Mary J. Blige

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Mary J. Blige performs on the National Mall in Washington, DC
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Mary J. Blige performs on the National Mall in Washington, DC

Mary Jane Blige (born January 11, 1971) is a popular African-American R&B and soul singer, songwriter and producer. She was born in The Bronx, New York but grew up in the housing projects of Yonkers, eventually dropping out of school before graduating.

Blige's musical career began after she recorded "Caught Up in the Rapture" (Anita Baker) with a mall karaoke machine in 1989. The tape found its way to Uptown Records, who signed her as a back-up singer. Up-and-coming producer Sean "Puffy" Combs took an interest, however, and helped her with her critically acclaimed debut, What's the 411?, released in 1992. The album's blend of of hip hop and soul music created a new genre of music for female artists and earned Blige the distinction as the "Queen of Hip Hop Soul".

The follow-up, My Life, while less commercially successful than its predecessor, was an artist renaissance. My Life became one of the most influential R&B albums of the 90's and would pave the groundwork for some of today's female R&B singers. After Uptown folded in 1994, Mary remained an artist for MCA Records throughout the 90s. In 1996 Blige scored a #2 hit with "Not Gon' Cry," a song she contributed to the soundtrack for the movie Waiting To Exhale. With Share My World, released in 1997, Blige began working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis; the album was a commercial success, though reviews were mixed. After two years, Blige released her fourth and most critically-acclaimed album, Mary in 1999. The album sold over two million copies.

In 2001, Blige's fifth album, No More Drama was released. The first single, "Family Affair," shot straight to number one on Billboard's pop charts in the fall of 2001, becoming Blige's biggest hit single to date. The title track and "Rainy Dayz" featuring Ja Rule, a popular rapper at the time, also became two of Blige's biggest pop hits to date in 2002. The title song on this album borrowed the piano melody from the theme song to the soap opera The Young and the Restless.

At the Grammy Awards in early 2002, Blige created one of the best performances of the award show's history by going into an emotional version of No More Drama where she was seen crying at the end. After signing with Geffen after MCA folded in 2003, Blige released her sixth studio release, Love & Life. The album, featuring the Top 40 hit, "Love at First Sight" was certified Platinum.

Mary J. Blige is a 3-time Grammy award winner. One of which was her first for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group with rapper Method Man on their cover of the classic Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell single "You're All I Need to Get By", retitled "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need", in 1996. Blige is also an American Music Award and Soul Train Music award winner and won her first MTV Video Music Award for the video for "No More Drama" in 2002.

Blige is currently working on a new record, scheduled for a 2005 release.

Discography

Albums

  • What's the 411? (1992) US: #6 3x Platinum
  • What's the 411?: The Remix Album (1993) US: #118 Gold
  • My Life (1994) US: #7 3x Platinum
  • Share My World (1997) US: #1 UK: #8 3x Platinum
  • The Tour (1998) US: #21 Gold
  • Mary (1999) US: #2 UK: #5 2x Platinum
  • No More Drama (2001) US: #2 UK: #20 2x Platinum
  • No More Drama (Re-Release) (2002) US: #3 UK: #4
  • Dance for Me (2002) US: #76
  • Love & Life (2003) US: #1 UK: #8 Platinum

Singles

  • "You Remind Me" (1992) R&B: #1 US: #29
  • "Real Love" (1992) R&B: #1 US: #7 UK: #26
  • "Reminisce" (1992) R&B: #6 US: #57 UK: #31
  • "Sweet Thing" (1993) R&B: #11 US: #28
  • "I Don't Want to Do Anything" (1993) R&B: #86
  • "Love No Limit" (1993) R&B: #5 US: #44
  • "You Don't Have to Worry" (1994) R&B: #11 US: #63 UK: #36
  • "Be Happy" (1994) R&B: #6 US: #29 UK: #30
  • "My Love" (1994) R&B: #23 UK: #29
  • "I'm Going Down" (1995) R&B: #13 US: #22 UK: #12
  • "Mary Jane (All Night Long)" (1995) UK: #17 $
  • "You Bring Me Joy" (1995) R&B: #29
  • "I Love You" (1995) US: #57
  • "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (1995) R&B: #39 US: #95 UK: #23
  • "Not Gon' Cry" (1996) R&B: #1 US: #2 UK: #39
  • "I Can Love You" (1997) R&B: #2 US: #28
  • "Everything" (1997) R&B: #5 US: #24 UK: #6
  • "Love Is All We Need" (1997) UK: #15
  • "Missing You" (1997) UK: #19 $
  • "Seven Days" (1998) UK: #22 $
  • "All That I Can Say" (1999) R&B: #6 US: #44 UK: #29
  • "Deep Inside" (1999) R&B: #9 US: #51
  • "Your Child" (1999) R&B: #23
  • "Give Me You" (2000) R&B: #21 US: #68 UK: #19
  • "Family Affair" (2001) R&B: #1 US: #1 UK: #8
  • Dance for Me (2002) UK: #13 $
  • "No More Drama" (2002) R&B: #16 US: #15 UK: #9
  • "Rainy Dayz" (2002) R&B: #8 US: #12 UK: #17
  • "He Don't Think I Know" (2002) %
  • "Love @ 1st Sight" (2003) R&B: #10 US: #22 UK: #18
  • "Ooh!" (2003) R&B: #14 US: #29
  • "Not Today" (2004) R&B: #21 US: #41 UK: #40

$ - UK only release % - "He Think I Don't Know" released to promote remix album Dance for Me, and only to urban and dance radio.de:Mary J. Blige nl:Mary J. Blige

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