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Birth name: Mary Jane Blige
Also known as: Brook Lynn, The Queen OF Hip-Hop Soul
Born: January 11, 1971 The Bronx, New York, United States.
June 18, 2008 :"Mary J. Blige Donates $400 To Stranger To Buy A Dress"
Mary J. Blige gave a stranger $400 to buy a designer dress.
Mary J. Blige was at the Diane von Furstenberg store in New York last week when she overheard a woman discussing the price of a dress with the sales assistant at the register.
A source said: "The girl had a dress on hold that she loved, and the bill was $900. She thought it was only $500, and she couldn't afford it. Mary told the saleswoman, 'Go get the girl. I want to pay for the balance on the dress.' "
"The customer at first declined Mary's offer but relented after the singer said, 'I know what it's like to want something and not be able to have it. I insist.'"
Mary J. Blige also insisted she didn't want the woman to pay her back when she had saved up enough money.
The source added to the New York Post newspaper: "The customer wanted to send her a check for the balance, but Mary said, 'Just enjoy it. I'm blessed, so let me do this.'"
April 6, 2008: "Mary J. Bliges Concert Shout-Out to Jay-Z & Beyoncé "
Mum was the wedding word from Jay-Z as he hit the stage in North Carolina on Saturday a day after a friend says he married Beyoncé Knowles revealing nothing about a ceremony and wearing no ring. But co-headliner Mary J. Blige on the Heart of the City tour couldnt maintain the same level of silence, shouting to the sold-out Greensboro audience: Congratulations to my man, Jay-Z, and my girl B, before starting her set with Youre All I Need. Otherwise, it was musical business as usual for Jay-Z, who stuck to the concert script, performing on his own and doing duets with Blige. Beyoncé was nowhere to be seen, and his only reference to her came when he played a few notes of Crazy in Love, then cut it off, saying, Sorry, B. But this is something he does at every show.A couple since 2002, Jay-Z, 38, and Beyonce, 26, have long kept quiet about their relationship, and their reps are still not comfirming a wedding. But a friend tells PEOPLE: It happened earlier (Friday) evening. Jay wanted it to be a really private affair close friends and family. The ceremony was followed by a lavish party at the rappers Tribeca apartment that drew Beyoncés mother Tina Knowles, her father/manager Mathew, her sister Solange, her Destinys Child mates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, and the couples friend Gwyneth Paltrow.
*** NEW pictures of MARY J. BLIGE at the Super Bowl VH1 Pepsi Smash Concert,
"Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, AZ"
January 31, 2008
Mary J. Blige biography (bio):
Mary Jane Blige is an American R&B, soul, and hip hop soul singer, who has sold over twenty million albums worldwide since her career began in 1991.
Blige was born in The Bronx, New York City, to a jazz musician father. When she was four, her father, Thomas, left the family, leaving her mother Cora to raise two children by herself. They then moved to neighboring Yonkers where they resided in Schlobaum Housing Projects, one of the city's most dangerous housing projects. She sang lead in her church's choir, and at seven she won a talent contest singing Aretha Franklin's "Respect." On the February 1, 2006 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she revealed that she was sexually assaulted at age five by a family friend.
In 1988, Blige recorded an impromptu cover of Anita Baker's "Rapture" at a recording booth in a local shopping mall. Her mother's boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd then sent it to the president and CEO of the label, Andre Harrell. Harrell met with Blige and, in 1989, she was signed to the label; becoming the company's youngest and first female artist.
Upon signing to Uptown, Blige's early years there were dormant, as the label continued to focus most of its attention on its more established acts. During this time, Blige occasionally did session work as a background singer for her label mates. In 1990, she was introduced as a background singer for Redd, during a performance at the Apollo Theatre. The same year she also sang the hook on "I'll Do 4 U" by rapper and label mate Father MC; Blige also appeared in the concert-themed music video, in the role of a back-up singer.
