Celebrity Birthdays, January 11: Cody Simpson, Mary J. Blige

By Marie Blake,

Singers Cody Simpson and Mary J. Blige are celebrating their birthdays today.

Cody Simpson, 17
Australian pop star, Cody Simpson, turns 17 today. Simpson started off by covering songs like "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz, "Cry Me A River" by Justin Timberlake, and "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5, and uploading them to YouTube in 2009. He was then discovered by Grammy nominated record producer, Shawn Campbell, who worked with artists like Jay Z, Missy Elliot, and Chris Brown. Simpson is now signed to Atlantic Records.

His Debut Single "iYiYi", which features Flo Rida, was released in May 2010. In 2011, he recorded a remake of The Strangeloves hit "I Want Candy" for the film Hop. His debut album, Paradise, was released in 2012. He toured Europe both on his own, and with Justin Bieber for the European part of his Believe tour. His second studio album, Surfers Paradise, reached the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, and he released the single "Pretty Brown Eyes".
Simpson has also made appearances on television shows including Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Figure It Out, and Cupcake Wars as a guest judge.

Mary J. Blige, 43

Singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress Mary J. Blige turns 43 today. Blige started out as an Uptown Records background singer in 1989. She released her debut album, What's the 411?, in 1992. Since then she has released 10 studio albums, her most famous being her second album My Life, as well as making over 150 guest appearances on other albums and soundtracks. Blige received 9 Grammy Awards for categories like Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song for "Be Without You," Best R&B Album for The Breakthrough, and Best Gospel Performance for "Never Gonna Break My Faith." Eight of Blige's studio albums have reached multi-platinum status in the United States, and as of 2013, Blige has sold over 50 million albums and 15 million singles.

Blige also made her shift to acting, appearing in films like I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Rock of Ages, Black Nativity, and most recently the Lifetime original movie Betty and Coretta alongside Angela Bassett.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked My Life at number 279 on the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and was also included on Time's list of the 100 Greatest albums of All Time. Blige has eight number one albums on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart, and is also the only artist to have won Grammys in the R&B, Rap, Pop, and Gospel fields.

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