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Mary J. Blige (born 11.1971) Mary J. Blige is an American singer / rapper and songwriter. She has sold over 40 million records.
Breakthrough: In 1988, Mary J. Blige recorded a cover of 'Caught Up In the Rapture' by Anita Baker, in a shopping mall booth. The tape made its way to the president of Uptown Records, Andre Harrell. In 1989, Mary was signed to the label and became its first female artist.
Initially, Blige acted as a backing singer for Uptown's more established artists. In 1991, she performed on Showtime at the Apollo, singing with Jeff Redd. In 1992, Blige featured in her first national appearance, performing with Grand Puba on Yo! MTV Raps.
Mary J. Blige's debut album was overseen by Sean 'Puffy' Combs, an A&R executive for Uptown Records at the time.
What's the 411? was released in 1992. Its debut single, 'You Remind Me' reached number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Its follow-up 'Real Love' became Blige's first top 10 hit, making it to number seven. What's the 411? spawned What's the 411? Remix, which was released whilst Mary worked on her second album.
In the Limelight: My Life was released in 1994, again under the watchful eye of Sean Combs, who had also taken on the role of Blige's manager.
'Be Happy' was the first single from My Life and reached number 29. Next was a cover of Rose Royce's 'I'm Going Down', which was Blige's first major UK hit, reaching number 12.
Suge Knight, signed Mary to Suge Management as a consultant and in 1995, she became involved in a number of outside projects, such as recording a cover of '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman' for the FOX network TV series New York Undercover. She also worked with Method Man on the Grammy Award-winning 'I'll Be There For You / You're All I Need to Get By'. Early in 1996, she released 'Not Gon' Cry', written by Babyface, for the film Waiting to Exhale.
In 1997, Share My World, Blige's third album, was released. A number of producers had taken Sean Combs' place, including R. Kelly and Jimmy Jam. The album debuted at number one in the US and launched five hit singles, including 'Love Is All We Need' (featuring Nas), 'I Can Love You' (featuring Lil' Kim) and 'Everything'. The accompanying tour gave birth to the Gold-certified live album, The Tour.
Blige's fourth album, Mary, was released in 1999. The album featured a number of famous guests, including Elton John (on 'Deep Inside'), Lauryn Hill (on 'All That I Can Say') and Aretha Franklin (on 'Don't Waste Your Time').
In 2001, No More Drama was released, spawning her first number one single, the Dr. Dre produced 'Family Affair'. The album sold almost two million copies but her label, MCA, repackaged the album with a new cover and track-listing, including 'Rainy Dayz', featuring Ja Rule. The song 'He Think I Don't Know' won Blige a 'Best Female R&B Vocal Performance' Grammy.
Love & Life, released in 2003, saw Mary working with Combs again. The album debuted at number one in the US but its lead single, 'Love @ 1st Sight' received a disappointing response, as did her duets with Sting and Eve.
The Breakthrough (2005) featured will.i.am, Dre & Vidal and Bryan Michael Cox and has sold over seven million copies across the globe. Her duet with U2 on their song 'One' became Blige's biggest hit in the UK.
In 2006, Blige released a compilation entitled Reflections - A Retrospective as well as a duet with Ludacris, 'Runaway Love', for his album Release Therapy. She also appeared with Aretha Franklin on the soundtrack to Bobby, singing 'Never Gonna Break My faith', which won a Grammy for 'Best Gospel Performance'.
Growing Pains (2007), was Blige's eighth studio album. The Grammy-nominated 'Just Fine' saw a return to the UK charts for Blige. 'Work That' was used to accompany an iTunes commercial.
In 2008, Mary J. Blige embarked on a tour with Jay-Z and they released a duet, 'You're Welcome'.
American star Mary J. Blige has revealed that she finds singing her hit songs to be therapeutic.
Mary J. Blige finds singing her hit songs to be therapeutic.
The chart-topping star has been one of the best-selling female artists in the world for more than two decades - but Mary has insisted she still puts her heart and soul into each and every performance because she finds it to be a rewarding experience.
