#35 Mary J. Blige – U+ ME (Love Lesson)

U + ME (Love Lesson) is my tune of the week and off Mary J. Blige’s THIRTEENTH studio album ‘Strength of a Woman’. I fell in love with this song on the first listen, and before I knew about the drama behind it, I knew there was drama behind it. This song has heart.

For context, I’ve done life with Mary J. Blige and been vibing out to her since I had a trouser-skirt and a cassette player singing ‘Real Love’ from ‘What’s the 411?’.

This woman has brought be through teenage crushes, a crushed heart and a mended one too, and our history makes me feel particularly close to this single and her upcoming album as a reflection of her recent divorce from her husband of 12 years and music manager Martin ‘Kendu’ Isaacs. Yet whilst this album clearly speaks on love lost, it also talks about love gained, and how it’s never to late to fall back in love with yourself. To echo these more positive sentiments I’ve heard the upcoming album ‘Strength of a Woman’ has a wealth of amazing features from Kanye West to DJ Khaled.

“If you know me, you know what I’m dealing with right now,” she said. “The ‘Thick of It’ is the divorce and all this stuff that’s going on right now. It’s the heaviness of it and the whole thing…That’s where I am. I’m in the middle of a divorce and it doesn’t feel good. It feels terrible, but I have strength to get through and I get through by any means necessary.”

My best bit: If you listen to U+ ME (Love Lessons) all the way through, there’s a beautiful bit at the end (Starts at 4:44). I’m not sure what the musical term for that part of the song is, but it’s almost another song within a song, that sounds so good, I wish it were another song. I have no clear idea of what it’s saying but it starts with “think of just how wonderful you are…” – I just love it.

Her recent interview on The Breakfast Club is both awkward and admirable and I respect how she’s absorbed the tragedy with such grace, class and more importantly is letting her musical talent work for her advantage – because no-one can take away. If you haven’t heard much about Mary’s recent struggle, her interview on the Breakfast Club is a good place to start, anyone whose been through the ‘Thick of it’ can relate!

Three things I learnt from this interview:

  1. You can never be too famous to be manipulated
  2. Your first love and best love will always be first love
  3. As a woman, as a wife, as whoever. Be free first.