Mary J. Blige Wearing KC Designs Jewelry
Mary J. Blige is a multi-talented American songwriter, singer, rapper, actress and record producer. She is the only musician to win Grammy Awards in Rap, Pop and Gospel. She has received a number of accolades for her work, such as nine Grammy Awards and Four American Music Awards. She has recorded eight albums that went multi-platinum.
As of 2011, Mary J. Blige total sales of more than 15 million singles and over 50 million albums around the world. She was named by Billboard magazine as one of the greatest female R&B artist of the last 25 years. In 2012, VH1 gave her a ranking of #9 in the “100 Greatest Women in Music.”
Mary J. Blige was born in 1971 in New York, in the Bronx. She was the younger of two daughters and her mother was a nurse and her father a jazz musician. She was influenced by the great legends of jazz from a very early age, as her mother would always play Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle and Jean Carne albums throughout Blige’s childhood. Listening to these great singers had an impact on young Blige and her musician father taught her how to sing.
Her father later abandoned her after divorcing her mother. At this point, her mother took the little girls to Savannah, Georgia but later returned to New York to live in the Sclobam housing projects in Yonkers. This area was known for violence, drugs and crime and it was growing up in this tumultuous environment where Blige began to listen to hip-hop music, combing it with the soulful vibe of her mother’s 70s soul collection. She struggled for a while, doing drugs and drinking heavily, but it was her musical talent that would finally rescue her from the tragic environment that she was in.
Mary J. Blige left school when she was in Grade 11. She recorded a cover of “Caught Up in the Rapture” by Anita Baker at a recording booth in a mall in White Plains, New York. She had just recorded the karaoke track for fun, not realizing that it would be anything significant. Her mother’s boyfriend took the cassette to Jeff Redd at Uptown Records, who passed it along to Andre Harrell, the CEO. Harrell was impressed by her singing talent and he signed her to the label in 1989. She became the youngest artist ever to be signed by the label and the very first female.
She has recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of her debut album What’s the 411? with a new edition. Mary J. Blige was one of the main artists to create the “ghetto fabulous’ style which was a mixture of hip-hop beats, soulful vocals, glamorous sophistication and street sense. It was the natural marriage of her hip-hop and soul influences and she went on to become known as the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul” and one of the greatest singers of her generation.
Mary J. Blige is pictured here wearing a Diamond Cross Necklace by KC Designs.