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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  November 27, 2014 11:30pm-12:01am EST

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good evening from los angeles. i'm tavis smiley. tonight a koconversation with my j. blige with her new album entitled the london sessions. the billboard calls the album superb. we're glad you're joining us for this conversation coming up now.
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♪ ♪ ♪ mary j. blige has nine grammy awards and 31 nominati s nominations. she spent part of this summer in london recording her latest cd entitled appropriately enough, the london sessions. before we start our conversations we start with the making of the london sessions. ♪ ♪ we can't give up to easy
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♪ >> what's up london. how are you doing? it's mary j. blige in the house. [ applause ] ♪ ♪ >> the people love you in london and there ain't nothing you can do about it. >> i love london. >> yeah, i mean, it's one of my favorite places. has always been. >> why one of your favorite places? >> well, because, i mean, they embrace the artists. they love the artists and they love sole music. there's so much freedom. >> when you say freedom do you
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mean freedom artistically? >> tell me more. >> well, just what you said now. they appreciate what we throw away. soul music. it seems like we've been getting it away from it here and letting other stuff in where there, not just the old people are gravi gravitating toward soul music like sam smith, amy winehouse and adele. they've been inspire bd by soul music and they have always loved soul music over there. that's why i was feeling that if i can't be me, mary j. blige, a soul singer. what am i going to do? that's my reason for going over there because i was feeling so stagnant and stuck and not being
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able to do what i wanted to do. i went over there to express myself as an artist. >> you mentioned amy winehouse. obviously a tragic story but what did you think of her artistry? >> thought she was one of the most amazing gifts from god. she was honest. they tried to make me go to rehab. she wasn't afraid to express herself. when i heard that album, she inspired me. i was like gosh, that's what i am supposed to be doing. she inspired me, mary, you can do this or the label says or this is the hot girl. we're going to get to write a
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song. >> when you said rehab, my mind went to therapy. that's why i love you mary. you're always in my spirit, i try to get in yours. when i heard that track -- the whole album is a mazing but tell me about therapy. >> sam smith, the way he's singing it. the melodies, he made it sound fun to do therapy. not to speak of it lightly but therapy can be anything. you could listen to a mary j.
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blige album and have it be therapy. people have so many different ways. some people work out or ice cream or shopping or shoes or clothes and design a home. whatever toss get it out and help you be happy. >> since you've always been so honest. i know what my therapy has been. what has been yours over the years. >> mine has been prayer and meditating by myself and looking at the ugly truth and not killing myself over it but learn how to be strong in it and not be so hard on myself. >> yeah. >> for me it has been quiet time. meditating. a lot of self -- >> i read, before this project
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even came out, i read somewhere you said this is the purest project you've ever done. what did you mean when you said the purest album you've ever don done:people are a. people are getting a chance to hear my voice, my spirit. it's pure. >> it's uncut. >> no distractions. it really is incut. >> how does one. >> you're still young. >> how does one be pure with their voice when you have so many other options.
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why take the risk to put it out in this way? you're not 22 anymore. >> if i don't sing perfect, i'm cool with that now. i'm just not going to do a bad job. if my vocals are crack, that's what it is at the moment. i should be able to accept what i have. >> people love the project. i know you're comfortable with it. what did you make of it when you hear your voice on a project like this now. >> what i love about it, because i've accepted it, i can hear the anointing on it. >> i can literally pitch perfect
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and it's not super clean. >> can hear what god has given me. that's how i feel about it right now. >> i'm going to follow you on this. i felt that thing. i'm going to stay with you. have you been able to figure out why this gift was given to you? >> well, i don't want to guess but i think it's to heal. it's to heal. to go through all of the hell, heal. speak about it and heal. that's what i believe. >> i could take that to mean -- my word not yours, you're going
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to be stuck being transparent, telling your the rest of your life. >> well, i will tell you what i want to tell you. as you grow, you start to understand what you can give and what you can't. you can't be a fool and give everything. you no when peopleed to know wh to share. >> i ask that because this is not the departure but there's there's a kind of truth. there's a truth in the delivery and message of healing people. that truth is still there but it's a different kind of truth. i'm just trying to figure out whether or not -- or why it is
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you think your fans are ready for this departure from mary? >> well, because we've had enough of beating ourselves down and being -- you know. we say we weren't the victim but we were consistently the victim. i'm at a plate where i love myself. for whatever that is even if i look at myself one day and say i don't like the way i look. i've accepted myself. it is what it is. you know? that's where i'm at with it right now and my fans are able accept it because i've reached a point that i will no longer destroy myself. i will no longer take a compliment with my head up.
