Singing through the pain

Edmonton Journal - - YOU - NI­COLE EVATT

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

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