Mary J. Blige Women’s T-Shirt
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Mary J Blige – Real Love
Mary Jane Blige (/blaɪʒ/; born January 11, 1971) is an American singer-songwriter, actress, and philanthropist. Her career began in 1991 when she signed to Uptown Records. Furthermore, she went on to release 13 studio albums, eight of which have achieved multi-platinum worldwide sales. Blige has won nine Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards and has also received three Golden Globe Award nominations, including one for her supporting role in the film Mudbound (2017) and another for its second original song “Mighty River” for Mudbound; she also received a nomination for the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song, becoming the first person nominated for acting and songwriting in the same year. Since 2019, she stars in the Netflix superhero series The Umbrella Academy as Cha-Cha.
In 1992, Blige released her first album, What’s the 411?. Her 1994 album My Life is among Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Albums. She received a Legends Award at the World Music Awards in 2006, and the Voice of Music Award from ASCAP in 2007. Billboard ranked Blige as the most successful female R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the past 25 years. In 2017, Billboard magazine named her 2006 song “Be Without You” as the most successful R&B/Hip-Hop song of all time, as it spent an unparalleled 15 weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and over 75 weeks on the chart. In 2011, VH1 ranked Blige as the 80th greatest artist of all time. ln 2012, VH1 ranked Blige at number 9 in “The 100 Greatest Women in Music” list.
1971–1990: From early life to start of career
Blige was born on January 11, 1971 in New York, in the borough of The Bronx, but spent some time in Savannah, Georgia until she was 7. Afterwards she and her family moved back to New York and resided in the Schlobohm Housing Projects, located in Yonkers, New York. She was born to mother Cora, a nurse, and father Thomas Blige, a Jazz musician. She is the second of three children. She has an older sister LaTonya Blige-DaCosta, and brother, Bruce Miller. The family subsisted on her mother’s earnings as a nurse after her father left the family in the mid-1970s, a former alcoholic and the latter a Vietnam War veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Blige spent her early years in Richmond Hill, Georgia, where she sang in a Pentecostal church.
At the age of five, she was molested by a family friend, and as a teenager she endured years of sexual harassment from peers of both sexes. She briefly taught herself boxing in an effort to defend and protect herself. She would eventually turn to alcohol, drugs and promiscuous sex to try and numb the pain.
Blige later moved to Schlobohm Houses in Yonkers, New York, immediately north of New York City, where she lived with her mother and older sister. Blige dropped out of high school in her junior year.
Pursuing a musical career, Blige spent a short time in a Yonkers band named Pride with band drummer Eddie D’Aprile. In early 1988, she recorded an impromptu cover of Anita Baker‘s “Caught Up in the Rapture” at a recording booth in the Galleria Mall in White Plains, New York. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd sent it to the president and CEO of the label, Andre Harrell. Harrell met with Blige and in 1989 she was signed to the label as a backup vocalist for artists such as Father MC, becoming the company’s youngest and first female artist.
1991–1996: What’s The 411? and My Life
After being signed to Uptown, Blige began working with record producer Sean Combs, also known as Puff Daddy. He became the executive producer and produced a majority of the album. The title, What’s the 411?, derived from Blige’s past occupation as a 4-1-1 operator; it was also an indication by Blige of being the “real deal”. “What’s the 411” nevertheless established Blige as a dynamic storyteller whose performances of love narrative drew upon both her musical influences and her lived experiences as a hip-hop-generation woman. The music was described as “revelatory on a frequent basis”. Blige was noted for having a “tough girl persona and streetwise lyrics”. On July 28, 1992, Uptown/MCA Records released What’s the 411?, to positive reviews from critics. What’s the 411? peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It also peaked at number 53 on the UK Albums Chart. It was certified three times Platinum by the RIAA. According to Entertainment Weekly‘s Dave DiMartino, with the record’s commercial success and Blige’s “powerful, soulful voice and hip-hop attitude”, she “solidly connected with an audience that has never seen a woman do new jack swing but loves it just the same”. According to Dave McAleer, Blige became the most successful new female R&B artist of 1992 in the United States.
What’s the 411? earned her two Soul Train Music Awards in 1993: Best New R&B Artist and Best R&B Album, Female. It was also voted the year’s 30th best album in the Pazz & Jop—an annual poll of American critics nationwide, published by The Village Voice. By August 2010, the album had sold 3,318,000 copies in the US. What’s the 411? has since been viewed by critics as one of the 1990s’ most important records. Blige’s combination of vocals over a hip hop beat proved influential in contemporary R&B. With the album, she was dubbed the reigning “Queen of Hip Hop Soul” The album’s success spun off What’s the 411? Remix, a remix album released in December that was used to extend the life of the What’s the 411? singles on the radio into 1994, as Blige recorded her follow-up album.
Following the success of her debut album and a remixed version in 1993, Blige went into the recording studio in the winter of 1993 to record her second album, My Life. The album was a breakthrough for Blige, who at this point was in a clinical depression, battling both drugs and alcohol – as well as being in an abusive relationship with K-Ci Hailey, which was reported in several tabloids. On November 29, 1994, Uptown/MCA released My Life to positive reviews. The album peaked at number seven on the US Billboard 200 and number one of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for selling 481,000 copies in its first week and remaining atop the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for an unprecedented eight weeks. It ultimately spent 46 weeks on the Billboard 200 and 84 weeks on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In 2002, My Life was ranked number 57 on Blender‘s list of the 100 greatest American albums of all time. The following year, Rolling Stone placed it at number 279 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and in 2006, the record was included in Time‘s 100 greatest albums of all-time list.
Blige involved herself in several outside projects, recording a cover of Aretha Franklin‘s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” for the soundtrack to the FOX series New York Undercover, and “Everyday It Rains” (co-written by R&B singer Faith Evans) for the soundtrack to the hip hop documentary, The Show. Later in the year, she recorded the Babyface-penned and produced “Not Gon’ Cry“, for the soundtrack to the motion picture Waiting to Exhale. The platinum-selling single rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in early 1996. Blige gained her first two Grammy nominations and won the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for her collaboration with Method Man. Shortly after, Blige was featured on Jay Z‘s breakthrough single, “Can’t Knock the Hustle” from his debut Reasonable Doubt (1996) and with Ghostface Killah on “All That I Got Is You” from his debut, Ironman, which was also released that year. In addition, Blige co-wrote four songs, provided background vocals and was featured prominently on two singles with fellow R&B singer Case on his self-titled debut album (1996) including the US top 20 hit, “Touch Me, Tease Me“, which also featured then up-and-coming rapper Foxy Brown.
Mary J. Blige – Be Happy (Official Matt X Version)
Mary J. Blige – Family Affair
Mary J. Blige – I’m Goin’ Down (Official Music Video)
Mary J. Blige Performs “My Life,” Real Love,” & More In ICONIC Performance! | BET Awards 2019
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