With Mary J. Blige's new album Strength of a Woman set to drop tomorrow (April 28), the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul sat down with NPR to discuss her failed marriage, overcoming adversity in the music industry, and more in her exclusive interview.
The demise of Blige's marriage will be the central theme of her upcoming album. After being married for 13 years with Kendu Isaacs, the couple split due to irreconcilable differences. Blige candidly spoke about her song "Thick of It" and how the recording process nearly broke her down.
"This song was originally written about me fighting for my marriage," said Blige. "The lyrics were completely different, and it was saying things like, "We just don't give up when we're in the thick of it." And then with all of this happening, it was hard to go back to the studio and do it, but I had to do it, in order to -- how can I say it? -- get free, because my music is therapeutic to me as well. And if I don't write about it and if I don't sing about where I am in my life, I won't start a healing process."
Blige also delved into the downside of being in the music industry. "It's the business," she said. "When it looks like you're not doing as well, or you're getting older on top of not doing well as how you used to do, they just start counting you out."
Though Blige admitted to having difficulty overcoming life's hurdles, she says her struggles molded her into who she is today. "It's hard, it's a responsibility being Mary J. Blige," she said. "I wouldn't trade it -- but the trials and tribulations I could do without. If I could do it without the trials -- but those are the things that make us or break us. And, in my case, I'm not going to be broken."
Last month, Blige released her empowering single "Love Yourself" with Kanye West. Strength of a Woman will include guest appearances by DJ Khaled, Missy Elliot, Quavo, Kaytranada, and Prince Charles.
You can read the full interview with NPR here.