To state that 2006 was one of the biggest years of Mary J Blige's career isn't hype. It is truth. In 2006 there was no bigger story or artist, in any genre, than Mary J Blige. Thanks to a chart-topping album, history making #1 single, galvanizing television appearances and a sold out tour, 2006 became the 12-month span in which the multiple platinum selling, Grammy winning Queen of Hip Hop Soul scaled new creative, personal and commercial heights. So after all of those dazzling achievements what does Mary J do to top it? Simple. She rewards her fans by recording yet another classic in the making - Reflections - A Retrospective - which will be released on Geffen Records December 12th.
A much anticipated and long awaited collection Reflections - A Retrospective not only gathers together all Mary J's timeless greatest hits but features four new greatest hits to be - the first of which is the hot single "We Ride (I See The Future"). Spanning the entirety of Mary J's spectacular 15-year career Reflections- A Retrospective is more than a greatest hits collection. It's a soulful shout out to Mary J's loyal fans, and a celebration of the year when one of R&B's most influential singers "broke through" bigger than ever.
Released on December 20th, 2005, Mary's 7th cd The Breakthrough debuted at #1, and sold an astonishing 727,163 copies its first week: making it not just the best opening week for a solo R&B female artist in SoundScan history but the biggest opening week of 2006 to date. Period. Yet even more explosive than The Breakthrough's success was the album's lead off single "Be Without You". Written and produced by Bryan Michael Cox and Johnta Austin (the same creative team responsible for "We Ride (I See The Future"), "Be Without You" had the #1 spot on the Billboard R&B charts on lock; and stayed there for a record breaking 15 straight weeks. "Be Without You" was not only the biggest hit of Mary's already brilliant career, it entered the history books by becoming the longest-running No. 1 song on the R&B chart since it was reintroduced, after a brief hiatus, in 1965. You'd have to go back to 1949 to find a #1 song with as lengthy a chart run as "Be Without You."
The Breakthrough was equally dominant. The emotive cd was the recipient of universal critical acclaim, with Vanity Fair declaring, " she's still the Queen " USA Today stating "Another Blige 'Breakthrough' Blige still touches souls..." and the Boston Globe hailing the cd as " a start-to-finish triumph."
Fans also felt The Breakthrough's power. Following Mary's stellar performance on the 2006 Grammy Awards, (dueting with U2 on their ballad "One"), The Breakthrough recaptured the top spot on the Billboard 200. Along with that electrifying appearance -which the St. Petersburg Times declared was "chills-inducing" - Mary also performed on the finales of "Dancing With the Stars" and "American Idol", "Oprah", and the ABC soap "One Life To Live".
Further proof of Mary's artistry is the breadth of her numerous collaborations. 2006 saw The Queen of Hip Hop Soul singing with The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, on "Never Gonna Break My Faith". The song, featured in the film Bobby marks the second time these two R&B powerhouses have joined forces. Mary also brings her imitable flavor to Luadacris's new single "Runaway Love". Additionally Mary, in conjunction with electronics retailer Circuit City, is releasing "Mary J. Blige & Friends," an exclusive two-disc CD set benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of America. And if 2006 was a milestone 2007 promises to be just as significant. Rather than rest on her laurels, Mary J is in the studio, preparing to drop a new cd of new material and once again, raise the bar.
Ron Fair, Chairman of Geffen Records says of Mary's success "Mary J. Blige has reached the defining moment of her life - as a vocalist, as a songwriter, and as a human being. Her new album "Reflections- A Retrospective" is an essential collection of songs that solidifies Mary as one of the greatest recording artists of all time. Anyone who has ever suffered loss, experienced pain, been in trouble, gave love or been loved, can find themselves in the music of Mary J. Blige."
With her landmark 1992 cd What's The 411 Mary J Blige became R&B's standard bearer, setting both its sound and style. Since that debut Mary has earned 3 Grammys, had 7 multi platinum albums, lent her support to a slew of high profile charities and earned the unqualified respect of fans, critics and her fellow performers. With a soulful power that knows no equal, Mary J Blige owned 2006 and the Queen continues her reign with Reflections- A Retrospective.