|Mary J. Blige|
AKA Mary Jane Blige
Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Religion: Born-Again Christian
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Pop/R&B diva
Mary J. Blige spent her childhood between Savannah and Yonkers, soaking up the musical influences of her mother's 70s soul collection and her Pentecostal church. Through occasional visits with her musician father, she began to develop her singing technique and learn the basics of harmony. When she was 17, a recording made in a Karaoke booth of her singing Anita Baker's Caught Up In The Rapture began to be circulated by her mother's boyfriend, eventually resulting in an audition and -- immediately afterwards -- a contract with Uptown Records. A period of several years followed before work began on an album of her own, but in the interim Blige was kept busy as a guest performer for many of her Uptown labelmates.
With Sean Puff Daddy Combs at the helm, her debut record What's The 411 eventually surfaced in 1992, its its blend of soul and hip-hop garnering enthusistic response from both critics and the record-buying public. An album of remixes appeared the next year, filling the gap before her second release My Life in 1994, which was also under the direction of Combs. This second album continued her forward momentum, featuring the popular singles You Gotta Believe, All Night Long and You Bring Me Joy, and resulted in a Grammy nominations for Best R&B Album. A contribution to the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack in 1995 served to broaden her popularity.
The dictates of Combs were discarded in 1997, and Blige took on executive producer duties for herself with the next effort Share My World; the album became her first number one on the mainstream charts and received numerous industry awards. A live document, The Tour, followed in 1998. With Mary, her fourth release, the singer assumed even further control of her output, as well as bringing an extensive roster of collaborators of varying backgrounds on board -- Eric Clapton, Elton John, Lauryn Hill and Aretha Franklin amongst them. 2001's No More Drama and 2003's Love & Life (which once again enlisted the help of producer Combs) continued to maintain the upward arc of her career.
Mother: Cora Blige
Sister: LaTonya Blige-DaCosta
Boyfriend: K-Ci Hailey
Husband: Kendu Isaacs (m. 7-Dec-2003)
Grammy Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group (1995)
Grammy Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (2002)
Grammy Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals (2003)
Endorsement of Burger King (2012)
Endorsement of Coca-Cola
Endorsement of Unilever Axe men's grooming (2010)
Endorsement of Megaupload (2011)
Risk Factors: Alcoholism
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Black Nativity (27-Nov-2013)
Rock of Ages (13-Jun-2012) · Justice
Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (8-Jul-2011) · Herself
I Can Do Bad All by Myself (11-Sep-2009) · Tanya
Fade to Black (5-Nov-2004) · Herself
Prison Song (27-Apr-2001)
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