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About Mary J. Blige

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About Mary J. Blige

Born & Raised:

Full name: Mary Jane Blige.
Born: Jan. 11, 1971 in The Bronx, New York.
Raised in The Bronx, Richmond Hill, Georgia and Yonkers, NY.

Early Life:

Mary Jane Blige was born in the New York City borough of the Bronx, the daughter of Cora and Thomas Blige. Mary and her three siblings grew up listening to music; her father was a jazz musician and her mother a fan of 1970s R&B and Soul singers like Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle and Chaka Kahn, whom Mary would later on be compared to, and then work with, during her singing career. Her father, whom Mary has said was physically abusive to his wife, left the family when Mary was 4. After spending part of her youth living in Georgia, Mary and her family eventually relocated to Yonkers, NY, which is where she grew up.

Early Career:

Mary, who had dropped out of high school in the 11th grade, happened to record a karaoke version of the Anita Baker song "Caught Up in the Rapture" at a mall when she was 17. The recording eventually got passed around until it made its way into the hands of Uptown Records CEO Andre Harrell, who signed her to a contract in 1989, when she was 18. She mostly sang background vocals on songs by others until starting work on her debut album, What's the 411?, which was released in July 1992. The album's street-influenced sounds and attitude earned Mary the nickname "The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul."

Later Career:

Through her early career, Mary continued to cross over between hip-hop and R&B, but slowly evolved into a more traditional R&B artist throughout the 1990s. Mary has said in interviews that she struggled with alcohol and drug abuse during this period, feeling that she was unworthy of her success. A change came with her 1997 song "Not Gon' Cry," which represented a shift for her toward a more mature sound and image. Over the next few years, she put aside her hip-hop image and songs about unhappiness that had marked most of her early career. Today, her music crosses over between R&B, Hip-Hop, Gospel and Pop.

Personal:

Mary has been married to record industry executive Martin Kendu Isaacs since Dec. 7, 2003. He has three children from previous relationships.
She had previously dated other singers in the music industry, including Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey of the vocal group Jodeci in the early-to-mid 1990s and R&B singer Case Woodard in the mid-'90s.

Discography:

2011: My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act I).
2009: Stronger with Each Tear.
2007: Growing Pains.
2005: The Breakthrough.
2003: Love & Life.
2001: No More Drama.
1999: Mary.
1997: Share My World.
1994: My Life.
1992: What's the 411?

Grammys Won:

2010: Best Contemporary R&B Album for Growing Pains.
2009: Best R&B Performance by Duo/Group (with Chaka Khan) for "Disrespectful."
2008: Best Gospel Performance (with Aretha Franklin & Harlem Boys Choir) for "Never Gonna Break My Faith."
2007: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Be Without You."
2007: Best R&B Album for The Breakthrough.
2004: Best Pop Collaboration w/Vocals (with Sting) for "Whenever I Say Your Name."
2003: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "He Think I Don't Know."
1996: Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group (with Method Man) for "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By."
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