Pop Quiz: Mary J. Blige

Aidin Vaziri | It hasn’t been easy for Mary J. Blige. From being born into a Yonkers housing project and enduring a string of toxic relationships to years of drug and alcohol abuse, the nine-time Grammy winner has fought some pretty remarkable odds to keep her head up. We spoke to the singer, who is on tour in support of her most recent album, 2009’s “Stronger With Each Tear,” shortly after her knockout performance with Drake at the Video Music Awards.

Mary J. Blige
Q: Why is this tour called Music Saved My Life?
A: I believe there are certain things that God uses to get us out of a bad situation, and I believe music was one of the things he used for me. The first time I heard “Keep on Moving” by Soul II Soul, I felt like somebody pumped a new spirit in me that made me want to go on.
Q: Do you hear the same thing from other people about your own songs?
A: I remember this mother telling me a few years ago about her little girl whose face was destroyed by a dog bite. The girl didn’t want to live. Then “No More Drama” came on the radio while they were in the car, and she opened her mouth for the first time and said, “I don’t want to die.”
Q: Is it hard singing the most painful songs from your past?
A: As hard as it is for me to listen to “My Life,” I know I made it. Every time I put it on I’m in tears thinking of all the experiences I had. You can push it under the rug, but when you’re faced with it, you remember you made it through.
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