R&B owes a great debt to Mary J. Blige, who, for a quarter-century, has modified herself very little. She's a long way from ‘round-the-way homegirl who broke through with "Real Love" and sublimated her pain into art on 1995's My Life, an odyssey of heartbreak, confession and strength that became the quintessential R&B record for not only breakups in the '90s but Blige's career. Today she’s like the cool auntie who tells you the world’s secrets without judgment because she's been there before, but the Bronx-born singer can't escape heartache and her ways of channeling it into music. Gifted with a voice that can not only wail like an electric guitar but convey a wide range of emotions, Blige can make you dance, make you cry and make you understand her pains while projecting your own life into songs. "Be Without You," her 2006 hit from The Breakthrough, remains the most popular song in Billboard’s R&B history and her new album, Strength of a Woman, comes on the heels of a messy divorce. Mary's love has been public, both open and scarred. For two hours every night, she lets fans in to share that pain — and help heal in their own ways as well. With Lalah Hathaway.