Mary J. Blige still finds it “therapeutic” to sing her big hit songs.
The multi-talented singer and actress rose to prominence in 1992 when she released debut album What’s the 411? and has since gone on to find success with songs such as Be Without You, Real Love, No More Drama and Family Affair.
Though it has been a long time since she first released some of her singles, Mary has insisted that she still puts her heart and soul into each and every performance she gives.
“If I’m onstage every single night, it can’t just be for my fans. It obviously is for me, too,” she told New York magazine. “I’m going to feel it like it was the first day. I’m going to relive No More Drama. I don’t have a choice. These things really happen, so they just turn up again. And if it’s healing for someone else, it’s therapy for someone else, it’ll be therapy for me as well.”
In addition to her singing career, Mary has won acclaim for her recent acting roles, including a part in TV show How to Get Away with Murder and an Oscar-nominated turn as Florence Jackson in Dee Rees’ period drama Mudbound, which tells of two World War II veterans who return to rural Mississippi each to address racism and Post-traumatic stress disorder in his own way.
When it came to portraying Florence, the mother of one of the soldiers, Mary was inspired by the inner strength of her grandmother and the aspects of her “tough” childhood.
“Everything we saw, we couldn’t say — so that was in me. My mother said whatever she wanted, but my grandmother was just a very reserved woman, very reserved but very powerful. Because you can end up in trouble if you said too much. I mean, Dee saw that. That’s my personality,” the 47-year-old shared.