Today is definitely one of the three or four lightest days for celebrity birthdays since this series began last July.
Known as the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul,” Mary J. Blige turns 46 today. As a teenager, she made a tape in a recording booth at a local mall, which her mother’s boyfriend sent to an executive at Uptown Records, and she was signed to a contract. Initially she was used as a backup singer, but she prepared an album under the tutelage of Sean “Puffy” Combs. That album, What’s the 411?, was released in 1992 and made Blige an immediate success.
Blige has remained a successful recording artist for nearly 25 years now, while also branching out to take an occasional acting role, as in the 2012 film Rock of Ages. Over her career, she has displayed a striking ability to reinvent herself. She has won nine Grammys, which have come in four different music categories—Rap, R&B, Pop, and Gospel. She has had four #1 albums and five singles reach #1 on the R&B chart.