Mary Jane Blige was born on January 11, 1971 and she is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress and philanthropist. 

Mary J Blige Biography

She was born on January 11, 1971, in New York City, in the borough of the Bronx, but spent her early childhood in Savannah, Georgia.  Later, she and her family moved back to New York and resided at Schlobohm Housing Projects, located in Yonkers, New York. 

Her mother Cora, a nurse, and her father Thomas Blige, a jazz musician. She is the second of four children. She has an older sister, LaTonya Blige-DaCosta, a younger brother, Bruce Miller, and a younger sister, Jonquell, from a later relationship Blige’s mother had with another man after divorcing Mary and LaTonya’s father.

The family subsisted on her mother’s income as a nurse after her father left the family in the mid-1970s,  the former an alcoholic and the latter a Vietnam War veteran suffering from an eating disorder posttraumatic stress.  She spent her early years in Richmond Hill, Georgia, where she sang in a Pentecostal church. 

At the age of five, she was sexually abused by a family friend, and as a teenager, she endured years of sexual harassment from her peers.  She would eventually turn to alcohol, drugs, and promiscuous sex to try to numb the pain. 

She later moved to the Schlobohm Houses in Yonkers, New York, immediately north of New York City, where she lived with her mother and older sister. She dropped out of high school in her junior year. 

Pursuing a musical career, she spent a short time in a Yonkers band called Pride with the band’s drummer Eddie D’Aprile. 

In early 1988, she recorded an impromptu version of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture” in a recording booth at the Galleria Mall in White Plains, New York. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R broker for Uptown Records. 

Redd sent it to the label’s president and CEO, Andre Harrell. Harrell reunited with her and in 1989 she signed with the label as a backing vocalist for artists such as Father MC,  becoming the company’s first and youngest female artist.

Mary J Blige Age

She is 51 years old.

Mary J Blige Career

Her career began in 1991 when she signed with Uptown Records .  She went on to release 13 studio albums, eight of which have achieved multi-platinum worldwide sales. 

She was selling 50 million albums in the United States and 80 million records worldwide. She has won nine Grammy Awards , four American Music Awards , twelve Billboard Music Awards , and has also received three Golden Globe Awards nominations, including one for her supporting role in the film Mudbound (2017) and another for her original song ” Mighty River “. 

Additionally, she also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song , becoming the first person nominated for both acting and songwriting in the same year.

After signing with Uptown, Blige began working with record producer Sean Combs, also known as Puff Daddy.  He became the executive producer and produced most of the album.

The title, What is 411? , stemming from Blige’s previous occupation as a 4-1-1 operator;  was also an indication of her being the “real deal”.  What is 411? however, it established Blige as a dynamic storyteller whose interpretations of love storytelling drew as much on her musical influences as on her lived experiences as a woman of the hip-hop generation. The music was described as “frequently revealing”. 

She was noted for having a “tough girl personality and sly lyrics“. On July 28, 1992, Uptown/MCA Records released What’s the 411? , to positive reviews from critics.  What is 411? it peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.  It also reached number 53 on the UK Albums Chart. 

It was certified three times platinum by the RIAA.  According to Entertainment Weekly ‘With Dave DiMartino’s commercially successful album and her “powerful attitude, soulful voice and hip-hop,” she “solidly connected with an audience that has never seen a woman do new jack swing, but loves it all the same.”  According to Dave McAleer, she became the most successful new female R&B artist of 1992 in the United States. 

What is 411? won her two Soul Train Music Awards in 1993: Best R&B New Artist and Best R&B Album, Female.  It was also voted the 30th best album of the year in Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics across the country, published by The Village Voice .  As of August 2010, the album has sold 3,318,000 copies in the United States. 

What is 411? It has since been seen by critics as one of the most important records of the 1990s. Blige’s combination of vocals over a hip hop beat proved influential on contemporary R&B. With the album, she was dubbed the reigning “Queen of Hip Hop Soul.”

The success of the album stemmed from What’s the 411? Remix , a remix album released in December that was used to extend the life of What’s the 411? singles on the radio in 1994, when Blige recorded her next album.

Following the success of her debut album and a remixed version in 1993, she entered the recording studio in the winter of 1993 to record her second album, My Life . 

The album was a breakthrough for Blige, who at this time was in clinical depression, struggling with drugs and alcohol, as well as being in an abusive relationship with K-Ci Hailey,  which was reported in several tabloid newspapers. 

On November 29, 1994, Uptown/MCA released My Lifeto positive reviews. The album peaked at number seven on the US Billboard 200. And number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for selling 481,000 copies in its first week and staying atop the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for an unprecedented eight weeks. 

Ultimately, it spent 46 weeks on the Billboard 200 and 84 weeks on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. 

In 2002, My Life was number 57 on Blender ‘s list of the 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time.  The following year, Rolling Stone placed it at number 279 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time,  and in 2006, the record was listed onTime ‘s Top 100 Albums of All Time list. 

She became involved in several outside projects, recording a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” for the soundtrack of the FOX New York series Undercover , and “Everyday It Rains” (co-written by Faith R&B singer Evans) for the soundtrack of the hip hop documentary, The Show . 

Later that year, she recorded Babyface and produced “Not Gon’ Cry“, for the soundtrack to the film Waiting to Exhale . 

The platinum single rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in early 1996. She earned her first two Grammy nominations and won Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for her collaboration with Method Man. 

Shortly after, she appeared on Jay Z‘s single single, “Can’t Knock the Hustle” from his debut Reasonable Doubt (1996) and with Ghostface Killah on “All That I Got Is You” from his debut Ironman , which also was released that year. 

Additionally, she co-wrote four songs, provided background vocals and was featured prominently on two singles with fellow R&B singer Box on her self-titled debut album (1996) including the US Top 20 hit, “Touch Me, Tease Me“.

What is 411?the presentation of narratives centered on women stands out, although in this album their narratives were regularly watched and told through male presenters. Nonetheless, it marked the beginning of a transition toward black women-centric narratives that focused on the daily experiences and issues of the black experience through the lens of women rather than necessarily singing about black trauma. 

Treva B. Lindsey in her piece “If You Look Into My Life: Love, Hip-Hop Soul, and Contemporary African-American Femininity” highlights the regulation of men who say, “Although the lyrics of What’s the 411? establishes an African-American woman- focused speech, the words of adoration and longing from the male performers first introduce listeners to her as a hip-hop narrator.

Mary J Blige Songs

  • What is 411? (1992)
  • My life (1994)
  • Share My World (1997)
  • Maria (1999)
  • No More Drama (2001)
  • Love and Life (2003)
  • The Breakthrough (2005)
  • Growing Pains (2007)
  • Stronger with every tear (2009)
  • My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1) (2011)
  • A Christmas from Mary (2013)
  • The London Sessions (2014)
  • The Strength of a Woman (2017)

Mary J Blige Net Worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth, her net worth is an Estimated $30 million as of 2021.

Mary J Blige Private Life

She married her manager, Martin “Kendu” Isaacs, on December 7, 2003.  At the time, Isaacs had two children, Nas and Jordan, with his first wife and an older daughter, Briana, from a relationship.

In July 2016, she filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences”.  Blige and Isaacs’ divorce was finalized on June 21, 2018 .

A Democrat, she performed for Barack Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. 

She has dealt with drug and alcohol addiction and has been sober for several years.

Previous articleLinda Evanghelista Disfigured, Net Worth And Career
Next articleJamie Lee Curtis Daughter, Career And Net Worth