Mary J. Blige on 'Empire,' music and not taking those cookies

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Mary J. Blige Talks About "The London Sessions"

By DONNA FREYDKIN

All hail the queen, clad in leather culottes and Giuseppe Zanotti gold heels. Mary J. Blige, ultra-glam, catches us up on her life.

She's working on new music, and yes, she types up lyrics on her iPhone: "We're in the early stages of creating. I'm writing down ideas, words. I wake up in the middle of the night and type if something comes to me. I can't see without my glasses -- you should take that out! When I read it back, some of it is, 'That's pretty deep.'"

She's going deep: "I have to go to where I am. I'm in a stage where I am a very strong and an appreciative person of my life. Not vainly, but how much I treasure my life and what got me here. When you're breaking down and having those low moments, you have to build yourself back up."

She's on a five-week diet, which stops her from indulging in gravy, cheese and other goodies: "Right now, I'm not into anything bad for me. But I'm a dairy person. I'm a fried food person. I'm a sweet, sugar, cake ice cream -- I'm bad."

And she's on the second season of Empire, which premieres Sept. 23 on FOX, about which she can reveal not one thing, lest she invoke the wrath of Cookie Lyon: "Nothing. You have to watch. It's very good. I can't give you anything. I'm not going to do that to Lee Daniels. Everyone really cares about everyone. If you come along and you're a guest, they treat you so nice."

Between The Perfect Guy, Empire and Straight Outta Compton, Blige is deeply aware and supportive of Hollywood's seeming willingness to release things that aren't totally white: "One hundred percent, I think we're definitely entering into an era of more diverse entertainment. We need that."

A look back at the luxe Lyon clan.

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Mary J. Blige on 'Empire,' music and not taking those cookies
EMPIRE: Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) shows up at Empire in the 'Outspoken King' episode of EMPIRE airing Monday, Jan. 14, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Jamal (Jussie Smollett, L) records at a 'ghetto' studio in the 'Dangerous Bonds' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard, R) protects Anika in the 'False Imposition' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 06: Jussie Smollett arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Empire' held at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on January 6, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
EMPIRE: Michael (guest star Rafael de la Fuente, L), Jamal (Jussie Smollett, C) and Porsha (guest star Ta'Rhonda Jones, R) wait for Cookie to arrive in the 'Out Damned Spot' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) holds a secret in the 'Out Damned Spot' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) gives Hakeem some advice in the 'False Imposition' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Gladys Knight performs as herself at Bunkie's funeral in the 'Devil Quotes Scripture' episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Anika (Grace Gealey, L) runs into Porsha (guest star Ta'Rhonda Jones, R) in the 'Out Damned Spot' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Anika (Grace Gealey, L), Lucious (Terrence Howard, C) listen to Hakeem's (Bryshere Gray, R) new song in the 'Out Damned Spot' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard) delivers a eulogy for Bunkie in the 'Devil Quotes Scripture' episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Cookie (Taraji P. Henson, L) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett, R) pay their respects to Bunkie in the 'Devil Quotes Scripture' episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Hakeem (Bryshere Gray, L) and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson, R) chat in the 'Out Damned Spot' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is upset in the 'Dangerous Bonds' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: In a Flashback episode, Lucious (Terrence Howard) rehearses at home in the 'False Imposition' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Hakeem (Bryshere Gray, R) introduces his new girlfriend Tiana (guest star Serayah McNeill, L) in the 'Devil Quotes Scripture' episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) visits an old friend in the 'Devil Quotes Scripture' episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Andre (Trai Byers, L) and Hakeem (Bryshere Gray, R) have a conversation in the 'Devil Quotes Scripture' episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard) toasts his family in the 'Devil Quotes Scripture' episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Pictured L-R: Jussie Smollett, Serayah McNeill, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Grace Gealey, Terrence Howard, Trai Byers and Kaitlin Doubleday. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard, C) surprises Anika (Grace Gealey, R) with a performance from Anthony Hamilton (guest star) in the 'Dangerous Bonds' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Anika (Grace Gealey) watches a performance in the 'Devil Quotes Scripture' episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Andre (Trai Byers, L) and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson, R) chat in the 'Dangerous Bonds' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Anika (Grace Gealey, L) and Lucious (Terrence Howard, R) have a chat in the 'False Imposition' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard, R) talks to Hakeem (Bryshere Gray, L) in the 'False Imposition' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Michael (guest star Rafael de la Fuente, L), Jamal (Jussie Smollett, C) and Porsha (guest star Ta'Rhonda Jones, R) wait for Cookie to arrive in the 'Out Damned Spot' episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
EMPIRE: Hakeem (Bryshere Gray, R) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett, L) perform in the 'Outspoken King' episode of EMPIRE airing Monday, Jan. 14, 2015 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
Marisa Tomei arrives at the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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