ESSENCE.com caught up with Blige to get the details on the new project and her favorite holiday traditions and memories. Plus, be the first to hear her brand new holiday album!
ESSENCE.com: Why decide to make a Christmas album now?
MARY J. BLIGE: It's something that someone brought to my attention from the label. It's something I've always wanted to do and I went with it. It's perfect timing.
ESSENCE.com: Were you at all afraid to touch the Christmas classics we've come to admire and really cherish over the years?
BLIGE: No, because my goal was to not completely restructure them, but to give you exactly what we love so much about it. And to give it to you the way I would give it to you. Just a rendition of it. I was definitely not trying to make hip-hop soul Christmas songs or some club music Christmas songs. I'm just like everyone else, I don't like when people take the nostalgia out of the classics. I didn't want to mess up. So I just gave you my version of the Christmas songs.
ESSENCE.com: Do you have a favorite childhood Christmas memory?
BLIGE: I have so many childhood Christmas memories. My sister and I really wanted this doll by the name of Dancerella. We would scream and yell every time we saw it on a commercial. My mom surprised us with it. I was seven years old and that made me really, really happy.
ESSENCE.com: Do you have any childhood traditions you continue with your husband?
BLIGE: The decorating of the Christmas tree—I try do that myself or be a part of it. Also, playing Christmas songs and having my sister make eggnog and sweet potato pie. That part we keep the same.
ESSENCE.com: What's the best non-materialistic gift you've ever received?
BLIGE: Reconnecting with my father. I hadn't seen him for a long time. Our reconnecting was a surprise. I didn't know he was going to be at this particular place and when I got there I got the chance to see my father after 27 years.
Go here to listen to the album: http://www.essence.com/2013/10/08/exclusive-listen-mary-j-bliges-new-christmas-album/?xid=100813
Be Sure to support the Queen and go buy it at your local and/or digital retailers October 15