Months later, industry experts are still buzzing about The Breakthrough, which has sold more than six million copies worldwide. In December 2006, Mary took home nine Billboard Music Awards and received eight Grammy nominations—more than any other artist that year. "I'm going to watch the Grammys, and I hope you take all eight!" Oprah says.
The queen of hip-hop soul returns to Oprah's stage to give an encore performance of "Be Without You," the most downloaded song of her career.
Mary has been sober since 2001 and is now more successful than ever. What's her secret? Mary says she's taken responsibility for her life. "I can't change the world, so I've got to try to change myself to make life better for me," she says.
Strong faith and a loving husband—record producer Kendu Issacs—have also helped Mary make a "breakthrough." "The breakthrough is the self-love," she says. "I believe that I deserve way more than what I believe I deserved in the past. I believe I'm smart, I'm beautiful, I'm strong, I'm loved, I'm protected."
As a testament to her self-confidence, Mary sings "Take Me As I Am," another hit off her award-winning album. "[This song] sounds like it's a battle cry for women who have lost themselves but then found themselves," Oprah says.
This emerging artist grew up in Leeds, England, and is a melodic mix of her Caribbean dad and English mom. As a child, Corinne studied classical violin before joining an all-girl music group in her teens. Now, at age 27, Corinne has reinvented herself yet again. Corinne showcases her blend of jazz, reggae and soul on her self-titled album, which features the single "Put Your Records On."
Corinne says she wrote the guitar riff for her hit song while sitting in her bedroom. "I just wanted to write a song about not being afraid to be different," she says. "[It's] about finding your identity in music as well."
When Corinne was a teenager, she says she was drawn to many different music styles, including rock 'n' roll, indie rock, jazz and soul. "I love things that just pull on my heart."
"Everything she's done, she's done successfully," Linda says. "She makes right decisions, and I just feel really proud that she's my baby."
"Afterwards I was so overwhelmed," she says. "I started crying and everybody's coming up, [saying], 'What's happened?' [I said], 'I just met Mary J. Blige.' ... That's been one of the most amazing things about this year is getting to meet people who I've really admired."
Corinne says her sudden success still feels very "surreal," but the feeling she gets when she takes the stage has remained the same. "When I'm actually singing the songs it feels amazing, and it feels like it always has," she says. "I love performing gigs."
As a special treat, Corinne performs "Like a Star," one of her most downloaded hits.
One of the music industry's biggest mysteries revolves around Carly and her 1973 Billboard hit song, "You're So Vain." For decades fans have wondered who the song was written about—but Carly's lips are sealed. In fact, the only media member she has told her well-kept secret to is Dick Ebersol, an NBC executive who won a $50,000 auction to hear her muse's name. Oprah says now might be a good time to name names, but Carly just smiles. "Nice try, there," says Carly's daughter, Sally.
When asked why she chose to sing a song by her ex-husband, Carly says it was because he is "one of the great songwriters of all time."
Both Sally and Ben say they have songs by their parents on their iPods. "I put it on shuffle and it's like, 'Does anybody ever sing on your iPod besides your parents?' It gets a little bit embarrassing," Sally says.
Ben says growing up with famous parents gave him perspective on the reality of fame. "We didn't have the illusion of glamour that so many people have when they see it from the outside."
Carly, who also suffers from depression, says she is in a good place now, but in "about five minutes from now, I could be in the worst place in all get-out." She says depression can come upon her in a "burst," and that she tries not to fight the feelings.
"I try to go all the way into it so I can fulfill that expectancy, so I can get all the way out of it. If you tempt yourself by saying, 'No, no, no, I won't go there,' it won't usually end as fast," Carly says.