Mary J Blige
Mary Jane Blige, more often called Mary J. Blige, was born on January 11, 1971, in Yonkers, New York. She overcame a number of obstacles on the path to stardom and success. She was born to parents Cora (a nurse) and Thomas Blige (a musician), but her father abandoned the family when Blige was four years old. Her family life was tumultuous, as she grew up in the Slobaum Houses of Yonkers with her mother, sister, five cousins, and two aunts. Opportunities were limited for Blige, and she dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade. This lack of an education would continue to hurt Blige as a factor she lacked towards success.
At the age of 17, Blige recorded a cover of "Caught Up In the Rapture" by Anita Baker, and this recording was passed down to the CEO of Uptown Records, Andre Harrell. Blige was signed to the label in 1989 after a meeting with Harrell, where his suspicions regarding her talent were confirmed. Two years would pass until the label focused its attentions towards the young artists on its payroll, and production began for Blige's first album.
Immediately after the album's release on July 28, 1992, Mary J Blige experienced immense success with the lead single "You Remind Me" off of the album titled What's the 411?. The entire record was certified 3x platinum and enjoyed two number one singles. Her next release, My Life, achieved comparable results to her original record, and Blige was on track to a great career.
After these two successes Blige was plagued by the vagaries of stardom and fell to the vices of fame; drugs, failed relationships, and other problems. She still released music and enjoyed commercial success but the music had a different sound from her previous releases due to these troubles.
A few years went by with Blige struggling to put her life on track, but the problems worked themselves out including a failed relationship with singer K-Ci of K-Ci and Jojo. Demonstrating a resurgence from her problems, Blige released her fifth studio album, No More Drama, and this album spawned her most successful single, "Family Affair."
Blige would continue to record wildly popular songs, and is poised to release her tenth studio album in 2011, but one thing plagued her for a long time. Blige feels that "education just completes you," and as such she has obtained her GED in 2010 and plans to attend Howard University soon. Despite her universal appeal and huge success, she still is committed to education, and this speaks volumes to the power of learning.
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