Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand made a surprise confession about her career during candid Q&A session at the Tribeca Film Festival 2017Reuters

Barbra Streisand may have one of the most recognisable singing voices on the planet that has seen her win 10 Grammy Awards however she has revealed that music had originally only been a back-up plan.

Furthermore, the 75-year-old – who has won two Oscars for her acting to-date – says she considers herself "an actress first".

Speaking at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York over the weekend, she said: "I would say I'm an actress first, only because I started singing because I couldn't get a job as an actress, and I started directing because I couldn't be heard as an actress."

While filming the 1968 movie Funny Girl, which earned Streisand her first Academy Award, there were reports that she didn't get on with director William Wyler.

However, she insisted that was not true, saying: "I learned to despise the media [working on that movie]. Every time I had a suggestion [on set] it was put in the paper like we were fighting; Opinions weren't popular in the '60s with women."

Fifteen years later in 1983, she debuted as a director with the musical drama Yentl in which she also portrayed a Jewish girl who is forced to pass herself off as a man to pursue her dreams.

This effort garnered mostly positive reviews and she has since directed as well as starred in a number of titles over the years.

Drawn on the reason behind this, the Brooklyn native explained: "I directed because I couldn't be heard. [When you're the director and star] there's less people to argue with."

The number of female directors in Hollywood remains considerably low, Streisand – who is believed to be currently working on a big screen depiction of the tumultuous love affair between photographer Margaret Bourke-White and novelist Erskine Caldwell – wants more women to take on the roles.

She said: "Not enough women are directing now. I love when I see a woman's name on a movie and I pray it's good."