Mary J. Blige Says New Album Is ‘Gangsta’ [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
Mary J. Blige may express herself loud and clear while onstage, but when it comes to her forthcoming album, she’s keeping to herself — at the moment.
During downtime at the 2014 Essence Music Festival, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul decided to keep the details of her 12th LP under wraps until production is further along. However, she shares that this project will be different from anything she’s done in a while.
“It’s top secret, don’t wanna give it up but it’s so gangsta, it’s so big,” she tells The Boombox with a grin. “Oh my God, it’s so good.”
It should be interesting to see how the singer follows up the recent ‘Think Like a Man Too’ soundtrack, which she recorded entirely on her own. After more than two decades in the music industry, she isn’t pressured to put out music or change who she really is.
“For me it’s organic,” she divulges. “Because if I ever think about reinventing myself then I’m chasing everything else and that’s what keeps you stagnant and makes people lose respect for you as an artist. But if I stay Mary and figure out or grow into whatever Mary is… Mary is a woman now, but a fly, young woman so that’s where I am with that.”
On her way to becoming a “fly, young woman,” Blige doesn’t hesitate to admit that she’s had a bit of help along the way, including the assistance of the Essence Music Festival. Back in 1995, she was one of the featured performers — quite a feat to pull off as a newcomer. These days, she headlines the four-day festival nearly every year.
“Essence means everything to me,” she says, smiling. “They’ve consistently invited me back. They believed in me in my early years when I ain’t even think I could pull something like this off so I appreciate them in all their support.”