Mary J. Blige is an American singer, songwriter, model, record producer and actress.
Let’s find out some fun facts about her!#
1. Mary Jane Blige was born January 11, 1971 in Bronx, New York.
2. She is the second of four children born to mother Cora, a nurse, and second to father Thomas Blige, a jazz musician, The family subsisted on her mother’s earnings as a nurse after her father left the family in the mid-1970s, the former an alcoholic and the latter a Vietnam War veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
3. Blige spent her early years in Richmond Hill, Georgia, where she sang in a Pentecostal church.
4. 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.
5. Blige dropped out of high school in her junior year.
6. Pursuing a musical career, Blige spent a short period of 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.
7. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records.
8. Redd sent it to the president and CEO of the label, Andre Harrell.
9. Harrell met with Blige and in 1989 she was signed to the label, becoming the company’s youngest and first female artist.
10. After being signed to Uptown Records, Blige began working with record producer 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”.The music was described as “revelatory on a frequent basis”.
11. Blige was noted for having a “tough girl persona and streetwise lyrics”.
12. She has released 13 studio albums since and made over 150 guest appearances on other albums and soundtracks.
13. A recipient of nine Grammy Awards, in addition to receiving a record of thirty Grammy nominations, and also known as the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Blige is one of few entertainers in history to have eight or more albums to reach multi-platinum status.
14. My Life, in particular, is considered among the greatest albums ever recorded according to Rolling Stone, Time, and Vibe.
15. For her part in combining hip hop and soul in the early 1990s and its subsequent commercial success, Blige received the Legends Award at the World Music Awards. Blige also received the Voice of Music Award from performance rights organization ASCAP, with its official Jeanie Weems stating that “[Blige’s] music has been the voice of inspiration to women worldwide in both struggle and triumph.”
17. Blige made Time magazine’s “Time 100” list of influential individuals around the world in 2007.
18. As of 2013, Blige has sold more than 50 million albums and 25 million singles worldwide.
19. Billboard ranked Blige as the most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years.
20. The magazine also lists her 2006 song “Be Without You” as the top R&B song of the 2000s, as it spent an unparalleled 15 weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
21. In 2011, VH1 ranked Blige as the 80th greatest artist of all time.
22. She is ranked number 100 on the list of “100 greatest singers of all time” by Rolling Stone magazine.
23. In 2012, VH1 ranked Blige at number 9 in “The 100 Greatest Women in Music.”
24. Blige also earned high remarks for her work in film. She starred in the 2009 Tyler Perry box-office hit I Can Do Bad All By Myself and played a role in the film Rock of Ages (2012).
25. She received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her musical contribution to the film The Help. In partnership with the Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Carol’s Daughter, Blige released her “My Life” perfume.
26. The perfume broke HSN records by selling 65,000 bottles during its premiere.
27. The scent went on to win two FiFi Awards, including the “Fragrance Sales Breakthrough” award.
28. In 2017, she stars in the period drama film Mudbound directed by Dee Rees.
29. Blige married her manager, Martin “Kendu” Isaacs, on December 7, 2003.
30. At the time, Isaacs had two children, Nas and Jordan, with his first wife, and an older daughter, Briana, from a teenaged relationship.
31. In July 2016, Blige filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences”. The couple had no children together.