Then And Now - Archives

Mary J. Blige

Then & Now

2009 Stronger

Nine time Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Mary J. Blige will release her ninth studio album, Stronger, on December 22. See all of her career-spanning music videos including two from her upcoming release, "Stronger" and "The One."

2007 Growing Pains

Blige came out with her eighth studio album, Growing Pains in 2007. It was her third consecutive studio album to reach number one on both the Billboard 200 and the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. While on tour with Robin Thicke during 2008, Blige began working on her upcoming album, Stronger.

2006 Reflections: A Retrospective

From 1992's "You Remind Me" through 2006's "Take Me as I Am," Mary J. Blige created 16 Top 10 R&B singles, making the end of 2006 the ideal time to produce an anthology collecting her biggest hits. The album also contained some new songs including "We Ride."

2005 The Breakthrough

The Breakthrough's lead single, "Be Without You," spent a year on the R&B chart and won Blige two Grammy Awards--Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. The release also won the Grammy for Best R&B Album. The song "MJB da MVP" features 50 Cent, and "One" features Bono and The Edge from U2.

2003 Love & Life

Blige reunited with P. Diddy on Love & Life and achieved top spots on both the Billboard 200 and R&B charts for the album while producing several popular singles including "Love @ 1st Sight" featuring Method Man and "Not Today" featuring Eve.

2001 No More Drama

No More Drama topped the Billboard R&B chart and just missed the top of the Billboard 200. Blige employed the help of some big names such as Missy Elliot, Dr. Dre, Eve, Lenny Kravitz, Swizz Beatz and Pharrell Williams to help shape her as a polished R&B singer with a hip-hop edge.

1999 Mary

In Blige's 1999 release, Mary, the singer subdued the hip-hop elements of her previous albums in favor of 70's soul. The album credits musicians and singers from a wide variety of genres including Eric Clapton, Babyface, Burt Bacharach, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Jadakiss and Elton John.

1997 Share My World

Share My World led Blige to the top of both the Billboard R&B and Billboard 200 charts. The album marked the beginning of the singer's partnership with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and features R. Kelly, Lil' Kim and Nas.

1995 My Life

Blige took more creative control on her sophomore album, My Life, by writing all but one of the songs on the album.  Her deeply personal songs, paired with Sean "Puffy" Combs' choice to produce the album with samples of 70's soul, sent My Life to the top of the Billboard charts. After the album was released, the singer cut ties with Combs, hired Suge Knight as a financial advisor and signed with MCA.

1992 What's the 411?

In 1991, Sean "Puffy" Combs took Blige under his wing and began working with her on What's the 411?, her debut album. Combs, along with producers Dave Hall, Mark Morales, and Mark Rooney added the stylish touches to Blige's unique vocals and created an album that bridged the gap between R&B and rap in a way that no female singer had before. Uptown released a remixed version of What's the 411? a year later.

1971 Birth

Born in the Bronx on January 11, 1971, Blige spent the first few years of her life in Savannah, GA, before moving with her mother and older sister to the Schlobam housing projects in Yonkers, NY.  Blige dropped out of high school her junior year. When she was at a local mall in White Plains, NY, she recorded herself singing Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" into a karaoke machine. Blige's stepfather passed the tape to Uptown Records CEO Andre Harrell. Harrell was impressed with Blige's voice and signed her to sing backup for local acts like Father MC before she met Combs.

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