Mary J. Blige Reflects On Releasing ‘My Life’ Album 27 Years Ago

Mary J. Blige is a staple of American music. The R&B icon has been making hits for over two decades. However, no moment in her career is more revered than her second studio album, My Life. The 1994 album has become her opus magnum, and the project is often sighted for housing some of her best work, including songs “Be Happy,” “I love You,” and her cover of Rose Royce’s “I’m Going Down.” Now, 27 years later, Blige reflects on the album that defined her career and how it has changed her life. The singer recently sat down with Tamron Hall to discuss the LP and its impact, amongst other things.

In an episode titled “, Mary J. Blige Says Her Next Chapter Will Blow Your Mind,” MJB and Tamron dig into what is next for the multi-platinum singer. Mary entered to a standing ovation that lasted a few moments. A clearly emotional Mary sat there in awe of the crowd, thanking them while they applauded. Tamron was moved so much by the reception she kicked off the interview already in tears. “I’m crying, and we are just getting started,” she laughed.

According to Tamron Hall, the last time they had been together was at the Essence Festival in 2017. During their last chat, Mary had discussed coming out of her failed marriage to Kendu Issac. Hall recalls Mary telling her how much she was dealing with at the time and how difficult it was.

Mary and Kendu split in 2016 after 12 years of marriage. It was a devastating blow to Blige and her fandom, who had felt she finally found happiness after singing about heartbreak for so long. At the time, she had admitted to Variety that she was not doing ok. “I’m living. I’m not happy about a lot of things,” she told them. She went on to say that she felt Kendu loved her, but by the end of their marriage, she had realized that he was a con artist. The R&B singer said at the time that she felt betrayed, and to make matters worst, Kendu was looking to pocket a lot of her money in the divorce. Mary J. Blige goes on to talk about Kendu having another woman and how he basically used her to fund his and his new girlfriend’s lives. 

Now, five years later, Mary says she had no idea how much good was in store for her following such a crippling loss. “I was trying to get through my life and get through those trials,” Mary recalls of her and Tamron’s Essence chat. She referred to her divorce as “a death.” The ‘Just Fine’ singer declares that at the time, she was just trying to move forward and keep her head up through the worst of it.

Mary J Blige’s Oscar nomination came in the middle of the storm she was dealing with. “It’s like God opened up the sky on me,” she recalls. “I just kept moving, and I didn’t get bitter. I just let God take the wheel and do his thing.” The Queen of Soul believed if she had tried anything else, it would have been a disaster. 

When looking back on 1994, and her ‘My Life’ album, Mary believes it’s a blessing to be alive 27 years later because she never thought she’d live past 1994. Mary J. Blige claims the album was her saving grace. The singer believed if she checked out, her millions of fans would have no one to be inspired by. “I always had a thing for people. I love people more than I love myself. I don’t know how I did that.” Mary says it’s a quality she’s had her whole life since childhood. “I just wanted everybody to have something. I wanted everybody to be happy in the projects because if they’re happy, they’ll leave you alone.” 

While ‘My Life’ focused on some of the darkest moments in Mary’s story, the singer knows its connection with fans has given her light throughout the years to continue. After being released in ’94, the ‘My Life’ album debuted number one on Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop albums chart for eight weeks. The album also peaked at number seven on Billboard 200 chart. 

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