Mary Jane Blige, preferably known 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 1989, Blige released her first album, What's the 411? in 1992, and has since released ten studio albums. Blige further rose to national prominence with the release of the My Life album in 1994.
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 offical 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 over 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 all time. Moreover, she is ranked number 100 on the list of "100 greatest singers of all time" by Rolling Stone magazine. In 2012, VH1 ranked Blige at number 9 in "The 100 Greatest Woman in Music."