Mariah Carey says “nothing comes close” to changing people’s lives with her music.

The singer has sold over 200 million records around the world and has been unveiled as a judge on American Idol.

Her career was celebrated at the BMI Urban Awards on Friday, where she received the BMI Icon prize. It meant a great deal to the star.

“When someone comes up to me and says, 'You changed my life with this song,' and I know that I wrote that song from my own experience, there's nothing that comes close to that,” she told ET Online.

Stars including Jermaine Dupri and Eric Benét paid tribute to Mariah by performing her tracks at the Beverly Hills event. Others to have received the prestigious gongs include Dolly Parton, The Bee Gees and Al Green.

Mariah feels glad that people have realised how much work she puts into her records.

“This is a huge and very important deal for me,” she said. “I'm a songwriter first and foremost. That's how I view myself and a lot of people don't realise that I write my own material and I always have and that it's been one of the most important things to me.”

Mariah and her husband Nick Cannon have 16-month-old twins Moroccan and Monroe. Becoming a mother has changed the star entirely, as fans will hear when they listen to her upcoming release.

“I don’t want to go into too much detail but I'm living for this new ballad that I just wrote,” she explained. “I'm working on it every day… something different. The babies are inspiring many moments of different types of songs and stuff.”