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Genre: Adult Contemporary, Classic R&B, R&B
Price: Call For Fee
Availability: Generally Availability
Mary J. Blige was born in 1971 in the Bronx, New York and grew up in Yonkers. Exposed to the tough streets and challenging environment of the area, Mary ended up leaving school before graduating and supporting herself as a hairdresser for a few years before a fortuitous afternoon launched her music career. While shopping at a mall in White Plains, New York, she stumbled upon a karaoke machine in a store and sang “Caught up in the Rapture,” capturing the performance on tape. Her stepfather, realizing the potential in the recording, sent the tape to Andre Harrell at Uptown Records, and Mary J. Blige found herself with her first singing gigs, doing backup vocals for other artists.
Within only a few years, Sean “Puffy” Combs stumbled upon Blige and, convinced of her talents, produced and released her debut album, What’s the 411? The album My Life came next in, in 1995, and then Share My World in 1997. By now, Blige was enjoying chart-topping status, as the album debuted at number one on the charts, but her full potential was realized with the album Mary in 1999. Critics and fans alike agreed that her more sophisticated, elegant, and developed voice helped Mary J. Blige to achieve a classic R&B/soul sound that set her apart from her contemporaries.
A string of successful albums followed, including: No More Drama (2001), Love and Life (2003), The Breakthrough (2005), Reflections (A Retrospective) in 2006, and Growing Pains (2007.) Hits such as “Be Without You,” “Work That,” “Take Me as I Am,” and “Just Fine,” spent weeks on the charts, and Blige found herself with a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Performance. In 2007, Mary J. Blige also collaborated with 50 Cent on the single “All of Me,” and in 2008 she collaborated with Jay-Z on the single “You’re Welcome” and participated in Jay-Z’s tour that same year. A year later, she performed “Lean on Me” for the Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, marking the historical achievement of the event.
Stronger with Each Tear, Mary J. Blige’s ninth studio album, was released at the end of 2009. The album features the hits “The One,” “I Am,” “Each Tear,” and “We Got Hood Love.” That same year, Blige also recorded the song “Stronger,” which was featured in the documentary film More Than A Game. The following year, Mary participated in the Hope for Haiti Now concert and then performed with Andrea Bocelli at the Grammy Awards, singing “Bridge over Troubled Water.” My Life II… The Journey Continues was released in 2011, and Mary J. Blige continues to perform, record, and tour.
Mary J. Blige has thus far in her career sold more than fifteen million singles and fifty million albums. She is ranked as the most successful R&B artist of the past twenty-five years, and Rolling Stone ranks her on the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list.
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