Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Mary J. Blige Takes a Chance and Delivers Rich Soul in ‘The London Sessions’

When I think about the soundtrack to my teen years, Mary J.Blige’s voice is on there. The girl from the Yonkers projects can sing about the pains and joys of love better than many of us can put into words.  I was down for Mary when she came on the scene back in 1992 with What’s the 411? Now the Queen of Hip Hop Soul is about to release her 13th studio album The London Sessions.

Mary J. Blige has to do what a lot of artists who debuted during the ‘90s—stay relevant and appealing to music listeners. People like her, Usher, Jay Z, etc. are still young and want to make music. But they need to produce music that fans, young and seasoned, will buy. I thought it was a brilliant idea for her go overseas to the U.K. and work with British producers to make the The London Sessions. With artists like the late Amy Winehouse and Adelle, the Brits have brought some deep soul artists to music.  Mary J. Blige made the smart move of working with producers overseas like Sam Smith, Disclosure and Naughty Boy.

This new album is a different sound for Mary, but it’s still Mary. It’s definitely more mature, with grown-woman lyrics.  The album opens with a classic soulful, bluesy/gospel type of song called “Therapy.” It’s about a woman bothering her ex-lover, has internal conflict and needs to let go.  Which is why she needs therapy. There are a few club beat songs like “My Loving” and “Nobody but You.”  "Right Now" is reminiscent of her signature hip-hop soul sound.  One of my favorite songs is “Doubt." It’s a good rise from the bottom song:

I can't keep doubting myself
Now you're looking at a leader

Now you're staring at a queen

You said I'll never be someone

But now I’m pulling all the strings

The London Sessions is a good album. It’s good soulful music. It’s real music. I applaud her for taking a risk and opening herself up to try something different while still staying Mary. Will mainstream pop music listeners buy the album? I don’t know. I think Mary J. Blige fans will be pleased. I’ve loved her music, style and realness for a long time and I like the album. The reviews on iTunes have been good. If you like real, soulful, grown, R&B music-- get the album.

The London Sessions comes out Dec. 2nd in the U.S. You can pre-order the album on iTunes and Amazon

FTC Disclosure statementI participated in the Mary J. Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of bLink Marketing Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.