10 Singers Directly Influenced By Mary J. Blige: Beyoncé, Monica, And More

In honor of the Queen’s 53rd birthday, take a look at these singers who’ve been inspired by her reign.

The title of “Queen” within music has been bestowed upon many an icon, ranging from the late Queen of Rock ‘N Roll, Tina Turner, to “Queen Bey” herself, Beyoncé.

When it comes to Mary J. Blige, her reign as the Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul holds particular significance to today’s musical landscape, as her style of blending hard-hitting, Hip-Hop beats with yearning, soulful vocals went on to influence an entire generation of singers — including Bey — inspired by her style, swag and passionate performances.

In honor of her 53rd birthday, VIBE recognizes Blige as a foremother of modern R&B, highlighting the superstars, fan faves, and vocal powerhouses who drew inspiration from her vast discography, ranging from 1992’s What’s The 411? to 2022’s Good Morning Gorgeous.

Check out these singers directly influenced by Mary J. Blige below.

Beyoncé

Beyoncé has been vocal about the many women in entertainment who’ve influenced her own artistry, including Mary J.Blige. The superstar once described the Yonkers-bred diva as possessing, “this strength and this light” that translates into her music.

She went on, “You see her pain, you see what she’s been through, and she makes you remember when you’ve been through that, and sounds good doing it.”

During another sit-down, Mary was the first person to come to mind when Bey was directly asked “Who inspires you?” She’s also done countless covers of Blige’s rendition of “I’m Going Down” and offered up their duet, “Love A Woman”, to the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul for 2011 album, My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1).

Monica
Monica has praised Mary J. Blige as a primary influence for much of her career, honoring Blige in 2009 during the ESSENCE Awards and again in 2010 for BET Honors.

While playing “Song Association” with Elle Magazine back in 2021, Monica shared her desire to collaborate with the legend, saying, “My dream collaboration would absolutely be my sister, my friend Mary J. Blige.

“Still the Queen of [Hip-Hop Soul], point blank period. She has been so influential personally that professionally I think it would be easy for us. I don’t know who would write and produce the perfect song for she and I but one of my favorite songs by her, because I have many, is ‘Not Gon’ Cry’. You gotta get to a space where you know when you can’t even do it. It’s time to roll.”

Keyshia Cole

Keyshia Cole has been described by many as Blige’s closest vocal successor, not to mention their shared gift of crafting passionate records often centering on heartbreak. Because of this, the Bay Area native has been asked countless times about the comparisons and early career expectations of her becoming “the next Mary J. Blige.”

“I love Mary, she is so powerful,” Cole shared on The Tyra Banks Show back in 2007. “She’s a wonderful figure to be like. For people to compare me to her, I definitely think that’s strength. But yeah, I don’t know if I’m the next Mary.”