Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 1st 2017 Contents A28 life
guardian.co.tt Monday, May 1, 2017
Making new album an emotional
rollercoaster for Mary J Blige
Mary J Blige may be spitting fireball lyrics
about her soon-to-be ex-husband on her new
album, but the songs didn't start from a place
of anger and hate.
It began with hope.
"This album ... (was) written from the perspective
of me fighting for my marriage. And then when it all
blew up in August, I had to start rewriting songs,"
Blige said in an interview last week.
The Grammy-winning icon said she spent months
releasing her emotions and heartache on Strength
of a Woman, released on April 28, which features a
number of details about her very public breakup and
ongoing court battle with her former manager and
husband, Martin "Kendu" Isaacs.
"There was no moment where I felt like I was going
to keep this in because it was way too much for me
to handle on my own," said Blige, best known for her
sad and painful songs. "These are things I needed to
get out. I needed to express myself and so it hurt, but
it's good. It's good."
On her 13th stu-
dio effort, the New
Yorker does not
mince words as she
details the emotional
ending of her nearly
13-year marriage and
makes claims of lies
and infidelity. Blige
filed for divorce from
Isaacs last July, cit-
differences. She also
asked a court to deny
Isaacs spousal sup-
"There is no hap-
py ending right now
because we're in the
thick of it," said Blige
of her divorce settle-
ment. "We're in the
midst of all this fool-
ishness and until the
divorce is final, this is where we are. But I'm going to
smile and have people make me smile and love myself
and not give up."
Grammy-nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan, who
has written for Blige, Jennifer Hudson and other R&B
stars, said writing for Blige's new album was an emo-
tional rollercoaster because as Blige's life changed,
so did the songs they were crafting.
"The first single (Thick of It) was different the first
time I wrote it. She called me, she was in a different
state and then as things started to change in her life,
she had to call me again and kind of fill me in, and we
had to make some changes to the song so it could fit
where she was at that point," she said. "It actually
started as kind of a happy, uplifting song because
she was fighting for her marriage and trying to make
it work, so it came from that point of view. Some
months later she said things had changed, so we had
to change the lyrics."
As with most heartache, Blige moves on to the
revenge phase with songs like Glow Up, where she
teamed with Missy Elliott, DJ Khaled and Quavo from
Migos to fire a warning shot: "You had this one com-
ing," she sings. "You made me cry. Now it's your time."
In the deceptively smooth Set Me Free, Blige sweetly
croons, "There's a special place in hell for you. You
gon' pay for what you did to me."
"I needed that moment. You know, I'm angry. I've
been had," she said. "My music is therapeutic to me
It's not all darkness and rage. Blige sings about
finding love after heartbreak in Smile and teams
with Kanye West for the empowering anthem Love
Yourself. And as the album title suggests, Blige cer-
tainly finds her strength through uplifting tracks like
Indestructible and Survivor.
"It's about knowing you're worthy and it's a pro-
cess," she said. "I haven't come out the end yet. Not
yet. Every day you have to remember to love yourself.
... I'm in the like myself (stage) really heavy. But to
love yourself is (a) process, but I'm getting there."
Blige, 46, will take fans behind-the-scenes of the
album when Strength of a Woman: An Album Doc-
umentary debuts May 2 on VH1.
The singer said her harrowing journey through pain
and self-discovery has not left her without hope for
the future. However, she may think twice before
walking down the aisle.
"I haven't given up on love, but I definitely gave up
on marriage for a while. I think I'm good on marriage
for a while," she said. (AP)
"There is no happy
ending right now
because we're in
the thick of it," said
Blige of her divorce
in the midst of all
this foolishness and
until the divorce is fi-
nal, this is where we
are. But I'm going to
smile and have peo-
ple make me smile
and love myself and
not give up."
Singer Mary J Blige
says her new
album Strength of
a Woman talks
about her messy
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