With three decades of hits under her belt, there are plenty of Mary J. Blige’s own songs that she could listen to for eternity. The recently-turned 50-year-old performer has been ruling the airwaves, as well as the large and small screens, for longer than some of the younger generations of artists have been alive, but according to Blige, it was only recently that she decided to sit back and listen to her catalog. According to the singer, she was never really a fan of adding her tracks to her playlists.
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Blige spoke with Ellen DeGeneres today (February 23) about listening to her older songs for the first time while under quarantine. “I really don’t like to listen to even the sound of my speaking voice, let alone listen back to Mary J. Blige,” she said. “But I’ve grown so much, you know, in confidence that during the quarantine, I don’t know, just something just said, ‘Listen to some Mary J. Blige.’ And I did. I felt like an outside person doing it.”
She was surprised at just how much those decades-old tracks resonated with her today. “As I was listening, what blew me away is, like, you know, so many of the lyrics was helping me now during the quarantine and in my life,” she added. “And what I couldn’t understand was how could somebody so messed up that was, you know, drinking and on drugs and just a crazy person, you know, young person write those lyrics that can help me through everything that I’m going through right now. It’s like listening to another person, especially during the time we were all just, you know, suffering in the quarantine and in this pandemic.”
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“I was listening to the My Life album during the pandemic, and I was listening to ‘My Life,’ the song ‘My Life,’ and I was like, ‘Wow, how did I write those lyrics? How did I do that?'” she said. “Because it was a time where we all needed to be patient, and I know I need patience. And the line, ‘Take your time, one day at a time. It’s all on you. What you gonna do?’ was like, that was, you know, that was the healer for me. Like, ‘Just sit down Mary, and relax. You’re not going anywhere.'”
Check out a clip of the music icon’s appearance on Ellen below.