Speaking to New York magazine, she shared: ''If I'm on stage every single night, it can't just be for my fans. It obviously is for me, too.
Continue reading: Mary J. Blige: Singing Is Therapeutic
Rap star Queen Latifah has hailed Mary J. Blige following her Oscar nominations.
Queen Latifah has hailed Mary J. Blige following her Oscar nominations.
The 47-year-old star received nods in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role in 'Mudbound' and for her track 'Mighty River', which features in the movie - and Queen Latifah has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the American singer.
She wrote on the micro-blogging website: ''Congratulations @maryjblige on your two Oscar nominations!!! You have made history as the first person to be nominated for a performance and original song in the same year. I am filled with joy for you and I'm so proud and inspired by your talent, drive, and brilliance #Oscarnoms (sic)''
Continue reading: Queen Latifah Hails Mary J. Blige
What do you do when you feel like your garden ornaments are in grave danger? You call upon Sherlock Gnomes, of course! At least, that's what these pottery lovebirds do when they find their new home under attack in the sequel to 'Gnomeo and Juliet' starring James McAvoy and Emily Blunt.
Garden gnome lovers (that's lovers who are garden gnomes, not lovers of garden gnomes) Gnomeo and Juliet feel like they've finally got their happily ever after; a glorious new garden surrounded by their dearest friends. That's all they've ever wanted. But when they discover that most of the gnomes have disappeared overnight, they begin to worry for their safety.
In a bid to solve the mystery of the missing gnomes, they enlist the help of genius detective Sherlock Gnomes, voiced by Johnny Depp. His methods are a little unorthodox to say the least, but when it turns out their situation is far worse than they feared, they have no choice but to follow his lead.
Continue: Sherlock Gnomes Trailer
Director-cowriter Dee Rees (Bessie) gives this 1940s drama such an epic scale that it might have played out better as a TV miniseries, with more time to flesh out the characters and complex situations. But the themes are so vivid that it still gets under the skin, and the nonstop voiceover from a variety of characters adds plenty of thoughtful insight. If only there were fewer plot details brought over from Hillary Jordan's source novel, it might be an easier film to identify with.
It's set just as the US enters World War II, and Henry (Jason Clarke) buys a farm in Mississippi. His wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) isn't thrilled about leaving her comfortable home in the city to raise their two daughters in the muddy fields, accompanied by Henry's racist father (Jonathan Banks). She gets some support from their black tenant Florence (Mary J. Blige), wife of sharecropper Hap (Rob Morgan), who hopes one day to have a farm of his own. Florence and Hap's son Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) is fighting in Europe, as is Henry's charmer of a brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund). And when these two soldiers return, their friendship stirs resentment among the bigots in the surrounding community.
The film's approach to segregation in the Deep South is riveting, and makes it important to see, especially as it so vividly depicts how this kind of racial division degrades everyone in ways that are both brutal and eerily subtle. And as the story progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that something horrific is going to happen. Rees gives the film a soulfulness that makes it thoroughly involving, even if she gives away a couple of key plot points in the prologue. She also creates a strikingly realistic atmosphere, with a rainsoaked landscape so vivid we feel damp closing in around us.
Continue reading: Mudbound Review
Mary J Blige has heaped praise on Rihanna for being unapologetic about everything in her life and career.
The 46-year-old singer has heaped praise on the 29-year-old star's 'Wild Thoughts' collaboration with DJ Khaled and Bryston Tiller, and revealed she is a ''huge'' supporter of the 'Don't Stop The Music' hitmaker.
Naming 'Wild Thoughts' as the song she can't get out of her head at the moment, Blige told NME: ''It's just the beat and the way Rihanna is singing and riding the beat. I am a huge Rihanna fan.
Continue reading: Mary J Blige Loves 'unapologetic' Rihanna
Chart-topping star Mary J. Blige has admitted she was ''petrified'' to interview Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The 46-year-old singer-songwriter was tasked with interviewing the then-Presidential candidate last year and she admits her lack of experience influenced her decision to serenade Clinton with a rendition of Bruce Springsteen's 'American Skin (41 Shots)'.
