Mostly Credited As: Mary J. Blige
Sometimes Credited As: The Queen of Hip Hop & Soul
Birth Name: Mary Jane Blige
Date Of Birth: January 11, 1971 (Age 43)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Bronx, New York City, New York
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Mary Jane Blige - referred to as Mary J. Blige - was born on January 11, 1971 in Bronx, New York. Mary's parents' names are Thomas and Cora. Mary has an older sister, LaTonya Blige DaCosta, who is also a singer and was her former manager before 2003. Mary also has a half brother from her mom's second marriage. Thomas, who is Mary's dad, left the family when she was only at the young age of 4 which left the rest of the family in hard times. By the time Mary was 7, the family had to move from the Bronx to Yonkers living in one of the most dangerous projects of the city where crime, violence and drugs were a way of life. Music has always been an outlook to Mary; Mary won a talent show at the age of 7 singing Aretha Franklin's "Respect". But by age 17, things for Mary wasn't looking so great. She was more interested in partying and was now a drug user; Later on, Mary dropped out of high school. Mary still had the spirit for singing.
Mary's life changed when she sung at a recording booth in a Yonkers mall to Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture". When she sent the tape home and played it for her stepfather, he decided to send it to a friend he knew in the music industry. Things were looking good for Mary. A recording artist and A&R scout for Uptown Records heard the tape and sent it to the president of "Uptown Records", Andre Harrell. Andre then went down to the projects where Mary lived. There, Blige reluctantly and shyly signed a recording contract with Uptown under a rough piece of paper. In 1989, 18 year old MJB was the youngest artist and first female artist for Uptown.
Mary's years in Uptown were dormant; she had no motivation, and they regaled her to background singing status. Finally, around that same time, a young dancer and new Uptown CEO named Sean Combs(P Diddy) offered to help with putting Mary on the national spotlight, enlisting some top R&B and hip-hop producers. Sean and Mary released 'What's the 411?', on July 18, 1992. The release of the single, "Real Love", helped to make Blige a rising star on the R&B scene. Mary released a few more albums, and also getting the nickname "Queen of HipHip Soul".
In 2000, she started dating record industry executive Martin Kendu Isaacs. Isaacs and Blige married on December 7, 2003. As a result, Blige is now the stepmother of Kendu's three young children from a previous marriage. Blige has also talked about having children of her own one day. Mary is an inspiration to a lot of people; not only girls, but boys, too.
Quotes By Mary
"As far as men go, they never gave me a chance to be me; they were always scared that somebody was going to take me."
"Don't give up, be positive and if you know someone who knows someone at a record company don't stop beating down their door till you get heard. Don't ever say it'll never happen or it'll never happen."
"I don't want no drama in my life, even though we have a little bit, but no more letting people control you. That's drama, because then you become something that you're not."
"I mean, I know my heart is not clean, and your heart is not clean, and none of our urban hearts are clean. But you can be washed again."
Movie Credits Include
Prison Song (2001) - Mrs. Butler