*New material from Mary J. Blige is finally in stores.
Her 10th studio album, “My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1),” is a sequel to her second album “My Life,” which spawned six hit singles since its Nov. 28, 1994 debut [“Mary Jane (All Night Long),” “You Bring Me Joy,” “My Life,” “I’m Goin’ Down,” “I Love You” and “Be Happy”] and served as an unflinching, soul-bearing portrait of Blige’s tortured state of mind at the time.
When the singer recorded “My Life” in the fall of 93, she was dealing with clinical depression, battling both drugs and alcohol, and was deep into an abusive relationship with singer K-Ci Hailey of Jodeci.
The pain in her voice and her lyrics – backed by beats executive-produced by Diddy – resonated with an entire generation of fans and went on to stay atop Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart for eight consecutive weeks. It eventually became the most successful R&B album on the Billboard Year-End chart for 1995.
Mary says her current sequel, released on Nov. 21, is crafted to sound more like her first two albums than any of her recent material. “It’s more like a ‘What’s the 411?’ of 2012,” she said of “My Life II,” which features production from a variety of talents, including Danja, The Underdogs, Jim Jonsin and Darkchild.
Blige is no longer in the muddled, substance-fueled confusion that defined her first “My Life” album, but as the title declares, “the journey continues.”
Below, Blige reveals the single biggest lesson she’s learned in the 17 years between “My Life” I and II.