She said: ''[I was] petrified to do the interview because I'm not a journalist. But I became one. I'm an actress so I turned that thing on and made it happen. That was a nice conversation.''
Continue reading: Mary J. Blige: I Was Petrified To Interview Hilary Clinton
This year's Rotterdam event was definitely one to remember.
Last weekend saw another North Sea Jazz Festival come and go, with a string of performances from some of the greatest soul singers alive including Grace Jones, Solange and Mary J. Blige. The big event took place in Rotterdam across a number of stages at the Ahoy arena.
Grace Jones performs at North Sea Jazz Festival 2017
At the top of the list were gospel veteran Mavis Staples and new wave legend Grace Jones - who are still rocking arenas at 69 and 78-years-old respectively. The former released her most recent studio album 'Livin' on a High Note' last year, and has since made guest appearances on songs like Arcade Fire's 'I Give You Power' and Gorillaz's 'Let Me Out'. Grace, meanwhile, hasn't released anything since her 2015 70s 'Disco' box set, though she did also appear on Gorillaz's 'Humanz' album.
The actress joins Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige in the upcoming special.
NBC have finally found their Dorothy for the upcoming live TV broadcast of musical 'The Wiz'. Shanice Williams, an 18 year old New Jersey native, has been announced as being cast in the role for the production which will air live on NBC December 3rd.
Shanice Williams will join Queen Latifah in 'The Wiz' live.
Speaking on the ‘Today’ show the young actress said, "This is always what I wanted to do. So I guess I'm ready. I'm ready now.” So far the special has also cast Queen Latifah as The Wiz, Mary J. Blige as the Wicked Witch of the West and David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion.
Continue reading: NBC Casts Newcomer Shanice Williams As Dorothy In 'The Wiz Live'
Motorhead, FFS and George Clinton make for exciting surprise additions.
After a bit of reflection, 'Coming to London' just sounded so odd. We live in a world now, after all, where artists need nothing more than an internet connection to be able to collaborate with each other, meaning Mary J Blige's announcement that she was forsaking New York for Britain's capital had something of a twentieth century ring about it. Countering, the singer explained that this wasn't some kind of Royal engagement from her perspective, and that she wanted to use the energy and creative vibe generated by the Thames to give her music a regenerative makeover. With the cutting edge being provided by a clutch of talented young froth from around the city, 'The London Sessions' are the result.
For much of its first third, it's easy for the listener to ask themselves why she bothered to make the trip. Opener 'Therapy' - co-written with cherubic, Grammy scoffing Sam Smith - is a sardonic, bare bones number that leaves few stones unturned lyrically, but opens up no new doors. It's followed by 'Doubt', a slightly overblown tale of ultimate redemption clearly indebted to gospel but again, not really very well... Shoreditch. Make no mistake, this is Blige doing what she does impeccably, her voice still honeyed where it needs to be, raw in other moments, but again the pattern of living within her glossy means continues through 'Not Loving You' and 'When You're Gone'; both polished, mid-tempo and full of poise but, equally, neither being anything which breaks her mould.
Blige in the build up had spoken about immersing herself in the underground house sounds of the nineties, beats which outfits like Disclosure and Gorgon City have reproduced so faithfully over the last couple of years, and the breakthrough finally comes on 'Right Now', produced and co-written by Blige with the former (MJB gets those joint chops on every song) but bearing their spidery minimalism throughout. Finally, with any inhibitions abandoned, what follows is a kind of whistle-stop genre tour, from the rave squawks and big piano vamps of 'My Loving', the crisp two step of 'Pick Me Up' through to the lush disco of 'Follow'. Despite the diversity, each of these you think speak more to the singer's open mindedness and versatility rather than a sea change in her philosophy; when in Rome and all that, rather than casting aside a formula which has helped sell more than 50 million albums worldwide.
Continue reading: Mary J. Blige - The London Sessions Album Review
Date of birth
11th January, 1971
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