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Mary J. Blige on attending the first all-female “She Is the Music” song camp: “This event represents strength for us”


ABC/Craig SjodinMary J. Blige was the headline artist for the first all-female “She Is the Music” song camp held last week in Nashville, and she says it was inspiring to create new music with other women in the music business.

“This event represents strength for us,” the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul tells Rolling Stone. “When we come together as women, when we do something like this, we inspire and uplift each other. We encourage each other. And we encourage other people to do something similar.”

The three-day event at the recording studio owned by veteran producer Ron Fair was deigned to increase opportunities for women in the music industry. Sponsored by the performers’ rights organization ASCAP, it involved female songwriters, producers and engineers who have worked with Beyonce, Rihanna, Childish Gambino, Usher and Chris Brown.

“It’s hard out here in music, and in any business, for women,” Blige adds. “It’s really hard on women, so women are hard on each other. So when you see us come together, it’s like, ‘This is good. This is God.’ To see us come together and write songs and be in the same room and smile and compliment each other is very empowering.”

The nine-time Grammy winner, who began her recording career in 1992, offered advice to the other participants in the song camp.

“Continue to speak your truth,” Blige says. “Continue to write other people’s truth and continue to give other people what it is that they want and they need. Always be flexible and always be true to yourself. You’ll be around if you speak your truth.”

Alicia Keys is among the people who founded the “She Is The Music” program, in response to a report from USC Annenberg that revealed huge inequalities for female musicians.

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