Mary J. Blige feels she owes it to her fans to always be open and honest in her songs.

The 'Family Affair' singer said she sings about her turbulent past - which saw her grow up in a poor New York neighbourhood, overcome being assaulted by a family friend and Battles with drink and drugs - so that her fans can always relate to her and take away a positive message.

She said: "You can't disappoint 10 million people who might feel like you feel; you've got to be an Example for them. You've got to be here saying, 'Don't do it. Don't kill yourself.'

"My responsibility to God is to live. That's the gift he gave me. What I do with it is up to me."

Mary - who has sold over 50 million albums in her career - credits her strong faith in God for helping her overcome the problems in her life without the aid of rehab, and her 2003 marriage to music producer Kendu Isaacs - who she credits with making her finally turn her life around.

She added: "I'm a strong individual. I've been a leader all my life, but didn't know it until it was time to face that.

"My faith in God was all I had. I said, 'If God is there, help me', and he showed me that he was there."

Mary, 39, said she can now trust herself to enjoy alcohol in moderation, but is firmly against going back to drugs.

She added: "I stopped drinking completely for five or six years. And now I'm able to occasionally have some champagne. But no drugs. I'm not doing any cocaine."

Mary's ninth album 'Stronger With Each Tear' is available now, and she is touring through Europe from this week.