Mary Jane Blige, born January 11, 1971, is a singer, actress, composer, and supermodel from the United States. She began her career as a background vocalist in 1991. She made her musical debut in 1992 with the album “What’s the 411?” Her career has taken off since then, with 13 studio albums to her credit. She has received widespread global acclaim and has been nominated for over 22 awards. Mary is known as the ‘Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,’ and she has encouraged a new generation of musicians to seek a career in music. “Prison Song,” her debut film, was released in 2001. She reached the zenith of her acting career with the 2017 film “Mudbound,” for which she garnered a slew of accolades and nominations. Celebrate the Queen’s birthday in her style!
Mary J. Blige was born in the Bronx, New York, to Cora and Thomas Blige on January 11, 1971. She was raised with her older sister. Mary’s parents split when she was four years old. Her mother ended up taking them to Georgia with her. However, that lifestyle did not suit them, so she moved to New York and lived in a seedy neighborhood for most of her early days, spending the majority of her time in constant dread for her life. She quickly became obsessed with hip-hop music as a result of her mother’s collection, and her trips to visit her father also aided her in establishing a strong musical sense. Mary would often practice singing by performing in church choirs and at family events. Her sister and mother encouraged her to pursue her interest, and she won a local singing competition when she was eight years old. To follow her musical dreams, she dropped out of school and focused only on her musical endeavors.
Blige began working with song producer Sean Combs, commonly known as Puff Daddy, after signing with Uptown. He was appointed executive producer and was responsible for the majority of her debut album. Mary’s debut album, “What’s the 411?,” was launched in July 1992. Unexpectedly, it was embraced by both critics and the general public. It was a rare fusion of two disparate musical styles, soul and hip-hop, yet it struck a chord with the audience. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 list and was certified three times Platinum by the R.I.A.A. Two hits from the album, ‘Real Love’ and ‘You Remind Me,’ became highly well-known, and the American music business heralded the arrival of a new period known as “Mary J. Blige.” She was a woman with great potential and ambition.
“My Life,” her second album, was released in 1995. It conveyed the hardships she had experienced in her personal life and mellowed down the hip-hop section. It appeared to try for an inner connection with the listeners and was successful in doing so. The album topped the charts and sold millions of copies, proving that Blige was not a ‘one-hit wonder.’ In 1996, “My Life” received a Grammy nomination for “Best R&B Album.” Despite losing the title, she then won the ‘Best Rap Performance’ award for her performance with Method Man. “My Life” also signaled the end of her relationship with some of her close friends and the label Uptown.
“Be Without You,” the lead single from her seventh album, “The Breakthrough,” was a smashing success that stayed at the top of numerous charts for weeks. Since then, she has released blockbuster albums that have garnered several awards and nominations. Following that, Blige headed into the movie industry. In 2001, she made her debut with “Prison Song.” She has also previously starred in the T.V. sitcom, “The Jamie Foxx Show.” She went on to appear in films such as “Rock of Ages”, and the medieval drama “Mudbound.” She received critical praise as well as multiple honors and nominations for her performance in “Mudbound.”
She fell in love with Kendu Issacs in the early 2000s and married him in 2003, but she filed for divorce in 2016. She became addicted to drugs and alcohol during the early phases of her career, which she considers to be the darkest period of her life.
Blige kick-starts her music career by launching her first album, “What's the 411,” which receives positive responses from critics and audiences.
She evolves as an artist, experimenting with many musical styles that yet proved to be a hit while expressing her challenges and heartbreaks.
"Growing Pains," her eighth album, helps her accomplish her hat-trick, as it charts on both the "Billboard 200" and the "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs" charts.
She follows up with the gold-certified "My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1)."
She makes a trip to London to record her next, "The London Sessions" and soon after, two of the album's tracks debut at the top of the Billboard charts.
She also collaborates with Kanye West on the song 'Love Yourself,' off her album "Strength of a Woman," which is released to tremendous critical and commercial acclaim in April 2017.
She hits the pinnacle of her acting career with the 2017 picture "Mudbound," for which she receives several honors and nominations.
Why We Love Mary J. Blige
She’s a trendsetter
Nobody has swag like her, on or off the stage. Blige has always been known to be a trendsetter!
She ages gracefully
She makes her 50s look fierce and fabulous! What is 51?
She’s an inspiration to us all
She has always been faithful to herself. Her tale of recovery from addiction and assault is an inspiration to us all.
5 Surprising Facts
Super female star
She has now recorded 13 studio albums and made over 150 cameo appearances on various albums and musicals.
Nine Grammy nominations
A Grammy Award-winner with a total of nine Grammy nominations, Blige is one of the only handful of performers in history to have eight or more albums go multi-platinum.
In 2007, Blige was named in “Time” magazine's "Time 100" list of the world's most influential people.
She has sold more than 50 million albums and 25 million singles internationally!
Blige's first step to fame
She became one of the most successful female R&B singers in the United States in 1992 with only her debut album.
Mary J. Blige FAQs
Is Mary J. Bligemarried?
She was married to Kendu Isaacs, but the couple split up in 2018.
Does Mary J. Blige have kids of her own?
No, she has no kids herself, but she’s a stepmom to Isaac’s three children.
Is Mary J. Blige dating anyone currently?
She is single.
Mary J. Blige’s birthday dates