1992-1994: What's the 411?:
Production for Blige's debut album began in 1991, with Sean "Puffy" Combs (then, a fledgling A&R executive at Uptown) largely overseeing the project. Also enlisted were some of the top R&B and hip-hop producers of the time, among them were Tony Dofat, Mark Morales and Mark C. Rooney, Dave "Jam" Hall, and DeVante Swing.
On July 28, 1992, Uptown Records released What's the 411?. "You Remind Me", the album's lead-off single, peaked at number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number one on the R&B singles chart that summer. The second single, "Real Love", was released in the fall. It too topped the R&B singles chart, and became Blige's first top ten Hot 100 singlepeaking at number seven. Both singles were also certified Gold.
More What's the 411? singles followed into 1993, including: "Reminisce", a cover of Rufus's "Sweet Thing", and "Love No Limit." By the end of the year, What's the 411? had sold two million copies. Blige, meanwhile, was being christened as 'The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.' (She later confessed that, at the time, she believed the title to be nothing more than a marketing tool.) The album's success spun off What's the 411? Remix, a remix album released in December that was used to extend the life of the What's the 411? singles on the radio into 1994, as Blige recorded her followup album.
1994-1995: My Life:
On November 29, 1994, Uptown Records released Blige's second album, My Life. Darker, moodier, and slightly less uptempo than its predecessorthe set was again overseen by Combs (despite his having recently left the label), who co-produced all but one of the albums tracks, and took over as Blige's manager. Unlike What's the 411?, Blige co-write a large body of the material, basing it on her personal life hence the title. Although overwhelmingly praised by both critics and fans, Blige also received some criticism for the album being so sample-heavy.
"Be Happy", the album's first single, peaked at number twenty-nine and number six on the Hot 100 and R&B singles chart respectively. In early 1995, it was followed up with a cover of Rose Royce's 1976 hit "I'm Going Down." Other My Life singles included: "You Bring Me Joy" and "I Love You." Album tracks "Mary Jane (All Night Long)" and "My Life" also received heavy radio play, despite their never being officially released as single. My Life was eventually certified triple platinum. In spite of its success and her growing fame, Blige later admitted that she was simultaneously dealing with long time bouts of drug addiction, alcoholism, and depression, as well as an abusive relationship with then-boyfriend K-Ci Hailey of Jodeci. It was around this time that Death Row Records CEO, Suge Knight approached Blige and signed her to Suge Management as a part time manager and consultant.
Also in 1995, Blige involved herself in several outside projects; recording a cover of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" for the soundtrack to the FOX series New York Undercover, and "Everyday It Rains" (co-written by R&B singer Faith Evans) for the soundtrack to the hip-hop biopic, The Show. That summer she dueted with rapper Method Man on his song, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" (which sampled Marvin Gaye's "You're All I Need to Get By.") Later in the year, she also recorded the Babyface-penned and produced "Not Gon' Cry", for the soundtrack to motion picture Waiting to Exhale. The platinum-selling single rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in early 1996, and became her biggest commercial hit at the time. Blige won her first Grammy Award 'Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group' for her collaboration with Method Man.
1997-1998: Share My World:
On April 22, 1997, MCA Records (parent company to Uptown Records, which was in the process of being dismantled) released Blige's third album, Share My World. By now, she and Combs had dissolved their working relationship. In his place were a group of big name producers, including: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Chucky Thompson, R. Kelly, Babyface, and most significantly Rodney Jerkins, who helmed a significant portion of the album.
Share My World debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart and spawned four hit singles: "Love Is All We Need" (featuring Nas), "I Can Love You" (featuring Lil' Kim), "Everything", and "Seven Days." The album became Blige's most commercially successfully; certified quadruple platinum in the United States and selling over five million worldwide. In early 1998, Blige won an American Music Award for "Favorite Soul/R&B Album." That summer she embarked on the Share My World Tour, which resulted in a Gold-certified live album released later that year, simply titled The Tour. The album spawned one single, "Misty Blue."
