Mary Jane Blige (born January 11, 1971), known professionally as Mary J. Blige, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and occasional rapper and actress. Starting her career as a background singer on Uptown Records in 1989, Blige released her first album, What's the 411?, in 1992, and has released 10 studio album since and made over 150 guest appearances on other albums and soundtracks.
A recipient of nine Grammy Awards, eight of Blige's albums have reached multi-platinum status in the United States. My Life, in particular, is considered among the greatest albums ever recorded according to Rolling Stone, Time, and Vibe. For her part in combining hip-hop and soul in the early-1990s and its subsequent commercial success, Blige received the Legends Award at the World Music Awards. Blige also received the Voice of Music Award from music publishing company ASCAP, with its official Jeanie Weems stating that "Blige's music has been the voice of inspiration to women worldwide in both struggle and triumph." Blige made Time magazine's "Time 100" list of influential individuals around the world in 2007.
As of 2013, Blige has sold more than 50 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide. Billboard ranked Blige as the most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years. The magazine also lists her 2006 song "Be Without You" as the top R&B song of the 2000s, as it spent an unparalleled 15 weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 2011, VH1 ranked Blige as the 80th greatest artist of all time. Moreover, she is ranked number 100 on the list of "100 greatest singers of all time" by Rolling Stone magazine. In 2012, VH1 ranked Blige at number 9 in "The 100 Greatest Woman in Music."
Blige also earned high remarks for her work in film. She starred in the 2009 Tyler Perry box-office hit I Can Do Bad All By Myself and played a role in the film Rock of Ages, which was released to theaters in 2012. She is a recipient of two Golden Globe Awards for her musical contributions to the films Bobby and The Help. She is named to play music icon Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina.In partnership with the Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Carol's Daughter, Blige released her "My Life" perfume. The perfume broke HSN records by selling 65,000 bottles during its premiere. The scent went on to win two FiFi Awards, including the "Fragrance Sales Breakthrough" award. In early 2013, reports surfaced that Blige was recording a Christmas album. The album, titled, A Mary Christmas was released on October 15, 2013 through Matriarch and Verve Records, her first release with the latter. The album includes collaborations with Barbra Streisand, The Clark Sisters, Marc Anthony and Jessie J. In early December, A Mary Christmas became Blige's 12th top ten album after it rose to #10 in its eight week. On October 23, 2013, Blige sang the national anthem before Game 1 of the 2013 World Series.