“To all the mean kids at school who made fun of me for singing ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman,'” said Nick Jonas, before presenting Shania Twain with the Icon award at Billboard’s 2016 Women in Music honors, “Suck it — I’m getting a hug.”
The legendary singer and songwriter took the stage at New York’s Pier 36 to accept her award Friday (Dec. 9), just a cherry on top of her 35 million albums sold domestically and five Grammy Awards, among many other honors. “I think I was 3 when I realized this was what I was supposed to do for the rest of my life,” said Twain, now 51, in the video preceding her award. For Billboard‘s Women in Music issue, Twain spoke about working on new music for an upcoming album that would be her first since 2002’s Up!
It wasn’t all sunny, though — Twain spoke about her sympathy for Meghan Trainor, who was unable to accept her award in person after being placed on vocal rest, and for Kesha, who had just given a moving speech about her public struggles with mental health and former producer Dr. Luke. “I want to thank Kesha for being so open-hearted,” said Twain. “This is what songwriting is all about.”
Despite the fact she was accepting the Icon award, Twain tried to emphasize that she was still only human. “I don’t always feel brave, I don’t always feel courageous and confident,” she said. “But on a day like today, celebrating women who have come so far in the industry — we all know the only way to get here is by dreaming, working really, really hard, and being courageous.”
Twain closed out her speech by thanking the men who have supported her through her career; as she put it, laughing, “I want to say behind every great woman is a great man…but then there’s an even greater woman.”
“Icon” recipient Shania Twain is one of several 2016 Women in Music honorees. Also honored this year are Madonna (“Woman of the Year”), Halsey (“Rising Star”), Andra Day (“Powerhouse”), Meghan Trainor (“Chart Topper”), Maren Morris (“Breakthrough Star”), Kesha (“Trailblazer”) and Alessia Cara (“Rule Breaker”). Billboard’s Women In Music airs Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.