Often declared the queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige is a producer, singer, songwriter, and sometime rapper who has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and earned nearly 30 Grammy Award nominations, becoming one of the most successful r&b artists of the last few decades. Born in 1971 in The Bronx, New York, Blige grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Chaka Khan before beginning her career as a background singer in 1989. Blige released her first album What's the 411? in 1992 on Uptown Records, which was produced by Puff Daddy and infused hip-hop and soul into her gritty r&b sound, spawning the singles Real Love and You Remind Me. Her sophomore album My Life came out in November 1994 and debuted at No. 7 on the US Billboard 200 with singles Be Happy and I’m Goin’ Down, while her third album, 1997’s Share My World, debuted at No. 1 and sold over 3 million copies in the U.S. Her fourth album, 1999’s double-platinum Mary, had a more adult contemporary and retro soul sound, while her fifth album, 2001’s No More Drama, featured the Dr. Dre-produced smash single Family Affair, becoming her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. 2003’s Love & Life and 2005’s The Breakthrough followed, each debuting at No. 1 on the charts, and the latter posting the biggest first-week sales of an R&B solo female artist in history, as well as winning Grammys for Best R&B Album and its single Be Without You winning for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. She has toured the world over, playing for ticket buyers in Europe and North America with Jay-Z, and performed concerts with The-Dream, Miguel and Robin Thicke. 2007’s Growing Pains and 2009’s Stronger with Each Tear both debuted at No. 2, and her latest release, A Mary Christmas, was released in October 2013.