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Mary J. Blige

The Womens Conference

How She Empowers Others

Mary J. Blige is a nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, producer and actress who has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide since her career began in 1992.

With her 1992 debut “What’s The 411?,” Mary J. Blige went from promising newcomer to the Queen of Hip Hop Soul. Numerous sold out tours, critical acclaim, unerring fan support and an armful of awards -including eight Grammys – later, Mary is still royalty and the template by which other singers are judged. While others coast, Mary challenges and channels struggle into success. A Mary album signals renewal, revelation and joyous redemption because Mary’s songs come directly from her heart, faith, soul and life.

As she’s done throughout her career Mary’s musical palate reflects her lifelong affinity for old school soul and R&B and an unmistakable connection to hip hop. And with every album she has proven that hers is a voice of healing; a voice of reckoning. Her 8th and current studio album, Growing Pains (released 12/18/07 on Matriarch/Geffen), reached platinum in three weeks and is continuing to grab the hearts of the critics and fans alike.

One of 1992’s biggest crossover hits, “What’s The 411?” earned Mary Soul Train Awards for Best New Artist and Best Solo Album Female. Her sophomore effort 1994’s “My Life” was an instant classic, garnering the Soul Train Music Award for Album of the Year by a Solo Female Artist and a Billboard Award for R&B Album of the Year. In 1996, Mary’s duet with Method Man, “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By,” won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group.

Mary’s “Share My World” dropped in 1997. In 1998 came the live CD “The Tour” followed in 1999 by “Mary.” That CD earned The Soul Train Music Award’s Best Female R&B/Soul album and Lady of Soul Music Awards:  R&B/Soul Album Of The Year – Solo, R&B/Soul or Rap Song Of The Year for “All That I Can Say.” The praise continued with 2001’s “No More Drama,” which debuted at #1 and went triple platinum, making it Mary’s biggest hit to date.

Making an impact outside of the studio, Mary has been active with many community organizations and AIDS awareness programs such as Minority AIDS Project, and in 2001 was honored for community activism with Rock The Vote’s Patrick Lippert Award.

Using her personal experience to further help her community, Mary, along with Steve Stoute, created and funded The Foundation for Advancement of Women Now, Inc. (FFAWN). Created in 2007, FFAWN is an organization dedicated to helping women overcome their personal difficulties and reach their full potential in life. FFAWN assists women through a range of programs that encourage women to realize their dreams and pursue their individual goals. Mary’s hope is that FFAWN will provide women with the self-confidence, abilities, and resources they need to take the initiative to realize their full potential.

In 2003 Mary accepted an American Music Award for Favorite Female Hip-Hop/R&B Artist and a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “He Thinks I Don’t Know” and dropped the platinum “Love & Life.” In 2004 Mary was honored with her third Grammy – Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals for “Whenever I Say Your Name” a duet with Sting.

In 2006, Mary was the winner of nine Billboard Music Awards and two American Music Awards.  Mary continued her “Breakthrough” success with an additional three Grammy wins in 2007 bringing her Grammy total to six.  2007 also proved to be a creative well-spring for Mary.  With roles on the hit CBS drama “The Ghost Whisperer” and HBO’s comedy smash “Entourage,” Blige kept busy fine tuning her acting chops. Not one to rest on her laurels, Mary also found time to record her latest album, “Growing Pains.”

Proving once again that Mary J. Blige is a force to be reckoned with, 2008 also brought forth a wealth of accolades.  At the 50th Anniversary Grammy celebration Mary won two out of her three award nominations. Mary and Aretha Franklin’s duet “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” off the original soundtrack for Bobby won the “Best Gospel Performance” award and “Disrespectful,” the song that Mary wrote for and performed with Chaka Khan on Khan’s “Funk This,” won the “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.”

In March of 2008, Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z joined forces and kicked off the highly successful “Mary J. Blige & Jay-Z: Heart of the City Tour” in Miami, Florida. The Heart of the City Tour is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Mary and Jay’s long-time collaboration, which began in 1996 with the classic “Can’t Knock The Hustle.”

Mary brought 2008 to a close with her “Love Soul Tour” featuring Robin Thicke as well as a Grammy nomination for “Growing Pains” in the category Best Contemporary R&B Album.

Mary is currently in the studio working on her next album.