Mary Jane Blige, is an American singer, producer, songwriter, actress, and rapper. She has received 9 Grammy awards, and 4 American Music Awards and 8 multi-platinum records to date. She has also received the World Music Legends Award for combining hip hop and soul in the early 1990s.
She was ranked number 100 in the list of 100 greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
Blige was born in Yonkers, New York. She spent her early years in Richmond Hill, Georgia, where she sang in a Pentecostal church. She later moved to Slobaum Houses in Yonkers, New York, where she lived with her mother, older sister, five cousins, and two aunts. She dropped out of school in the eleventh grade.
At the age of 17, Blige recorded an impromptu cover of Anita Baker's "Caught Up In the Rapture" at a recording booth in 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 runner for Uptown Records.
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Redd 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. Production for Blige's debut album began in 1992, with Sean "Puffy" Combs, who was at the time an A&R executive at Uptown who oversaw the project.
In July 1992, Uptown Records released What's the 411? "You Remind Me," the album's first single, peaked at 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 single, peaking at number seven. Both singles were certified gold for their sales volume.
Among Blige's most popular songs to date include "Family Affair," "Real Love," "Not Gon' Cry" and "Be Without You." Blige has had four Billboard Hot 100 top-singles charting in the United States, and has had a total of sixteen total top forty charting singles in the United States. She has had thirty-three singles charting inside the top one hundred on the Billboard Hot 100, making Blige one of the best-performing R&B artists to date.
Since 1998, Blige has also starred in various movie roles, beginning in The Jamie Foxx Show as Ola Mae. She appeared in the "Papa Don't Preach" episode in season 2. Since then, Blige has gone on to play major roles in big-budget Hollywood movies, such as Prison Song, where she played the main role as Mrs. Butler.
As of 2010, Blige has sold over 50 million albums and 15 million singles. Blige cites Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Teena Marie, and Aretha Franklin as influences.
For more about Mary, visit her Website at -