Missy Elliott's family told her to join the army.

The 48-year-old star knew she wanted to be a singer from a young age and though her dream sometimes felt ''impossible'', she never listened to urges to set her sights on something else.

She told the new issue of America's Marie Claire magazine: ''Trust me, I was broke. And my family would be like, 'You better find something to do.' They told me to go in the army. I'm like, 'I'm too fat to go in the army. Where I am running to?'

''Everything just seemed so impossible at the time because we didn't have the technology to be able to reach out and put your stuff online and people get a chance to see it. So you have to be at the right place at the right time.''

Missy was 14 when her mother left her father after being physically abused by him and the 'Get Ur Freak On' always promised to look after her mom when she found success.

She said: ''I told my mother, 'I'm going to buy you a house, and I'm going to buy you an elevator in case your legs start hurting.' And she would laugh and be like, 'All right, okay.'

''But when I got my first cheque, I didn't even buy myself a house first. I bought my mother a house. Put a Bible in the soil and built it from the ground up.''

Missy hopes she's been able to inspire other people but doesn't want them to just copy others to gain attention.

She said: ''Whenever God decides to call, I want to have that legacy of being able, not just music or videos that people thought were great.

''Mary [J. Blige], Faith [Evans], Puff [Sean Combs], all of them taught me so many things. I want to be that person that people say, 'Hey, Missy said she did it like this.' If a billionaire told me they read 400 books to become a billionaire, I'm going, 'Where is the Barnes & Noble at? Let me get 400 books.'

''And just giving wisdom, because that blessing don't come for you, like my grandma said, to keep it for yourself. It is to share. And hopefully I have done that. I do want to make the generation behind feel like, don't be afraid, because we are in a time where so many people can be artists.

''Now you can just post up, and if it gets to the right person, then it's just viral. I want to be able to encourage those who don't go viral....A lot of people out there that have 452 or 100 followers may be talented. I want them to not feel like they have to do what everybody else is doing to gain that attention. Just be you. It's going to catch hold somewhere.''