I just want fans to walk away knowing that no matter what's going on, no matter how happy you are, no matter how sad you are, we did it. We're strong in this. We've come a long way, and life is not just one thing.
Music makes us want to live. You don't know how many times people have told me that they'd been down and depressed and just wanted to die. But then a special song caught their ear and that helped give them renewed strength. That's the power music has.
Thank you so much for supporting me from the day I stepped foot into the music industry. It really means something to me to have Maya Angelou speak on my behalf. It also means a lot to have Oprah on my speed dial!
I don't think there's anything they can say about me that I haven't said about myself already. And I would be an absolute total liar, and my fans would not respect me, if I said that my life and my marriage are perfect. But we absolutely love each other; we have fun together - it's great.
Nowadays, with the state of the music business, for any artist, whether you're up-and-coming or you've been in it for awhile, you have to explore different revenues and different ways of expressing yourself.
When someone comes up to me and says, 'Mary, you helped save my marriage', or, 'Mary, you helped me get out of this abusive relationship', I'm in it, really in their lives. And I'm so passionate about my feelings, but also about showing people the way through theirs.
Life is full of trials and tribulations. It's dramatic when you don't treat people right when you're in the tribulations, but I know now how to get out of it. You have to make a decision to say 'No more', and then you know what to do when the trials happen.
As a child I always wanted to be a singer. The music my mother played in the house moved me - Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Mahalia Jackson. It was truly spiritual. It made you understand what God was. We are all spirits. We get depressed. But music makes you want to live. I know my music has saved my life.
I used to think I was ugly. I thought I looked like a camel. A person who doesn't love themselves, they will see anything that pops up on their face. I've seen squirrels, I've seen a bird, and I've seen all kinds of animals on my face. But that is the result of self-hate. I've learned to say: 'You know what? I am a beautiful black woman'.
I cannot save the world; that's not what I'm trying to do. I guess I'm just trying to walk the walk and be an example to those that want it. Not everybody does, but if Mary J. Blige can come out of that same hole you were in, then you can do it, too - that's my goal: to do that without saying it, but actually live it.
Yonkers made me strong and made me believe in myself, because so many people would doubt you and not believe. There are people that would believe in you, but the environment was so harsh, nobody wanted you to get out, you know?
I believe there should be no more drama, but it's everywhere you go. It's just about how you get out. You've gotta bob and weave because it's everywhere. How do I keep the drama low? It's about using your head.
I think women should band together to get us more respect in all the businesses that we're in because, you know, if we turn 40, we're nothing and nobody. We all should band together and just say we're not gonna go down like that.
My main exercise is cardio. The treadmill is fine, but running outdoors gives me the best results. I try to log 6 to 8 miles a week. I could be in the worst mood, but when I do my cardio, I feel much, much better.
When you know what pain is, and when you have to make a choice, you learn that it is a decision. People think it's a fairytale thing, love and happiness, but you have to work hard. And then - you feel it deeply.
So as long as I'm a human being and I'm not perfect, I'm able to say I'm having some growing pains. Because in order to sustain where you are once you made such a breakthrough that everyone is looking at you, now everyone is like, 'Ooh, is she gonna make a mistake?' Yes, I'm going to make a mistake. Yes, I'm still gonna do things.
In the inner city, there's a mentality that the government owes you something. My breakthrough came when I stopped feeling sorry for myself and took responsibility for every part of my life. No more pity parties. I've gotta love me more than anybody else loves me.
Just don't let the hype of what people are saying and how much they love you, y'know, just take the compliment and be thankful that people are complimenting you, but don't let it consume you; don't let your circumstances around you and the way people view you make you act a certain way.
I've just been growing right along. It's painful, but it's a great pain, and I like suffering for great results. It's like going to the gym. It hurts really bad at first, but after a couple of months and after that diet, you're looking so hot.
One day I realized that I wasn't getting anywhere by blaming other people for my circumstances. I finally understood: Even if you feel someone has wronged you or owes you something, no one is going to give you anything for free.
I can go out raw with nothing, and my fans would still be happy, but I feel that I owe it to them to give them almost like a Broadway musical at this point in my life. I have to give them something more, so I do have to think of different ways to do it.
No one intimidates me because I'm not trying to do what you do, because I can't do what you do. I can only do what Mary J. Blige can do, so that relaxes me right there, and it gets me out of the competition and that whole thing.
I'm my worst critic, and I like the fact that I can listen to myself now and make fun of myself, listen, make changes - 'Oh, man, that's messed up. Okay, I need to work on that; I need to work on this.'
When I was five years old I was molested and just, you know. I remember feeling, literally right before it happened, I just could not believe that this person was going to do this to me. That thing followed me all my life. The shame of thinking my molestation was my fault - it led me to believe I wasn't worth anything.
Don't give up, be positive and if you know someone who knows someone at a record company don't stop beating down their door till you get heard. Don't ever say it'll never happen or it'll never happen.
If you're looking for inner peace from the outside world, you're not going to get that. The inner peace starts with looking at you from the inside. Understanding that everything that comes to you is what you are. Everything from friends to boyfriends to the job you get - it's all a direct reflection of what you are on the inside.
From being a little girl in the projects, going through all of the mess that I was going through, to ending up at the Inauguration for the first African-American president, I'm speechless right now because I never thought I'd - I never ever - I couldn't even see that far. Even when I ended up in the music business, I couldn't see that.
I felt ashamed about everything. Me dropping out of high school, me not, you know, just not being beautiful enough. I just didn't feel like I was smart enough or beautiful enough, you know, for years.
I've done well, I've been disappointed, and I think it all goes back to you. Of course the labels are going to be the labels. It's the music business. You are a business. That's what they do. So you've got to protect yourself.
So many people are like, 'I'm perfect.' I'm so imperfect; that's why I'm able to let everything out and let people see everything. 'Cause I'm just a mess like every other person that's a mess out there.