Soundtrack Of My Life: Mary J Blige

R&B legend and star of new Netflix movie 'Mudbound'

The first song I remember hearing

Roy Ayers – ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’
“I was four years old and living in Hastings, New York. I’d never felt anything like it. It made me feel so many emotions for a little kid. I saw so many colours. Years later I sampled it on one of my songs, ‘My Life’, because the song was so important to me. It makes me feel good and bad all at the same time.”

The song I wish I’d written

John Legend – ‘Ordinary People’
“It’s the lyrics. ‘We’re just ordinary people / We don’t know which way to go / Maybe we should take it slow’. Like, take it slow, take it easy – that alone just gives me the chills, you know? Because we are just people and we are very small in the universe. We should stop trying to be so big and take it easy on each other. It’s definitely liberating – it takes a load off. You don’t have to carry so much: the universe is gonna carry it for you.”

The song that I can’t get out of my head

Dj Khaled Feat. Rihanna And Bryson Tiller – ‘Wild Thoughts’
“It’s just the beat and the way Rihanna is singing and riding the beat. I am a huge Rihanna fan. I love her for many reasons. She’s free – she does what she wants. She says what she wants. She’s like a rock’n’roll star. She’s just Rihanna and she’s not apologetic for any of it.”

The song that makes me dance

George Clinton & Parliament – ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’
“It makes me wanna go crazy. Of course, De La Soul later used it on ‘Me Myself And I’. When I was on tour with Maxwell, we had a party after the show in New Orleans and I played it over and over again.”

The record that made me want to make music

Stevie Wonder – ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’
“I first heard it when I was five and I wanted to sing every song with him. The music was so beautiful. Every time I see him I tell him how much ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ means to me.”

The first gig I went to

New Edition and Al B. Sure! – Madison Square Garden, New York
“It was amazing – my seats weren’t all that great but I was a huge Al B. Sure! fan and I was already a New Edition fan since I was a little kid. So that was a very powerful moment for me. I was so busy singing the songs and thinking, ‘Oh my god, I wish I could meet all of them.’”

The song that changed my life

Soul II Soul – ‘Keep On Movin’
“We lived in the projects – it’s not a cool place to live. Everybody wants to get out. I was in my living room when I first heard ‘Keep On Movin’. That song is so optimistic. When Caron Wheeler sang, “Keep on movin’, don’t stop… It’s our time”, it made me believe I was gonna make it, I was gonna get out.”

Mudbound starring Mary J Blige is available to stream on Netflix now