Mary J. Blige draws power from pain
Mary J. Blige is a great singer not only because she has phenomenal vocal talent, but also because she can infuse every song she sings with genuine, often heart-wrenching emotion. When Blige released her debut album, What’s the 411?, in 1992, she was dubbed the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, and over time she’s established herself as the heiress to soul icons like Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. She’s also brought a deeply personal touch to her music, expressing her inner struggles via her lyrics starting with 1994’s My Life. Hit singles like “Not Gon’ Cry,” “No More Drama” and “Be Without You” showcase her ability to combine powerhouse vocals with emotional vulnerability.
Blige has translated that openness into a successful acting career as well, including an Oscar nomination for her performance in the 2017 period drama Mudbound (her song “Mighty River” from the movie’s soundtrack was also Oscar-nominated). Blige’s current tour celebrates the 25th anniversary of My Life, as the singer works on a long-awaited second sequel album set for release later this year. Blige has always taken the trauma of her life and translated it into powerful music, and after emerging from a painful divorce, she’s set to reclaim that power again.
Hard Rock Hotel, 8 p.m. Aug. 16-17, starting at $51 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster