With eight platinum albums, nine Grammys and 50 million records sold, worldwide, Mary J. Blige is one of the greatest soul stars of the past decades. Yet the ‘Queen of Hip-Hop Soul’ only now debuts at the North Sea Jazz Festival. A moment her many fans, as well as the organizers, have been looking forward to. No one is able to capture as much emotion and strength in their voice as Mary J. Blige. The singer was born in 1971 in the Bronx to a nurse and a jazz musician. At the beginning of the nineties, she was one of the first to combine soulful vocals with pumping hip hop beats, a concept that would form the blueprint of contemporary soul and R&B. For her most recent album, The London Sessions, from 2014, Blige travelled to the capital of England, where she went in search of a new sound, collaborating with young stars like Sam Smith, Emeli Sandé, Naughty Boy and Disclosure.