On August 17, 1999, Blige's fourth album, titled Mary was released. A departure from her more familiar hip-hop-oriented sound; this set featured a more earthy, whimsical, and adult contemporary-tinged collection of songs, reminiscent to 1970s and early 1980s soul. Also featured on the album were high-profile guests, including: Aretha Franklin (who duetted with her on "Don't Waste Your Time"), Elton John (who played keys on "Deep Inside" (which featured a sample of his '70s-era hit "Bennie and the Jets"), Eric Clapton (who played guitar on "Give Me You"), and Lauryn Hill (who wrote, produced, and sang background on "All That I Can Say.") Blige also recorded a cover of Stevie Wonder's 1976 hit "As" with George Michael, which is featured on the UK release of Mary, and also on the Australian release of his greatest hits album Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael.
On December 14, 1999, the album was re-released as a double-disc set. The second disc was enhanced with the music videos for the singles "All That I Can Say" and "Deep Inside", and also included two bonus tracks: "Sincerity" (featuring Nas and DMX) and "Confrontation" (a collaboration with hip-hop duo Funkmaster Flex & Big Kap originally from their 1999 album The Tunnel). The Mary album was critically praised, becoming her most nominated release to date, and was certified double platinum (moving almost two million in sales.) It, however, wasn't as commercially successful as Blige's prior releases, as all of the singles: "All That I Can Say", "Deep Inside", "Your Child", and "Give Me You" performed modestly on radio and on the charts. In the meantime, MCA used the album to expand Blige's demographic into nightclub market, as club-friendly dance remixes of the Mary singles were released. In lieu of this, the club remix of "Your Child" peaked at number-one hit on the Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart in October 2000.
In 2001, a Japan-only compilation, Ballads, was releasedfeaturing what was considered the best of Blige's ballad material, including a cover of Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed, her previous recordings of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue."
2001-2002: No More Drama:
On August 28, 2001, MCA released Blige's fifth studio album, No More Drama. The album's first single, "Family Affair" (produced by Dr. Dre) became her first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for six consecutive weeks. It was followed by the top twenty Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced title track (originally recorded for the Mary album), which sampled "Nadia's Theme", the piano-driven theme song to the daytime drama The Young and the Restless.
Though the album sold nearly two million copies in the U.S., MCA was underwhelmed by its sales, and subsequently repackaged and re-released the album on January 29, 2002. The No More Drama re-release featured a new album cover, deleted three of the songs from the original track listing, while adding two brand-new songsone of which was the third single and top twenty Hot 100 hit "Rainy Dayz", (featuring Ja Rule), plus two remixes; one of the title track, serviced by Puff Daddy. The album sold another million-plus units in the U.S. and five million worldwide. Blige won a Grammy for 'Best Female R&B Vocal Performance' for the song "He Think I Don't Know."
On July 22, 2002, MCA released Dance for Me, a collection of club remixes of some of her past top hits including the Junior Vasquez remix of "Your Child", and the Thunderpuss mix of "No More Drama." This album was also released in a limited edition double pack 12" vinyl for DJ-friendly play in nightclubs.
2003-2004: Love & Life:
On August 26, 2003, Blige's sixth album Love & Life was released on Geffen Records (which had absorbed MCA Records.) Blige heavily collaborated with her one-time producer Sean Combs (now calling himself "Diddy") for this set. Due to the history between them on What's the 411? and My Life, which is generally regarded as their best work, and Blige having just come off of a successful fifth album, expectations were high for the reunion effort.
Despite the album debuting at number one on the Billboard 200, Love & Life's lead-off single, the Diddy-produced "Love @ 1st Sight" (which featured a cameo by Method Man), just barely cracked the top ten on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, while altogether missing the top twenty on the Hot 100. The two following singles, "Ooh!" and "Not Today" (featuring Eve) fared worse. Although the album was certified platinum, it became Blige's lowest-selling and biggest commercial disappointment to date. Critics and fans alike largely panned the disc, citing a lack of consistency and noticeable ploys to recapture the early Blige/Combs glory. Blige and Combs reportedly struggled and clashed during the making of this album, and again parted ways upon the completion of it.
