Mary J. Blige

If you ask Ellen who her all-time favorite musicians are, you can bet that Mary J. Blige is on that list! She will be on it for a long time, too -- as Ellen once told Mary, she seems to become even more impressive as time goes by. It's hard to believe that her career literally started in a karaoke booth at a mall!

When Mary was 17, she went into a mall karaoke booth and recorded a copy of Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture." Her stepfather listened to the tape and passed it on to a friend, where it eventually made its way to the head of Uptown Records. He was so impressed, he signed her to the record label and she started singing backup for local acts. Then Sean "Diddy" Combs took notice.

n 1991, he worked with Mary and helped shaped her debut album, "What's the 411?" It was extraordinarily successful, and she received critical acclaim for her blend of rap and R&B. Over the years, she has released multiple albums with continued success, as each made it to the Top 10. While collaborating with top names like Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Lauryn Hill, she has shaped her sound to a more soulful music. It's worked for her -- to date she has won 9 Grammy Awards, and is nominated for another this year.

Mary just released her newest album, "Stronger with Each Tear," which sold an astonishing 330,000 copies in its first week.

Keep in Touch with Mary J. Blige