The remarkable Mary J. Blige celebrates another milestone today: her 50th birthday.
The legendary, nine-time Grammy-winning queen of hip-hop and soul has released 13 studio albums in her career, including her most recent, 2017’s Strength of a Woman.
Mary J. Blige was both the youngest and the first female artist signed to Uptown Records in 1989, after the late Andre Harrell got hold of her demo cover of Anita Baker’s song, “Caught Up in the Rapture.” The demo led to Harrell’s former assistant, Sean “Diddy” Combs, executive-producing Mary’s 1992 debut, What’s The 411?
Three years later, Mary J won a Grammy for her hip-hop love song, “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” with Method Man. She went onto release a number of Grammy-nominated singles and four Grammy-nominated albums. 2006’s The Breakthrough won three Grammys, including Best R&B Album, and topped the all-genre Billboard 200 Albums chart. Blige won the Best Contemporary R&B Album Grammy for 2008’s Growing Pains. Outside R&B, she also won Best Gospel Performance for her song, “Never Gonna Break My Faith.”
The 26th anniversary of Mary’s sophomore album, My Life, was celebrated last November with a deluxe reissue.
As an actress, Mary J. Blige landed two Oscar nominations for 2017’s Mudbound: Best Supporting Actress and Best Song, for “Mighty River.” The next year, she received an star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The double-Oscar nominee currently stars as tough, gun-toting Monet on the Starz series, Power Book II: Ghost.
Mary’s next project will be her documentary Mary J Blige: My Life Album.
By Rachel George
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