Mary J. Blige Says ‘Growing Pains’ is no Pressure

R&B singer Mary J. Blige, also know as the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul,” Releases her new CD “Growing Pains” this month. Blige, whose 7th studio album “The Breakthrough” debuted at number one on both the Billboard 200 Albums and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, selling 727,000 copies in its first week, became the biggest first-week sales for an R&B solo female artist in SoundScan history. Since its release, The Breakthrough has sold over three million copies in the U.S and over seven million copies worldwide. The success of The Breakthrough won Blige nine Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, two BET Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, and a Soul Train Award. When ask if she is intimidated in going back to the studio after the success of “The Breakthrough, Blige says “we were coming out of a valley, so to speak, with ‘The Breakthrough.’ Everyone had run away and turned their backs on us. And that was cool. We love them still, and we forgive them. But it’s been easier doing ‘Growing Pains’ because now you don’t have anything to try to conquer. It’s like you’ve accomplished everything you set out to do. You’ve done the hard work to be where you are. Now, though, you’ve got to work harder to deliver based on that confidence. Not that I was lax on anything or taking anything for granted because “The Breakthrough” did so well. I worked just as hard, maybe even harder, on this album.” Even with the years of success Blige has garnered, the R&B singer says she would change some things from her past if she could do it all again. “I would probably behave. I can’t change what I was because I didn’t know any better. But if I’d have known then what I do now, I wouldn’t have done any of that stupid stuff.” “Showing up 10 hours late for an interview or not showing up at all? That doesn’t have anything to do with anything. That’s just stupidity. I wish I’d done that differently instead of, ‘I’m not going. I’m hung over. I’m staying home.’ Meanwhile, you’ve got interviewers and all these people at photo shoots waiting for you who don’t care about any of that. They’re just there to do their jobs and you don’t show up. And now you’re difficult.” Blige, who has been tagged “the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” appreciates the moniker. “There’s nothing I can do about it because it’s something I’ve earned,” she says. “I would never disrespect it. Hip-hop is not something that you ultimately hear. It’s a culture we grew up in, and it became us. This is the way we think, walk and talk. There’s a lot of intelligence in hip-hop.”


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