Mary J. Blige: ‘I Was Singing for My Life, Literally’

by Shine My Crown Staff
Voiced by Amazon Polly

On Friday, Mary J. Blige’s new documentary, “Mary J. Blige: My Life,” was released on Amazon Prime.

Viewers were gripped by Blige’s open recount of her difficult upbringing, her relationship with her single-parent mother and her battles with addiction and depression.

Blige says that she was “scared to death” when her career took off in 1992 after she released her debut album, “What’s the 411?” — but fame is not a magic pill, and even being one of the hottest artists on the radio could not cure her pain.

“I was singing for my life literally,” she says of her 1994 album, “My Life.”

“This was, like, a turning point. This was a decision I had to make to either live or die. Most of the times I was just depressed and didn’t want to live because I didn’t love myself.”

Blige says that she first turned to drugs and alcohol as a teenager. “We would go to the pier, and we would drink our pain away,” she said. But when she blew up, the drugs and alcohol became a crutch to help her cope with her newfound fame.

“So I’m scared to death of myself,” she says. “So [I’ll do] whatever it takes for me to be comfortable — if I need to drink some more, if I need to do some more coke, whatever I need to do to loosen up and try to take this in.”

She also spoke openly about her abusive relationship with Jodeci singer K-Ci Hailey. Hailey was allegedly physically abusive to Blige. She says their relationship eerily mirrored those of her mother’s.

“I’ve had to physically fight for my life a lot,” she explains. “My mom had to suffer a lot of physical abuse as well so, as a little girl, I saw her, this little woman, fighting. So when it all started to happen to me, all I could think about was my mom.”

Throughout her career, Blige has been cited as an inspiration for many artists.

Speaking with BuzzFeed, Blige revealed which new artist has her ear:

“I love H.E.R. That girl is amazing! She is it, for her generation! Jazmine Sullivan has always been it. There are a lot of beautiful, talented women out there now, like Ari Lennox, Snoh Aalegra, etc,” she told the publication. “There’s a lot and they all sound like me [laughs]. I love it, though! I love that I was an inspiration and I can hear it in their voices. The talent out there right now is truly beautiful.”

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