Mary J. Blige, ‘Children of the Ghetto’
Mary Jane Blige (surname pronounced: /blaɪʒ/) (born January 11, 1971) is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, and actress who has sold more than forty million albums worldwide. Blige is a Golden Globe nominated singer and grammy award winning R&B superstar. She has received over twenty-six Grammy Award nominations for her work, winning eight, and has been awarded the World Music Legends Award for combining hip hop and soul together like no one else during the early 1990s.
In 1988, Blige recorded an impromptu cover of [[Anita Baker’s “Caught Up In the Rapture” at a recording booth in a local mall. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd then sent it to the president and CEO of the label, Andre Harrell. Harrell met with Blige and, in 1989, she was signed to the label; becoming the company’s youngest and first female artist.
Upon signing to Uptown, Blige’s early years there were dormant, as the label continued to focus most of its attention on its more established acts. During this time, Blige occasionally did session work as a background singer for her label mates. In 1990, she was introduced as a background singer for Redd, during a performance at the Apollo Theatre. The same year she also sang the hook on “I’ll Do 4 U” by rapper and label mate Father MC, appearing in the concert-themed music video of the same name; In 1991, she was spotted on the syndicated show, Showtime at the Apollo, singing back up for Jeff Redd. In early Fall of 1992, Blige guest spotted with Grand Puba with his single, Check It Out. Blige’s first national debut appearance was in the summer of 1992 when she appeared on MTV‘s Yo! MTV Raps performing “What’s the 411?” (the title track) with Grand Puba. Mary has a 4 octave vocal range and can hit notes in the baritone range.