Mary J. Blige

Joel Voorman

Often referred to as the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul”, Mary J. Blige has won nine Grammy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, four American Music Awards, and ten Billboard Music Awards. She has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, including one for her supporting role in the film Mudbound (2017) and another for its original song “Mighty River”, becoming the first person nominated for acting and songwriting in the same year.

Her career began in 1988 when she was signed to Uptown Records In 1992, Blige released her debut album, ‘What’s the 411?,’ which is credited for introducing the mix of R&B and hip hop into mainstream pop culture. Its 1993 remix album became the first album by a singer to have a rapper on every song, popularizing rap as a featuring act. Both ‘What’s the 411?‘ and her 1994 album ‘My Life’ are featured on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, and the latter on Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Albums.

Blige went on to release 14 studio albums, all of which have reached the top ten on the Billboard 200 chart, including four number-one albums. Her biggest hits include “Real Love”, “Not Gon’ Cry”, “Be Without You” and the Billboard Hot 100 number-one single “Family Affair”.

Blige has also made a successful transition to both the television and movie screens, with supporting roles in films.

She received a Legends Award at the World Music Awards in 2006, and the Voice of Music Award from ASCAP in 2007. Billboard ranked Blige as the most successful female R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the past 25 years. In 2017, Billboard magazine named her 2006 song “Be Without You” as the most successful R&B/Hip-Hop song of all time, as it spent an unparalleled 15 weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and over 75 weeks on the chart. In 2011, VH1 ranked Blige as the 80th greatest artist of all time. In 2012, VH1 ranked Blige at number 9 in “The 100 Greatest Women in Music” list.


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