Exclusive Audio: Mary J. Blige Tells It to Us Straight

January 11, 2007 12:00 AM ET

Mary J. Blige, the reigning diva of R&B, who recently received eight Grammy nominations for her 2005 album The Breakthrough, spoke to our Austin Scaggs about her music, her past and her pop-lock skills. Listen to choice excerpts of their interview:

Blige on the music that she listened to growing up, her first big performance and her break-dancing abilities.

Blige on singing's power to make her lose herself.

Blige reveals the struggles that inspired her album, The Breakthrough.

The singer on her friendship with Bono.

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Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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