Our chosen WCW this week is a recent recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, however on a day to day basis she is more recognised as a Singer, Actress, song writer & record producer and more commonly regarded the ‘Queen of Hip-Hop Soul’ by now I’m sure you have guessed it, our WCW is Mary J. Blige.
Raised in the Bronx, New York Mary battled to overcome an abusive upbringing over flowing with violence, alcohol, drug and sexual abuse. Mary used the Church as her go to place of sanity, however by age 16 she stopped going to church, dropped out of school and became addicted to drugs herself.
Things took a turn for the better in 1988 when Mary recorded a karaoke cover of Anita baker’s ‘Caught Up in the Rapture’ which found its way into the hands of Uptown Records CEO Andre Harrell who signed her to the label less than a year later as a backing vocalist. This made her the youngest and First female artist at Uptown.
In 1992 Mary was paired with a young, unknown record producer Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs and in the same year released her debut album ‘What’s the 411?’ which sold over 3 million copies ensuring its RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) status of 3x Platinum.
Although previously struggling with personal issues of drugs & alcohol abuse Mary J. Blige continues to flourish in a successful career spanning 3 decades. She has released 13 albums, won 9 Grammys, toured the globe and starred in 4 movies with a lead role in the upcoming movie ‘Sherlock Gnomes’ set for release later this year!
She has also launched her own record label, perfume, a line of sunglasses as well as a production company working on several TV & film projects.
Mary J. Blige is truly an inspiration to us all, confirming the fact that its not about, where you are from, your upbringing, or even the trials and tribulations of your personal life, if you have dreams, aspirations and know exactly where you want to go you WILL succeed regardless.