Mary J. Blige has overcome "hating" herself to promote a more positive message with her music.

The 'No More Drama' singer went through a dark period in her younger life which she expressed in her 1994 album, 'My Life', which she is now following up with a more optimistic second chapter to reward her fans for joining her on a Journey to overcome their demons.

She told 'BBC breakfast': "I was abused as a child and it caused me to go into substance abuse and I had no love for myself because of the guilt and shame that came with that, so maybe I just started into hating myself and not loving myself and it snowballed into this thing that was bigger than me.

"And four million of those people are my fans right now, so I think it's important to do a sequel to the 'My Life' album, because we need to be reminded how far we've come because we were in such a dark, suicidal place where we really needed help and we have grown tremendously, understanding that we have to love ourselves."

Mary - whose new album is called 'My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1)' - also warned the first step for anyone who's trying to turn their life around after hitting a negative patch is to start with themselves.

She said: "I mean you know, to make a negative situation and turn it positive, it's what I did, it's what so many young women or men are going through right now, it's hard but what can you do, other than take the situation and turn it positive?

"But you can't do it alone, it's spiritual. And that's what I did, I chose life over death, in spite of the hard times I was having.

"My wanting to get help when I said, 'no more drama' was a decision I made, I chose life, and when I chose life people came to me with help."