Mary J Blige
I'm Already Naked
Part 1 of 4
Mary J Blige. Healthy Living Magazine
Totaling over 100 music awards decorating her home, including nine Grammys and 10 Billboard awards, with more than 20 years in the music industry, Mary is unequivocally a giant in the music industry and a doyenne of her genre.
Her creativity and authentic musical approach make her honored by her fans with whom she selflessly shares her emotions, passion and story. Not taking her power of voice for granted but as a privilege to express what millions aren’t as fortunate to do, she connects with people on a much deeper level. Mary has musical history with everyone who’s anyone in music, from Whitney Houston to Elton John, Bono and Aretha Franklin, yet modestly strides, prevailing with benevolence and warmth towards everyone. For that alone, Mary’s interview was a twilight zone for each and every member of the crew.
HealthyLivinG: There aren’t many artists that write their own music based on authentic feelings and experiences. But do you write for other artists?
Mary J Blige: I have and I will. It’s not something that I won’t do. I would absolutely write songs for other artists.
HealthyLivinG: Are there any songs that we know well and hear often but have no idea that you worked on them because you’re not the one performing them?
Mary J Blige: It’s a lot of old songs that I didn’t take credit for, a lot of parses on hip hop records, a lot of background stuff that I’ve done for the early days, like Jeff Ray, a lot of older stuff that no one knows that I took part in.
HealthyLivinG: Not many people know that you started your career with Puff Daddy.
Mary J Blige. Healthy Living Magazine, Yana Mandeville
Mary J Blige: Sean Puffy worked as A&R at Uptown Records, the label where I was signed, and at the beginning of my career, before it was a career, I was just sitting there as an artist that nobody knew what to do with, and Puffy came in and discovered me on the shelf. He went to Andre Harrell, who was the head of Uptown Records, and explained to him who I was to the culture of my generation. He was the one who spearheaded the whole thing together for Mary J Blige. He dressed me like Jodeci, my hat turned backwards, baggy Armani suits and kind of put together what he saw in me, which was more like a tomboy, which I was earlier, but a female who could sing and was from the hood. So he kind of cultivated the whole thing and it is because of him that I’m here today.
HealthyLivinG: Do you keep in touch?
Mary J Blige: Puffy is my brother. He’s my family. If it weren’t for him being in my life, just almost managing me through the whole thing and just being a friend and a supporter, heavy supporter, I wouldn’t be here today. He’s more of a friend and a business partner. He’s my brother. He’s someone I love and respect.
HealthyLivinG: Being so open and honest about your past, your feelings, was it difficult to make that step to express it through a song for the first time?
Mary J Blige: It wasn’t because the very first time was the My Life album. That’s when I started the relationship, which is my second, my sophomore album. It was so therapeutic. I was in pain and it was like writing a diary. I needed to put it somewhere and I needed to get it out, so it wasn’t hard. But then, through the years, you understand, you learn what you can give and what you can’t give.
Some things are for you and some things, now that you’ve created this relationship with your fans, they want to hear you speak the things that they can’t speak. You have to be honest and give but withhold the things you don’t want to tell. I think they respect that. But if you give it to them, the things that you’re dealing with that everyone’s dealing with, they’ll be okay with it. It still helps them through their lives and I think that people respect you when you keep something for yourself. And even if they don’t respect you, that’s their problem, because you have to keep something for yourself. I share with people because I don’t think that we have all these trials and tribulations for no reason. And I don’t think that we have happy times for no reason.
I think that if you’re an artist like me, or someone like Bono, we’re not in front of people for no reason at all. We’re in front of people to help someone. Everyone’s job is not to help; some people’s jobs are to entertain. My job is to help, entertain, heal, cry and everything with people. That’s my assignment. I have to give what I’m able to give, and so I can live and survive, I have to withhold some things too. I can’t just be out there. I’m already naked.