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After Almost Quitting Music, Lady Gaga Is Billboard’s Woman of the Year

Lady Gaga. Queen of the outrageous costume (obviously the most important part of her womanhood). Champion of the three year consecutive Billboard number 1 album. One of the best selling artists of all-time, joining the ranks of other female power houses including The Spice Girls, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. The creative mind behind this 2006 NYU performance. Striking Countess on FX’s 5th installation of American Horror Story: Hotel. And now Billboard‘s Woman of the Year.

In her interview for Billboard‘s cover story–reminiscent of a talk she gave for Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence–Gaga reveals she almost quit music. If anything can be gleaned from having seen Gaga on a stage of any kind, she has a genuine passion for performing, for producing, for making art for the sake of it. The popstar, who almost quit entirely, was turned into a product for the sake of a buck:

You can’t sell your soul once you make it. It’s a big mistake to just go after the money to try to stay on top. I think that’s what everyone wanted me to do. But I’m a different kind of girl, and when being different is not in style it’s hard for me to function. People think, ‘You can just sit down at a piano whenever you want and write,’ but I couldn’t write for two f—ing years.

Her 2013 Artpop album did not boast the same sales as her previous hits, The Fame (2008) and Born This Way (2013). Her pain is shown. Her dwindling passion is represented.

For Artpop, I was doing beats instead. I didn’t want to be near that damn [piano]. It was too emotional. I would start to play and sing, and my mind would go, ‘You are way too talented for this shit. F—, your voice sounds good. F—, that’s a beautiful chord. F—, that’s an amazing lyric. Why are you letting these people run you into the ground? When did you become the fashionable robot?’

Following her near-flop, this Lady Gaga-Gwen Stefani hybrid released a collaborative jazz album, Cheek to Cheek, with none other than Tony Bennett. A voice like butter. A man that confuses all of your perceptions–do I wanna fuck him? Or do I want him to be my grandfather?

Regardless of my obvious confusion and Tony Bennett, he saved Gaga. He brought her back to life, realizing that she was born to sing with him:

There is nobody more badass than Tony Bennett. That man is a part of the history of music in a way that is extremely powerful, and he taught me to stay true to who I am, to not let anybody exploit me. He is responsible in so many ways for making me happy.

Since the release, we have seen much more mild versions of Gaga on the stage and screen. In her 2015 Oscar tribute to Julie Andrews, we see a refined, talented and no-less elegant woman belting on stage the way she was born to.

Her talent is to be praised (achievements including 12 Guinness World Records, six Grammy Awards, a place in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, female Forbes highest earner, 2013 Time‘s Most Influential People of the Decade), but the woman is more than her theatrics and musical accolades. Founder of the Born This Way Foundation, Gaga strives to achieve the mission of “supporting the wellness of young people, and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world.”

Focusing on real people, Gaga is committed to LGBTQ alliance and HIV/AIDS prevention.

[Ed. note: Previously, Andrea Bocelli was listed among the women. That has been changed.]

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Andrea Bocelli is a man.

The Blemish
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Oops. I’ll let her know. Missed that when editing.

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