A tearful Hayley Kiyoko accepted her Rising Star award at Billboard‘s 13th annual Women in Music ceremony at New York’s Pier 36 on Thursday (Dec. 6). The singer showcased her slick choreography during a performance of “Curious” before receiving the honor.
“I’m going to be crying this whole time — it’s the first time I’ve accepted an award on stage,” Kiyoko said before breaking into tears. The crowd, which included Ariana Grande, Cyndi Lauper and Patti LaBelle comforted her with applause.
She continued: “I was crying right before I went on stage and I was going to say in my speech: No one wants to be brave. We’re all terrified. And I’m very grateful for my fans because of their overwhelming support and faith in me. I found my purpose in life and the ability to embrace my truth.”
Hayley’s speech wasn’t entirely emotional; she got a few jokes in as well. “My mom told me that you’re only a rising star once and then after that, you’re old news. I’m really going to take in this moment because this is it for me,” she said to laughs before thanking her family and her team of “extremely boss women.”
Kiyoko ended her speech by saying, “I just want to say that necessity is the mother of innovation. I’m the artist that I am out of necessity.”
Fifth Harmony singer Lauren Jauregui presented Kiyoko with the award. In her introduction, she praised Kiyoko for being multi-talented, pointing out that she’s not only a singer and songwriter, but also a LGBTQ activist, music video director, actress and “all around badass.”
Kiyoko is one of several 2018 Women in Music honorees, including Grande (Woman of the Year), Lauper (accepting the Icon award), Janelle Monae (the Trailblazer award), Kacey Musgraves (the Innovator award) and SZA (the Rule Breaker award).