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Mary J Blige. Does she need an introduction? One of RnB’s biggest survivors. She has been through a drug addiction, an abusive relationship, been written off by her label - and yet here she is back with the best selling RnB album of 2012 and a starring role in the Rock of Ages movie. Just don’t mention KFC…
Is it painful listening to your old albums?
It’s hard listening to the My Life album. It always make me want to cry. I could not believe I was being treated so badly, that I was treating myself so badly and that I was allowing myself to be treated so badly. I did a lot of drugs. I did a lot of things - not just weed - but beyond that. At that point I was hooked. Was it easier to write back then? I would say it was equal really, because wherever you are, if you’re just honest, it will come out easily. So it’s easy in heaven, easy in hell.
But I remember Aaliyah died on 25th August, then right after the World Trade Centre blew up. I was like ‘OK, am I next?’ That’s where I was at. I had an ulcer from drinking and I knew spiritually I couldn’t go on like that.
I blame it all on not being ready for the Music Industry. If you get all this fame before you’re ready, you can start getting ‘high on your own supply’ and begun to believe the hype. Artist Development should be a major part of every label. Too many people are ending up like Amy Winehouse, no one is preparing them for this.
Now, I love me some Amerie but one of my all time favourite quotes from an interview I’ve done is this one right here.
‘You know you’ve made it when you get the gay rumours. Have I had them? No.’
Poor Amerie. She was always on the edge of being huge but then Beyonce came along and ruined things.
Your last two albums kind of seemed rushed. There were only a couple of singles from each. What happened? Were they a flop?
No! We did schedule a third single from my third album, but then we thought, ‘Why not just do another album?’ I did a track with Ricky Martin straight after. He was really nice. Did I fancy him? What does that mean?
Did you want to jump his bones?
No! He’s really sweet, but I don’t look at him that way.
At the time he was in the closet but the rumours were still flying. what did you make of them?
I hear those about everybody though. You know you’ve made it when you get the gay rumours. Have I had them? No I haven’t, but I don’t hear it so much with the girls.
Well, there’s Whitney, Alicia Keys, Eve, Mary J, Missy…
Yeah, they do get those. I don’t think they’re true though. I’ve met them and they don’t give me that vibe.
Who were you most starstruck by?
Tina Turner. I met her backstage at a fashion show for Mr Armani. Have I copied her moves? Her music’s different, but when it comes to the legs and heels then yeah, I do love that! I’m all about the legs and heels.
What do you make of homophobia in Hip-Hop?
Hip-Hop’s a whole lifestyle, and it’s a very testosterone-driven one. It’s very much about beating on my chest and shouting ‘I’m a man!’ Because it’s youth-driven, people are not as aware of homophobia. I don’t always think that because you called someone a ‘faggot’, you’re saying that they’re homosexual.
When I hear ‘nigga’, it doesn’t always mean black. Spanish people call each other that or even white people. It has still got a negative connotation, so it definitely isn’t a word that should be used.