You have only sensed this Mary. When Mary J. Blige sings, she carries truth like a wand; respect like a shield. She seeks love, and speaks directly. "Looking in the mirror nowadays is more than just looking at me. It\'s looking at the depths of me,” she says. Herewith is her most musical album; her most soulful, everlastingreflection: Mary.
It hasn’t always been this way. Certain things about Mary Jane Blige you just can’t shake. What’s the 411 presented a shy, combat-booted, tough-love Yonkers queen straight out of the Slow Bomb projects. My Life’s Mary was forsaken, struggling with tensions between the sacred and the secular, breaking mountaintop truths over heads like golden calves. Share My World was an independent, brave step toward the day of reckoning. But as Mary tells it, hers isn’t so much a struggle as a journey.The journey took her to sales ofnearly four million Share My World albums worldwide and delivered three Top 20 singles in the UK. The album received platinum album certification in Canada, UK and Japan, and a gold album in Hong Kong.The year and a half active life of the project washighlighted by numerous high profile television appearances-- including the phenomenal VH-1 “Divas Live” performance with Whitney Houston and the Sounds and Visions concert at Wembley Stadium.Mary rounded out the Share My World album with her critically acclaimed domestic and international tour, which spawned the very real Mary J. Blige: The Tour album in late 1998.
The transition from the My Life album to her breakthrough Share My World album did not come easily, and took another big step to arrive at the album Mary.“I was crying out for help during the My Life album,” she confesses. “If you listen to the song ‘Be Happy,’ I was like, Please, somebody come save me. Even by the time Share My World came, I was still trying to find my way.” All the multi-platinum sales, accolades and awards in the world didn’t matter. That was the problem; they were of the world. Life has been difficult these last couple years, she’ll tell you. But the point is the not in her deep-set scars, it’s the her healing. And Mary is getting stronger—rising—everyday. Ask her yourself. How are you doing, Mary? She’ll laugh easy. “I’m holding on.”
“The making of this album was unbelievable,” Mary says. “All I saw was love; I don’t normally see that. No problems, no nonsense in the studio. It was ‘You’re coming right, or you not coming in here.’” A sampling of those who made it through: Elton John. Lauryn Hill. Chucky Thompson. Aretha Franklin. Babyface. Eric Clapton. K-Ci Hailey. Jam & Lewis.Jadakiss.