Lady GagaBillboard's Woman of the Year, has said that the honor parallels a sense of sureness she's developed in herself — but only a year ago she was ready to throw in the towel.

Gaga, the magazine's cover feature, says the experience of recording 2013's Artpop—which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 but was still considered underwhelming sales-wise—knocked her off balance in the industry, and led to doubt.

"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," she said. "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 s---. 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?’ Can’t being an artist be enough? Is talent ever the thing?"

But after an acclaimed performance at the Oscars, a revered album crafted beside Tony Bennett and a dark dream role in American Horror Story, she said she's back in her own captain's seat, and is ready to charge into her life's next chapter: turning 30.

"I want to show women they don’t need to try to keep up with the 19-year-olds and the 21-year-olds in order to have a hit," she shared. "Women in music, they feel like they need to f------ sell everything to be a star. It’s so sad. I want to explode as I go into my 30s."

The catalyst to those types of fireworks? Learning to make smart choices, and trusting your instincts, Gaga explained.

"Once you start being mindful and really going, ‘Do I actually want that?,’ you start to feel empowered and you find your value," she said. "I love being the annoying girl. I was a theater kid. I was in jazz band. I went to the Renaissance Faire. I was that girl who got made fun of, that nerdy girl. I believe in that girl."

But it's the annoying girl, Gaga insisted, that will always be capable of great things. That is, unless she's not given a chance to spread her wings.

"Kids become depressed when they are born with a creative instinct but are not taught how to express it," she offered. "Can you imagine having to come and someone says, ‘I’m so sorry, but you can never ejaculate in this life’? If you don’t teach someone how to release that energy, it gets blocked up, and it’s painful. Kids need to learn how to express who they are and seek value in it."

Be sure to read the full interview, and share your thoughts!

Look back at your favorite celebs' yearbook photos: