- 10:05 AM, Aug 22
Gloriously billed to portray the legendary jazz artist Nina Simone in an upcoming project of Paramount Pictures/ MTV Films, Mary J. Blige brilliantly maintains her dominance in R&B/hip-hop soul scene as her seventh album, 'The Breakthrough' went straight to the top spot of The Billboard 200 right after its release on December 20, 2005. This attainment surely has turned out to be such a sweet proceeding of the Vlegend Award honor she was granted of at the 2005 Vibe Awards in November 2005. Set to appear on NBC's musical special of ï¿½Jamie Foxx: Unpredictableï¿½ aired on the network by January 25, 2006 along with Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, and The Game, the mesmerizing singer, therefore, has really accomplished her goal of establishing a fabulous career to undoubtedly become one of the substantial figures in American music industry.
Born on January 11, 1971 in the Bronx, New York as the youngest of two daughters of Cora and Thomas Blige, Mary Jane Blige had already faced a bitter life in her childhood when her father decided to leave the family by the time she turned 4. Her mother then took along the little girl and her older sister, LaTonya, to Savannah, Georgia, before returned to New York to settle in Yonkers' Schlobam housing projects which was known for its crime, violence and drugs activities. It was during this tumultuous period that Mary began to develop a deep fondness, listening to hip-hop sounds as well as soaking up the musical influences of her mother's 70s soul collection of Otis Redding, Gladys Knight, Al Green, and Donny Hathaway. Her knack in singing was quickly visible to everyone as she won a talent competition at the age of 7 upon performing Aretha Franklin's "Respect."
Learned the basic of harmony through occasional visits to her musician father while also improved her singing technique in local church's choir, Mary, however, grew up to be a party girl in her teens, eventually quitted high school during her junior year. This idle life of her fortunately started to change when she played her stepfather a tape containing her rendition of Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" she recorded casually in a karaoke booth at a Yonkers shopping mall. Sensing her potentiality, he quickly sent it to an acquaintance named Jeff Redd, an A&R scout for Uptown Records, who subsequently brought the tape to the label's president, Andre Harrell.