Lady Gaga may be known for her attention-grabbing outfits and elaborate stage persona, but when the pop singer accepted her Rising Star award at Billboard's Women in Music luncheon last Friday (Oct. 2), she was the picture of humility.
"I know that I do talk about ambition and fearlessness," said Gaga, "but at the very simple heart of it, I'm an Italian girl from New York who really wants to make her mom and dad proud."
In fact, Gaga fought back tears while thanking her parents during her acceptance speech for the Rising Star award. As Beyoncé -- who would later accept her award for Woman of the Year -- looked on, Gaga thanked Billboard for "always remembering to highlight my songwriting abilities and that I'm not a newcomer. I think that it's an important moment for new artists...artists that are in the cities just like I was with a piano and an idea and a dream."
Later, NBC's "Today" show co-host Hoda Kotb interviewed the singer about how her family supported her burgeoning music career, even when she was just a teenager known only as Stefani Germanotta. "I was playing at The Bitter End when I was 16 years old," Gaga recalled. "My mom used take me in and she'd say, 'My daughter's too young to be in here, but she is a songwriter and she's very good.'"
Kotb also asked Gaga about the cancellation of her Fame Kills tour with Kanye West and why Gaga had spoken up in defense of West after his hijacking of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the VMAs. "Because everyone makes mistakes, and it's important to forgive one another," Gaga said. It was certainly unfortunate, but he's a good person. I think it's important to stand by your friends."
When asked whether she felt any pressure to keep upstaging herself with more hit songs and dramatic red carpet fashion, Gaga was quick to answer: "Yes. Yes, I do. And I think I can speak for my beautiful Beyoncé here, when I say that she has been one-upping herself for a long time, and she's done a fabulous job."