fact that the American industry created an era where Mary J. Blige was a priority. Her second album, “My Life,” was released in 1995. This album highlighted her pain in personal life which resonated with a lot of inner city listeners as they were able to connect emotionally to her music. This album also topped the music charts and sold millions of records. In 1996, Blige’s second album, “My Life” received a Grammy nomination for the Best R&B album. She was unsuccessful in winning her nomination but she was able to win another award that was related to a rapping performance. Blige’s album, “My Life,” was the last album she made with “Uptown” label. 


In 1997, Blige signed with a record label called, “MCA.” After signing with this label, she released her next album called, “Share My World.” In terms of this album, critics argued that her music had a different vibe, meaning that she was more so connecting to traditional soul music. As Mary J. Blige produced more albums, the public noticed that she had a different style which consisted of different beats and soul music. Her transition to different genres of music received positive feedback from the public. Blige’s next couple of albums consisted of her personal life struggles and heartbreaks. Her next few albums showed her growth as an artist as she became versatile in her options of genres. Blige travelled to many places, including London, to record her albums and present herself in films. She made a number of appearances in many television shows as well. 


Mary J. Blige has had a successful career has she has received numerous awards. In terms of Billboard music awards, in 2006, Blige won Video Clip Of the Year for her song,”Be Without You.” She also won: “Hot 100 Airplay of the Year,” “R&B/Hip-Hop Song Airplay of the Year,” “R&B/Hip-Hop Song of the Year,” “R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year,” “R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Artist of the Year,” “R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Artist of the Year,” “Female Artist of the Year,” and “R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year.” In terms of the Grammy Awards, Mary J. Blige won “Best Contemporary R&B Album,” “Best Gospel Performance,” “Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group,” “Best R&B Song,” “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance,” “Best R&B Album,” “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals,” “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance,” and “Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.”  


Mary J Blige had multiple top hits. However, she had 40 songs on the Billboard top 100 list of all time. These songs are, “Family Affair, Runaway Love, Not Gon’ Cry, Be Without You, Ill Be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By, Real Love, Rainy Dayz, No More Drama, Just Fine, I’m Going Down, Love At First Sight, Everything, Sweet Thing, I Can Love You, You Remind Me, Be Happy, Ooh!, Remember Me, Enough Cryin, 911, Not Today, Love No Limit, All that I Can Say, I Am, Reminisce, I Love You/You Bring Me Joy, Take Me As I Am, Deep Inside, You Don’t Have to Worry, The One, Come Close To Me, Work That, Give Me You, If U Leave, MJB Da MVP, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Lean On Me, One, Mr. Wrong, and You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.” These 40 hits have been following Blige’s career her whole life.

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