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 1990, Blige released her first album, what’s the 411?, in 1992, and has since made over 150 guest appearances on other albums and soundtracks, arguably earning Blige the most diverse female vocalist in music, and has released ten studio albums.
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.
As of 2013, Blige has sold more than 50 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide. Billboard ranked Blige as the most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years. The magazine also lists her 2006 song "Be Without You" as the top R&B song of the 2000s, as it spent an unparalleled 15 weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 2011, VH1 ranked Blige as the 80th greatest artist of