Since her entry into the music industry in the early 90s, Mary J. Blige has crafted lyrics about private struggles (i.e. drug abuse, unhealthy relationships). And though those days of self-deprecation are long behind her, it was the same tough themes that drew her to the upcoming Lions Gate film, "Precious," which she co-produced and for which she performs the song "I Can See In Color."
Video above: Mary J. Blige talks to Billboard's Bill Werde about making music for "Precious."
"[Director] Lee Daniels wanted me to get involved with this film. I saw the movie and I was like, 'why wouldn't I want to be involved? Why wouldn't I want to do a song for this film?'" Blige told Billboard on-camera during the Billboard/ Hollywood Reporter Film and TV Music conference last week. "I didn't have lyrics as far as writing, but I saw the film and I was able to relate automatically because I've lived some of that girl's life and I know people who have lived most of her life."
"Precious," starring Mo'nique and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, is an adaptation of the book "Push" by Sapphire. The heartbreaking tale is about a 16-year-old girl who faces illiteracy, rape, domestic abuse, incest and weight issues, among other unfortunate things.
"My first impression of the film was that it was going to shock a lot of people. It's a very powerful film," Blige said.
"I've been coming from a personal place ever since I spoke on the 'My Life' album. But we never look back into the why -- why is all this happening to us? And that is what 'Precious' is about," Blige continued. "Getting that song out, I had to dig back into the 'why,' and digging back into the why is what hurts the most."