Exclusive Q&A: Mary J. Blige on My Life, Her New Fragrance

We recently caught up with Mary J. Blige a few hours before she hit HSN screens to launch her first fragrance, My Life (available exclusively on HSN). Here's what she had to say on the name, the notes, and what's next.

First things first
when did you decide to launch a fragrance? And how long have you been working on this?
2 years!

Why lunch a fragrance? Why now?
It seemed to have come at the right time because I had found a fragrance that I was happy with, and when I find something great I stick to it. So many women were coming up to me and asking, “Mary, what are you wearing?” That is why I’m doing it because so many women were supportive. Just like my whole entire movement, when women are supportive, I give up the secret.

What’s your most memorable fragrance moment?
I actually didn’t have a signature scent; I was a tomboy for a very long time and my very first fragrance experience nightmare came from my school teachers and how strong their perfume was, so I was like, I really don’t want to ever have to deal with a fragrance. And then when I became a teenager, one of my friends started wearing [a scent] that she loved and I was like, “I hate that smell,” and so that’s why it became so mandatory for me to find something that works for my body and that goes with my personality. Anything I’m going to wear or put my name on, it has to be believable to me.

Describe the scent in three words.
Soft, edgy, smart.

Why would you say it’s smart?
Because there’s nothing in it that confuses you. You know it’s a part of me. You know when you walk out of the door, you just know that everyone is gonna love what you have on.

What are your favorite notes in the fragrance?
Surprisingly, it’s the tuberose and the jasmine and the gardenia, all of the flowers!

So why did you name it My Life? What’s the connection between your second album and this fragrance?
Well, the connection between my second album and this fragrance, is that the connection between the women. Men are not gonna wear this and when I reached out to everyone on the My Life album, four million of those women responded and four million of those women are who I want to share something so personal with which I shared nothing but personal with back then so you know it all goes hand in hand with who I love and I love my fans, and I love women and they love me and you know, we made history together and it was the beginning of our bond, it was the beginning of us speaking and talking to each other in My Life album.

How involved were you in the creation process? We know you partnered with Firmenich and Carol's Daughter…
Well Firmenich came from the Lisa Price connect, because you know Lisa Price has been educating me on everything and she walked me in and we got busy you know! I’ve learned a lot. I was 100% involved in everything.

And how does it feel to join the legions of celebrities who have a scent?
It's great, but to be a celebrity that has had something to do with the scent is everything, and that really makes me feel good. Anything I put my name up against, I have to be 100% involved because I don’t want people to walk away with something and it’s awful and then my name is on it. I just feel good that I’m a celebrity that really put my heart into it.

Speaking of your heart, how will this fragrance impact your charity FFAWN (Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now)?
This fragrance is going to impact FFAWN through the sales. A dollar for each sale will go to [support] the education of women going to college fund.

So you’ve done sunglasses recently and a fragrance, what’s next for the MJB brand?
I don’t know! I’m about to shoot this movie in September, and I’m definitely gonna do another record. This thing just keeps going; we’re already on to our next fragrance and we’re already on to our next eyeglass line so I’m gonna be in business with this for a while.
[Editor's Note: We hear that the next MJB scent will be a bit sportier, kind of like the MJB we knew during her What's the 411 days…]

And you’re learning French for the Nina Simone biopic; how far have you gotten?
Well, the singing part of learning French is easy because I’m a singer, but the speaking part of learning French is hard. I’m still learning, but once I get it you’ll hear it. I’ll actually be speaking it.