Q & Andy: Mary J. Blige
ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLEN VON UNWERTH
In the years since she brought the ruckus with the R&B classic What’s the 411? in 1992—produced by Sean “Puffy” Combs—all Mary J. Blige has done is make one of the greatest pop albums of all time (My Life, 1994), become a powerful enabler of women making their way in a man’s world, and stuff the dance-club catalog with dozens of classics. With two more well-received albums in 2014 (The London Sessions and the soundtrack to Think Like a Man Too), Blige, 44, is now and forever the undisputed queen of hip-hop soul, at the vanguard for the gloriously dancey union of hip-hop and R&B, and a model for so many of today’s fierce, feminist stars. Here she took a moment to chat with Andy.
ANDY WARHOL: What did you eat for breakfast?
MARY J. BLIGE: Scrambled eggs with turkey bacon and wheat toast.
WARHOL: How were you discovered?
BLIGE: I made a tape at a karaoke machine at the mall. My stepdad gave it to an artist who was already signed to Uptown Records.
WARHOL: What was your first job?
BLIGE: Alexander’s Department Store on Central Avenue in Yonkers, New York. I folded clothes.
WARHOL: What’s the craziest thing a fan has sent you?
BLIGE: A picture of my name and face tattooed all over their body.
WARHOL: Is there anything you regret not doing?
BLIGE: No regrets at all.
WARHOL: When do you get nervous?
BLIGE: When I’m not prepared.
WARHOL: What’s your favorite color?
BLIGE: I love earth tones.
WARHOL: Do you keep a diary?
BLIGE: I used to but I stopped because I don’t every want anyone to find it.
WARHOL: Do you get depressed if you don’t work?
BLIGE: I wouldn’t say depressed, just a little impatient.
WARHOL: Have you ever been to the White House?
BLIGE: Absolutely. Three times to be exact.
WARHOL: Do you think that it is vanity to worry so much about what you look like?
BLIGE: It can become vanity if that’s all your concerned about.
WARHOL: What do you think about love?
BLIGE: Love is wonderful, amazing, and the best thing that can happen to us.