Following her breakthrough 2013 debut Pure Heroine, Lorde met David Bowie, and Bowie called the then 17-year-old “Royals” singer “the future of music.” Last night (Feb. 24), Lorde paid a moving, surprise tribute to the late English icon at the Brit Awards.

Actor Gary Oldman introduced the segment, recalling Bowie’s thoughts on Lorde. Then, Bowie’s former backing band from his last tour in 2003 opened the performance with a medley of the singer’s hits. Lorde joined them on stage, delivering an impassioned, faithful rendition of “Life on Mars?” At the song's end, she placed her hands on her chest as she received a standing ovation. Afterward, Lorde revealed she was nervous but advised herself to “just sing it to David.” Watch the results in the video above.

Lorde also received praise from Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones. In a tweet, he called the New Zealand singer’s tribute “beautiful.”

Oldman and Annie Lennox accepted the Brit Icon award on Bowie’s behalf. “For me, it’s almost impossible to mention Bowie’s name in the past tense,” the former Eurythmics frontwoman said. “Everything he represented as an artist was and always will be vital and incredibly present.” You can see her speech below:

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