"I remember looking up to people like Mariah Carey. I identified with her in so many ways. She was bi-racial, she was also young and I remember just hearing her story and really being connected to it.
"Now, I moved to America and I started listening to pop music and rock music and all these other bands [and] artists that I never knew about from the '80s, the '70s.
"I draw inspiration from everything, even if it's weird, there's always something you can find. The weirdest things are sometimes the coolest,” Rihanna told DeGeneres.
Carey, who is both black and white, released her debut album in 1990, at the age of 20. Rihanna, 24, will release her seventh album in seven years on Nov. 19.
After appearing on Ellen DeGeneres, Rihanna kicked off her "777" tour, which will take her to seven countries in seven days as she promotes her latest album, "Unapologetic.”
The tour began on Wednesday, as she boarded a private Boeing 777, the world’s largest twinjet, along with a select group of journalists. Her first stop was Mexico City, from there she will continue to Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London and finally New York.
After her Mexico City concert on Wednesday, Rihanna tweeted, "Thank you Mexico! I love u! #1 down, 6 more to go!!! Country number two, Canada! Toronto here we come #777tour #HTC."
"I am so excited about the 777 Tour," Rihanna said on her official website. "We are turning this jumbo jet into our tour bus. We're practically living on this thing for a week: sleeping, partying, all together. Me, my fans, the press ... it's going to be a wild ride. I wanted it to be a rock n' roll adventure, and I think when it's over it will be the coolest thing I've ever done. I'm that excited about it."