Billboard Music Awards: Mariah Carey Accepts Icon Award and Performs Medley of Her Hits

Mariah Carey performs onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards - Getty - H 2019
Ethan Miller/Getty

The singer sang songs like "Always Be My Baby" and "We Belong Together" before delivering a touching acceptance speech.

Mariah Carey joined the ranks of Stevie Wonder, Prince and Cher when she received the Icon Award at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday.

Jennifer Hudson introduced Carey, who first wished her twins in the audience a happy birthday.

"Thank you, Billboard, for letting me grow up on the charts with you and for this incredible honor," Carey said. "Icon? I really don't think of myself in that way. I started making music out of a necessity to survive and to express myself. And I just wanted to create something so I could feel worthy of existing."

She continued, cracking a joke about the "drama" she's dealt with throughout her career, even making "a few memes" along the way.

"I guess I've always felt like an outsider, someone who doesn't quite belong anywhere. And I still feel like that lost interracial child who had a lot of nerve to believe I could succeed at anything at all in this world," Carey said. "But, and this is the truth, I did believe. Because I had to. The truth is, I've dedicated my life to my music, my saving grace; and to my fans, who are are unlike any entity I've ever known. They've lifted me out of the depths of hell and brought me back with their devotion and love."

Carey ultimately dedicated the award to "anybody who doesn't allow themselves to be broken and keeps getting up, and keeps holding on, and keeps standing tall, and keeps on believing, and keeps rising."

"And to anyone who's ever told me that a song I wrote helped save their life, I thank you because you saved mine," she concluded.

Prior to her speech, Carey performed a medley of her greatest hits, including "A No No," "Always Be My Baby," "Emotions," "We Belong Together," and "Hero."

Carey is currently the only artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 in each year of any decade, which she managed to do in the 1990s. She's also had 19 total No. 1s on the chart, which is the most among any soloist. 

The 2019 BBMAs were hosted by Kelly Clarkson for the second year in a row from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and aired on NBC.

The Billboard Music Awards is produced by Dick Clark Productions — a division of Valence Media, the parent company of the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group.