Mary J. Blige has been very busy these days appearing on reality TV shows, releasing a new album, and filming the highly anticipated movie musical Rock of Ages. We caught up with the nine time Grammy Award winner backstage at Caesars Atlantic City before her sold out show to talk about her music career, appearing on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars andFOX’s The X Factor and what it was like working with Tom Cruise andRussell Brand!
The Queen of Hip Hop Soul says she was overjoyed to release her tenth studio album, My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1).
“I was super excited. The fact that I’m able to do this and have the fan base that I have that consistently supports me is just a blessing and I’m happy–super happy.”
The track “Living Proof” from the hit movie The Help has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Blige says the nomination is very rewarding.
“It’s amazing because in the music business I’ve been respected and been given many, many accolades for what I do which is singing and write and so to be recognized for that in film–my songs in films is just another blessing I’m just so happy and thankful for the team of people that I have.”
Growing up in the Bronx, New York the artist says she had a variety of musical influences from all different genres.
“I have many musical influences; you could start with Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Sam Cooke, Teena Marie, Chaka Khan it just keeps going–Mavis Staples and Stevie Nicks even and Pat Benatar we grew up listening to we were kids running home from school to watch “Love is a Battlefield” video so we never forgot those people who inspired us.”
In the highly anticipated movie musical Rock of Ages based on the 1980′s hit Broadway show, Blige portrays Justice Charlier. She says being involved in the film didn’t even feel like work at times.
“Rock of Ages was fun; it was so much fun going to work every day because everyone was just so much fun although we were working really, really hard you would see people like Russell Brand and he’ll make you laugh and you see Tom Cruise and he’ll make you feel good about not being a professional actress and it was just fun; everything was wonderful.”
While Blige is thankful for her loyal fans she says that having the opportunity to reach new fans through her appearances on Dancing with the Stars and The X-Factor is a blessing.
“That’s one of the most beautiful things to be able to transcend my career through generation to generation and just be timeless it’s beautiful. I try to respect their ears and what they listen to and even listen to what they listen to.”