Since breaking into the industry with her signature voice and songs of love and heartbreak, Keyshia Cole has often been compared to or described as a direct musical descendant of Mary J. Blige. With that in mind, it should be a no-brainer for the two artists to collaborate, right?
Wrong. While Keyshia has always been hopeful about the two doing a song together, she shared that Mary, in an unshady way, is just not with it.
That information was revealed during a recent interview Keyshia did with Hollywood Unlocked host Jason Lee on Instagram Live. A fan asked if there was one person she would absolutely love to interview on her Fox Soul program One on One with Keyshia Cole, and she shared that it would be Mary. When Jason asked why it hadn’t happened yet, Keyshia broke into a story about how hard it is to wrangle the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul for most things.
“I ain’t gonna lie. I was so happy Mary even let me open up for her at a show that she had in Miami,” she said. “I’ve been asking Mary for years and years to do a record, because the fans want to hear it and it would have been amazing to do something like that at the height of my career and at the height of her career. That would have been super amazing, I felt like.”
The last time she ran the idea across Mary, which was allegedly a couple of years ago, the “Family Affair” singer didn’t say yes or no.
“I asked her this last time and she said, ‘I don’t…I don’t know.’ And I was just like…’hmm?'”
“She said, ‘Don’t you prefer me to be honest with you about it?’ I said, that’s true. ‘Cause at least she didn’t lead me on and tell me probably. Even though probably is better than no [laughs],” she joked.
Despite the fact that Mary chooses not to collaborate with her, these days, Keyshia has nothing but love and admirable things to say about the superstar.
“So much strength follows Mary,” she said. “She’s left things so high in what to follow, so I feel like everything that she’s done in her career, if I touch any of it, is a blessing.”
This is a stark contrast to how Keyshia previously felt about her relationship with Mary. She said back in 2012 that she wished the star she’d looked up to for so long would have been something of a mentor and embraced her.
“I’m very happy to have been compared to such a wonderful woman, a strong woman,” she said at the time. “The only thing that I would’ve changed, that I am now here to do for those that come after me, is to lend a helping hand. I feel that even if it’s not me saying I’m gonna record with you, I’m gonna work with you or let’s go hang out or anything like that. We don’t have to be friends, but at the end of the day, being able to give advice or help somebody that is coming under you is an amazing gift to be able to have. I wish I would have had that from Mary, but I’m not Mary. I’m a different person and if K. Michelle ever call me or anybody for that matter, for advice, I would absolutely give it to them.”
But before you assume Mary doesn’t like working with other women, let the record show that she’s collaborated with a number of other women over the years. Hit the flip to see some of the songs that came out of the many times she’s worked with other musical divas.
“I Can Love You” feat. Lil Kim
From the minute the song comes on, you know a dance party is about to happen. The song was written for Mary’s third album, Share My World, in 1996 and features some of Lil Kim’s most memorable lyrics.