Mary J Blige: The Unheard Story of the Album ‘My Life’

Mary J Blige: The Unheard Story of the Album ‘My Life’

Mary J Blige is a multi-platinum R&B and Hip Hop recording artist, a 9-time Grammy award-winner, and celebrated actress.

She is also the subject of a new Amazon Studios documentary that releases on June 25th, Mary J Blige’s My Life, that marked the 25th anniversary of the artist’s acclaimed 1994 album, propelling her to international stardom.

Joining us to talk about Mary J Blige and the making of this documentary is the Academy Award-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth, best known for her short documentary Freeheld (2007) and Netflix series Daughters of Destiny (2017).

She tells us about how Mary’s life inspired and influenced the My Life album and her music career, about the challenges of making music documentaries, as well as what it was like working with Amazon Studios. 

“Once you’re given the opportunity, you need to do the work.” – Vanessa Roth

Time Stamps:
00:03 – The trailer for Mary J Blige’s My Life.
03:43 – The period of Mary’s life that inspired her My Life album and the film.
06:49 – The unique sound of Mary’s voice and the nature of her lyrics.
08:10 – What Mary’s fans will find in the film that they haven’t seen or heard before.
10:50 – How Vanessa structured the film.
13:28 – How the film got started and whose idea it was to make it.
17:50 – How familiar Vanessa was with Mary’s music before making the film.
22:07 – The role Mary’s family played in her life.
24:43 – Mary’s spiritual side and her belief in providence.
26:19 – Why Vanessa used animation in the film.
32:46 – What it was like working with Amazon Studios.
35:40 – The unique challenges there are in making a music documentary.
38:31 – Mary’s thoughts on the final cut of the film.
40:01 – Vanessa’s connection to Forrest Gump and why she didn’t pursue an acting career.
45:07 – The secret to Vanessa’s success.
47:10 – The series Vanessa has made on Nat Geo about women impacting societies.

Resources:
Mary J Blige’s My Life (2021)
Mighty Oak
Impact with Gal Gadot (2021)
Innersound Studios
Alamo Pictures

Connect with Vanessa Roth:
IMDb

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More From Factual America:

HBO’s Revolution Rent: Broadway in Cuba
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The Notorious B.I.G. Has Got a Hip Hop Story to Tell

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Episode 66