Mary J. Blige
Mary Jane Blige was born on January 11, 1971 and grew up in New-York, the USA. In 1988, she made a cover on Anita Baker's Rapture in a recording booth in the local shopping mall. Her mother's boyfriend took his attention to the cassette and though his hands it came to the Uptown Records. Their representative met Mary and signed her to the label. She became the first female artist at the studio and mostly worked on back vocals for her mates, as the label mostly focused on the famous performers. However, in 1991, the Uptown Records started working over her debut album titled What's The 411? and next year the lead-single You Remind Me saw light. In 1993, Blige was already christened as the Queen of hip-hop soul. She immediately got down to her follow-up, while the remix album What's The 411? Remix spawned the interest to her debut work. Her autobiographical sophomore attempt My Life was released in 1994, being darker and less up-tempo then its predecessor. The same time she started taking part in side projects – recording duets with other singers and contributing to soundtracks.
In 1997, the third album Share My World was released. It rocketed four hits - Love Is All We Need (featuring Nas), I Can Love You (featuring Lil' Kim), Everything and Seven Days. In early 1998, Mary J. got he first big prize – American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Album. A year later the Mary disc hit the shelves. It was more soul-oriented and featured Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Lauryn Hill. In a duet with George Michael she also sang a cover on Stevie Wonder's winding hit As. In 2001, produced by Dr. Dre Family Affair, the first single from the album No More Drama, became a big popular hit in the USA, while the song He Think I Don't Know brought her the first Grammy award. The next studio effort, Love & Life, was the re-union attempt by Blige and the producer of her first two albums Sean Combs. It became the greatest commercial and critical disappointment during the whole artist's career.
However, the situation immensely improved with the release of The Breakthrough. It generated R&B hits Be Without You, Enough Cryin' and Take Me As I Am. It also featured a brilliant collaboration with U2, covering their 1992 hit One. The Breakthrough brought her a handful of awards and nominations, including eight Grammy nominations in 2007 – more than any other artist that year. In December 2006, Blige released the greatest hits compilation Reflections: A Retrospective, containing her most famous songs four new tracks. Along with Aretha Franklin, Blige took part in the soundtrack lead-song record Never Gonna Break My Faith to picture Bobby. Her strong voice can be heard in the All Of Me duet with 50 Cent on his album Curtis. In 2007, Mary J. Blige released the studio album Growing Pains, fulfilled in the best traditions of hip-hop, soul and R&B. In 2009 the singer enlarged her discography with album Stronger With Each Tear, which became the development of Growing Pains musical ideas.