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.