Mary J. Blige has released 15 studio albums (and sold more than 100 million of them).
She’s returning to the third season of the Starz series Power Book II: Ghost next month.
Now 52 and into her fourth decade in the music business, she arrives on the PEOPLE photo shoot set amid a flurry of activity. She’s ready. “I’ve been doing this for a minute,” she says. “I’m no rookie,” Blige told PEOPLE.
But she says her work is feeling a little different today.
“I can receive all the gifts,” she says, referring to six Grammy nominations for her new album Good Morning Gorgeous, receiving the Billboard Music Icon Award last year, her Emmy-winning performance at last year’s Super Bowl, and her pair of Oscar nominations a few years ago. She’s operating on all cylinders. She’s in her prime. Whatever you want to call it, she’s there. But here’s the important part: She knows it.
“I can accept it all with humility and with confidence because I’ve been working so hard all my life — really, really hard. But I wasn’t able to see the good things until I really got my head together and my life together.”
Her daily routine helped with that. Every morning when she awakes, she looks in the mirror. She says to herself, “Good morning, gorgeous.” (Yes, the title track of her album is about this ritual.)
“Sometimes my eyes are all closed up,” she says. “But I strain to see myself. It’s not about the vanity of it, it’s about how we’re strengthened. no one can love me like me. Nobody can.”
For the Grammy-winning singer and Oscar-nominated actress, this has become more than a daily ritual — it’s a form of meditation. “I do it in my prayer time. There’s no makeup, no nominations for an award. It’s just me and God. And the beauty of being able to say, “I appreciate my life.” To look in the mirror, my eyes are half closed, and say something to myself that I never even believed.”
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