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>> you look good, mary. >> this is a process where we learn and grow and understand the king and queens that we are. that takes courage to say that i am more than what i believed i was for a long time. >> let's talk about that song therapy. when i listen to a project a lot of times i get stuck there on one or two things. i remember hearing something, y'all better notballads.
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i read somewhere don't you cut my ballads. tuesday me about the project. >> well. it was fun. ten days of writing and ten days of recording. it was brutal. it was fun. they wrote it fun. do do down. people were airing out their business. we created something great because we were comfortable. >> yeah. there's 12 tracks on the album, was there tension? maybe that's too strong a word. did these tracks come easy or
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was theit natural. >> no. there were two that were duds. >> i am going to say i'm mary's biggest fan. we can fight about that but when you say something is a dud what do you mean it's a dud? >> it's just not a strong enough record. if i don't get it, people are not going to get it. it went nowhere. when it doesn't go anywhere, it doesn't move you, it's a dud. >> okay. so one was a dud. what happened to the other one? >> one, you'll hear it t. we didn't want to make it. i wasn't sure. i thought i said too much
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lyrically. when i heard it back, i didn't think so. it's called i can't say. every time the words were to come out of my mouth, it didn't fit with the color an concept of the album. >> since you raised this concept, what is this, about with tweeting. sometimes things are tyjust sai. now i type it. look at it. look at it again.
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sometimes i push send. sometimes i push cancel. i know what i mean. sometimes i will catch a lot of it. i wonder, when you were talking about song writing, you cross something out and think about not wanting to say that. because if it makes me feel weird, it will make someone else feel weird. >> i have all of your stuff. i have never gotten the feeling that you've cowritten everything on the project. >> what project would compare to the amount of writing you did.
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would it be are are. >> when i co-wrote the album, i learned that i'm supposed to write. even when it comes to me written, i have to change it to see what work or make it work for me. if they are strong songs and relate to me and the world, yes,
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i could relate it. >> not right now. it's all about the london sessions. >> not right now. later. i will put you spotlight that you find yourself going back to. >> yes. i always go back to many. >> have you seen stevie? >> no. >> i don't know long you -- stevie is on tour. the entire show is in the key
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live top to bottom: >> i was five when i heard that. it means as much then as it is no now. >> anita bakers rapture album. >> what do you make it of this explosion of brilitish talent o the world scene. >> i think it's great. the brisht have betish have bees for a long time we've b ngot
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great people. they have that thing that makes people want to go to a concert. they have feeling. they may not be marvin gay or george redding. you can feel michael. that's why. they just have it. i don't know if it's something in the water. >> fish it and tips. >> you're still looking good. >> gliext will i was in this co
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recently about the fact, white guy -- the fact that in many ways, black people have surrendered blues. in many ways, black people can make the argument that we've surrendered jazz. you haven't said but is there any way fearful or is there any trepidation about whether we're going to surrender soul too. >> at one point i was. i have to give sam credit. when you have sam credit. . when you hear it, there is some hope.
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you have great singers. miguel. miguel is another one. these young men, they know something. they negave me hope. i was a little worried about it, yeah. >> you and i have talked so many times over the years. i've lost track but are you starting at all to feel -- you're still young and fine, everybody can see that. are you starting to feel like you're the professor now? i'm trying to think of a nice word. i don't want to call you old. >> veteran. i don't want to p sfwnl.
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>> you have to keep your mind open and respect what is new and inspiring to the new generation. you can cross over what is great for you. you have a lot of kids out there who enjoy their mom's music. >> you don't feel old yet? >> i am my mom's children. i don't old because other generation is doing a lot of things. >> what do you got coming next.
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movies, fashion? >> there's some stuff coming moviewise. something really great. >> that you can't talk about now. >> but when it's time i will come back. it's all yours. >> you're always welcome to come back. the new project from mary j. blige is called the london sessions. all kinds of folks on here. as i mentioned early been an explosion of these great acts and artists all of the u.k. and spent a month or so and did this project. it's called the london sessions. mary, i love you. come back any type. >> thank you tavis. >> that's our show tonight. as always, keep the faith.
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join me next time for a conversation with the tony winner about her new cd coming home. that's next time. we will see you then. erertz tes
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>> charlie: welcome to the program. tonight the future of the automobile industry with carlos ghosn, the c.e.o. of renault-nissan alliance. >> in 1999, i arrived in japan and had to face the turnaround of nissan. the fact i was not japanese, the fact i was a recent comer to the car industry3helped me a lot because, you know, i had no paradigms in mind, i didn't have any preconceived idea. people knew i was not involved in the past of the industry, so i engaged in a lot of transformation without pryer baggage. >> charlie: we conclude with norman lear who produced all in the family and other great sitcom hits. >> comedy is all a reflection. it sounds like i knew what the hell i was


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