In 1988, Mary Jane Blige signed with Uptown Records. What’s the 411? is Mary J. Blige’s debut album. R&B and hip hop were introduced to mainstream culture. She has nine Grammys and twelve Billboard Music Awards. Her 1994 album My Life is included on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Blige’s biggest hits include “Real Love,” “Not Gona Cry,” “Be Without You,” and the number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, “Family Affair.” Blige appeared as Cha-Cha in the first season of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy in 2019.
Mary Jane Blige was born on January 11, 1971, in The Bronx, New York. She was raised in Savannah, Georgia, until she was seven years old, when her family relocated to New York and lived in the Schlobohm Housing Projects in Yonkers. Her father was a jazz musician, and her mother was a nurse. She has two younger siblings. Blige’s father was a Vietnam War veteran who suffered from PTSD and abandoned the family in the mid-1970s.
Mary J. Blige is a $20 million net worth American singer, songwriter, and producer. She is widely regarded as an icon in the global music industry and popular culture, and VH1 ranked her ninth on their list of the “100 Greatest Women in Music” in 2012.
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Mary J. Blige has had a string of financial problems over the years. She owed the IRS $3.4 million as of May 2013. She also owed $900,000 to the state of New Jersey and was the subject of a lawsuit alleging she owed $2.2 million for an unpaid bank loan. On May 25, 2014, it was revealed that Blige had paid off her $900,000 New Jersey debt but still owed the IRS at least $3.4 million.
Blige paid $12.3 million for a palatial mansion in Saddle River, New Jersey, in 2008. She is said to have paid cash for the 20,000-square-foot mansion. She listed the mansion for $13.9 million in 2015 but did not find a buyer. Blige eventually reduced the price to $8.9 million, and then to $6.8 million in August 2019. She also owns a slightly smaller mansion in Cresskill, New Jersey, which she purchased in 2001 for $2.1 million.
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Blige began her musical career after dropping out of high school during her junior year. She was a member of the Yonkers band Pride, with whom she recorded a cover of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture.” Her mother’s boyfriend at the time played the cassette of her cover for Jeff Redd, an Uptown Records recording artist and A&R runner, who then sent it to the label’s CEO, Andre Harrell. Blige was the label’s youngest artist and their first female artist when she was signed as a backup vocalist in 1989.
While at Uptown, Blige began working with record producer Sean Combs (aka P Diddy or Puff Daddy), who helped produce her debut album “What’s the 411?” (July 1992). The album, which featured traditional R&B sounds as well as gospel and blues-inspired vocals, was well received, peaking at number six on the Billboard 200 chart. The RIAA also certified it Platinum three times. “What’s the 411?” earned her two Soul Train Music Awards in 1993 (Best New R&B Artist and Best R&B Album, Female), and she was dubbed the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul.”
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“My Life,” her second album, cemented her superstar status, debuting at number two on the US Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It was named one of Time’s “100 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2006, and it is widely regarded as Blige’s best work. Her subsequent album releases included “Share My World” (1997), which featured collaborations with artists such as Nas, Lil’ Kim, and George Benson; “Mary” (1999), which featured a more earthy and adult contemporary sound rather than her signature hip-hop style; and “Ballads” (2000), a compilation album featuring covers of artists such as Stevie Wonder.
Aretha Franklin’s “No More Drama” (2001) and its re-release, which earned Blige her second Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for the song “He Think I Don’t Know.” “Love & Life” (2003), “The Breakthrough” (2005), “Growing Pains” (2007), “Stronger with Each Tear” (2009), “My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1)” (2011), “A Mary Christmas” (2013), “The London Sessions” (2014), and “Strength of a Woman” (2015) are among her other albums (2017).
In 2004, Blige launched her own record label, Matriarch Records, which is distributed by Interscope. In July 2010, she debuted the perfume “My Life” on the Home Shopping Network, breaking sales records by selling 65,000 bottles in its first week. Reebok, Air Jordan, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Gap, Target, American Express, AT&T, MAC, Apple, Burger King, and Chevrolet are among the brands she has endorsed.
From 2003 to 2018, Blige was married to her former manager Martin Isaacs. Blige earns around $300,000 per month, according to their divorce papers.