(AP) –Pharrell is still full of tears of joy even after that viral interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The producer-rapper-singer was teary-eyed after he performed a medley of his hits at the iHeartRadio Music Awards and earned the innovator award for his contributions to music.
“I never dreamt in a million, million, million years as a producer that I would be standing here as an artist,” the 41-year-old told the crowd Thursday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. “All I did was write the songs and you guys did all the heavy lifting, all the hard work.”
Pharrell performed his songs “Happy” and “Come Get It Bae,” as well as two of last year’s biggest hits that he was a part of – Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
“I gotta thank my savior, I gotta thank God … my wife and my son, Rocket,” said Pharrell, who rarely acknowledges his personal life.
Pharrell famously cried in an interview with Winfrey last month. She appeared in a video, which included Beyonce and Lady Gaga, praising Pharrell’s talent.
But Pharrell wasn’t the only star in happy mood: Rihanna was the night’s big winner, taking home four trophies including artist and song of the year for the slow tune, “Stay.”
“It’s not easy what we do. It’s very difficult at times. It’s a lot of pressure to be a lot of things, and I’ve never felt comfortable being anything other than myself – and I just thank my fans for being supportive,” said Rihanna.
The pop star also won best fan army and hip-hop/R&B song of the year for the anthemic “Pour It Up.”
Pitbull kicked off the first iHeartRadio Music Awards with a colorful performance – and words for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
“I want to welcome the world to the first iHeartRadio Music Awards. Now everyone that’s here is a who’s who, a what’s what, the anybody’s of all anybody’s – except of course for Donald Sterling,” he told the crowd after his performance.
“So, with that said, you can take a picture with whoever you want tonight – even Magic Johnson,” he said to cheers.
Sterling was banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million Tuesday for making racist comments.
Pitbull, who won best collaboration for the No. 1 hit “Timber” with Kesha, performed that song and “Wild Wild Love” with girl group G.R.L. and female background dancers who wore white and gold.
Usher also enticed the crowd when he danced slickly to the new Michael Jackson single, “Love Never Felt This Good,” and 20-year-old Ariana Grande performed her new jam “Problem” in a mini black dress and white knee-high boots that even had Rihanna blushing.
The three-hour awards show paid tribute to music roots in Los Angeles with acts from Katy Perry to Steven Tyler to the Black Keys talking in videos about establishing their sound in the city. Compton-born Kendrick Lamar brought the theme to life with a performance of Tupac and mentor Dr. Dre’s “California Love.”
Some of the top nominees Thursday didn’t attend the awards show, including Justin Timberlake, Jay Z and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Miley Cyrus, who is recovering from a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics, won best lyrics for her No. 1 hit, “Wrecking Ball.” Her father picked up her award.
“As a dad, I can’t begin to tell you how much your thoughts, your love, your support for my family and Miley mean to all of us,” Billy Ray Cyrus said.
Lorde was also recovering from being sick, and she thanked fans in a video for her win for best new artist.
Performers during the fan-voted show, which aired live on NBC, included Shakira, Luke Bryan, 30 Seconds to Mars, Bastille and Blake Shelton, who won country song of the year. Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Lionel Richie and Gwen Stefani made appearances.
Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” and Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” won the trophies for alternative rock and EDM song of the year, respectively.