Mariah Carey had a ''tough'' childhood.

The 'We Belong Together' star got candid about her younger life as she spoke to campers at her Camp Mariah, which allows young people to explore their interests in classes like film, photography, fashion and arts.

Asked in a Q&A who inspired her, she said: ''I had kind of a tough time growing up with my family and stuff like that, so music was my sole inspiration really. So I kind of didn't have that one person that I said, 'That's who I want to be.' I had to figure it out on my own. So I started working very young, I worked, I did background vocals ... learned about the studio, really put the time in.''

Mariah had previously confessed she still feels like a ''lost child''.

She said: ''Icon? I really don't think of myself in that way. I started making music out of a necessity to survive and to express myself and I just wanted to create something so I could feel worthy of existing, and if I've learned anything - anything at all in this life - it's that truly all things are possible with God. Without getting into all the drama, all the ups and downs of my career ... we've all seen them. We all make mistakes. There's been a few memes. I guess I just always felt like an outsider. Someone who doesn't quite belong anywhere and I still feel like that lost interracial child who had a lot of nerve to believe I could succeed at anything at all in this world, but I did believe because I had to. I dedicated my life to my music, my saving grace.''