2005-2006: The Breakthrough:
On December 20, 2005, Geffen Records released Blige's seventh studio album, The Breakthrough. The album debuted at number one on both the Billboard 200 Albums and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Selling 727,000 copies in its first week, it became the biggest first-week sales for an R&B solo female artist in SoundScan history, the fifth largest first-week sales for a female artist, and the fourth largest debut of 2005.
For the album, Blige collaborated with Rodney Jerkins, will.i.am, Bryan Michael Cox, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Raphael Saadiq, Cool and Dre, and Dre & Vidal. The lead-off single "Be Without You" peaked at number three on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart, while peaking at number one on the R&B charts for a record-setting fifteen consecutive weeks. It would remain on Billboard's Hip-Hop/R&B chart for over 16 months. The album's second single Enough Cryin', peaked at number thirty-two on the Billboard Hot 100, and rose to number two on the R&B chart. The album also included a duet with U2 on the cover of their 1992 hit, "One", which was released as a single in the UK, and gave Blige her biggest hit to date in the country, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart. On December 31, 2006, "One" was announced by BBC Radio 1 to be the thirty-fifth highest-selling single of 2006 in the UK. The latest single from The Breakthrough is "Take Me as I Am", which samples Lonnie Liston Smith's "A Garden of Peace." It peaked at number three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Blige appeared on the remix to Busta Rhymes's "Touch It" in 2006, where she performed under an alter ego, named "Brook Lynn." The character is also featured on "Enough Cryin" and "Gonna Breakthrough" on the The Breakthrough.
Since its release, The Breakthrough has sold over three million copies in the U.S and over seven million copies worldwide, becoming one of the five best-selling albums of 2006. The success of The Breakthrough won Blige nine Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, two BET Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, and a Soul Train Award. She also received eight Grammy Award nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards, the most of any artist that year. "Be Without You" was nominated for both "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year." Blige won three: "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance", "Best R&B Song" (both for "Be Without You"), and "Best R&B Album" for The Breakthrough. "One", and "Be Without You" in addition to the other singles released helped Mary sell a combined 11 million singles worldwide in addition to the seven million albums sold worldwide. Bringing her total for The Breakthrough at the current time from singles and album sales to a combined eighteen million records.
On December 12, 2006, a compilation called Reflections - A Retrospective was released, containing many of Blige's greatest hits. The album also featured four new songs were including: "We Ride (I See the Future)" and "Reflections (I Remember)." The album peaked at number nine in the U.S, selling over 170,000 copies in its first week, while reaching number forty in the UK. The album has, thus far, sold more than 675,000 copies.
2007-present: recent activities:
Blige was featured with Aretha Franklin on the soundtrack to motion picture Bobby. They duet on the lead track Never Gonna Break My Faith, the song was nominated for a Golden Globe, which was lost to Prince for "Happy Feet."
Blige was featured on Ludacris' inspirational song and music video "Runaway Love" bringing awareness to the phenomenon of girls who run away from home because of some form of abuse by men. The song reached the top five on both the Hot 100 and the Hip-Hop/R&B chart.
On December 7, 2006, Blige became the artist with the most Grammy Award nominations for the year, eight, winning three for "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" and "Best R&B Song" for "Be Without You" and "Best R&B Album" for The Breakthrough. On February 11, 2007, Blige completed a season sweep of the "big three" major music awards, having won the American Music Award in November 2006, the Billboard Music Awards in December 2006, and the Grammy Awards in February 2007.
Blige's new album, tentatively titled Growing Pains, is due for release on November 27, 2007.
Blige had a very public and tumultuous six-year affair with Jodeci frontman Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey, which ended in 1997. Following the run of their union, despite having been linked with singer Case and producer/singer Malik Pendleton, she has kept many of her relationships private. Unfortunately, she had a very bad dependency to drugs & alcohol that nearly destroyed her life as well as career.
In 2000, Blige began a relationship with record industry executive Martin Kendu Isaacs (known simply as "Kendu"), who is now her manager. Blige has also credited Isaacs for helping her to kick her drug & alcohol addiction. The two were married on December 7, 2003 in a small private ceremony at Blige's home attended by fifty guests (none of whom were celebrities).