Here comes some more drama!
Judging from her fiery, no-holds-barred performances (like the one she gave at Paper Magazine's Nightlife Awards 2011 in NYC on Sept. 27) , you wouldn't think Mary J. Blige is the kind of R&B star to still get nervous. But when it comes to playing legendary singer Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic, Blige says she's coming down with a case of straight-up stage fright.
"Nina was different from me in a lot of ways," the Grammy-winning Queen of hip-hop soul tells the October issue of Paper Magazine for a revealing cover story. "She was courageous and confident. I'm just growing into that. But she was like that ever since she was a little girl -- she was never afraid during a period when there was so much racism. She was always bold. I have a lot to draw from -- all the trials and tribulations and battles. But my God, I hope I can do the work and pull it off!"
One thing she's used to by now, though, is returning to the deeply-rooted emotional terrain of her celebrated 1994 classic CD, My Life, on her upcoming disc, My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1), due November 21. "I wanted to make sure everyone understands that this is me taking things to the next level. It's about learning how to live after the drama. Everybody is saying to me, 'You have to be like this person, you have to be like that; you've got to be younger.' I know that doesn't work for me. I just want my fans to be happy about the direction I'm going in. I'm never going to stop doing me."