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June 19, 2015 09:40 AM

She’s no stranger to chart-topping hits and standing ovations for her work, but pop queen Lady Gaga claims writing songs has never been her forte.

The 29-year-old singer gave a candid speech about questioning her songwriting skills and finding her passion in the art after accepting the Contemporary Icon Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 46th Annual Induction and Awards gala on Thursday night in New York City.

The “Bad Romance” artist took the podium after Hall of Fame inductee Linda Perry performed a slowed-down version of Gaga’s 2009 hit, an experience she called “something of a childhood dream.”

“I was thinking while I was sitting there, and my mom was handing me napkins … if they only knew how many bad songs I wrote before that good one,” Gaga said, getting choked up.

“I feel that I have a lot of work to do, as personally, I feel extremely unaccomplished as a songwriter,” she explained. “As my heroes have done some things that I can only dream of, I feel very in my infancy as a writer, and I think you for just … at this point in my career, I’ve had some ups, I’ve had some downs, I’ve had some in-betweens – that you’ve chosen to honor me for the only thing I know I have, which is my heartbeat, which is that I write songs.”

During her remarks, the songstress also thanked some of her icons, including Perry and her longtime friend Tony Bennett, who presented her with the award.

Lady Gaga (left) and Linda Perry
Larry Busacca/Getty

“I’m so grateful because [Tony is] always looking out for me. And I’m very honored that he was here tonight to present this award to me. And I’m very honored that Linda Perry was here, and I consider them to be true and two huge influences in my life that I hope anyone that’s here that a true dream has been made come true because these artists supported another artist, and I’m very grateful that I’m here,” Gaga said.

And earlier in the night, Gaga returned the favor to the singer by belting a crowd-revving performance of Perry’s “What’s Up” to a star-studded audience, which included Stephen Colbert, Toby Keith, Jennifer Nettles, Carly Rae Jepsen and more.

Reporting by JEFF NELSON

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