Singing through the pain
LOS ANGELES Mary J. Blige may be spitting fireball lyrics about her soon-to-be ex-husband on her new album, but the songs didn’t start from a place of anger and hate. It began with hope.
“This album ... (was) written from the perspective of me fighting for my marriage. And then when it all blew up in August, I had to start rewriting songs,” Blige said in a recent interview.
The Grammy-winning icon said she spent months releasing her emotions and heartache on Strength of a Woman, released on April 28, which features a number of details about her very public breakup and ongoing court battle with her former manager and husband, Martin (Kendu) Isaacs.
“There was no moment where I felt like I was going to keep this in because it was way too much for me to handle on my own,” said Blige, best known for her sad and painful songs. “These are things I needed to get out. I needed to express myself and so it hurt, but it’s good. It’s good.”
On her 13th studio effort, the New Yorker does not mince words as she details the emotional ending of her nearly 13-year marriage and makes claims of lies and infidelity. Blige filed for divorce from Isaacs last July, citing irreconcilable differences. She also asked a court to deny Isaacs spousal support.
“There is no happy ending right now because we’re in the thick of it,” said Blige of her divorce settlement. “But I’m going to smile and have people make me smile and love myself and not give up.”
Grammy-nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan, who has written for Blige, Jennifer Hudson and other R&B stars, said writing for Blige’s new album was an emotional roller-coaster because as Blige’s life changed, so did the songs they were crafting.
Blige, 46, said her harrowing journey through pain and selfdiscovery has not left her without hope. However, she may think twice before walking down the aisle.
“I haven’t given up on love, but I definitely gave up on marriage for a while,” she said.
Mary J. Blige