Taylor Swift was honored with the Tour of the Year award at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday, March 14, and she used her time at the podium to deliver a passionate speech about proving critics wrong.

“For like the entire six months leading up to the first show of this tour, every headline that I read about the tour was, ‘This is going to be a massive failure. This is going to be a flop tour,'” Swift began her speech. “And you know, it really did wonders for my self-esteem. It was really great to hear people saying that I was going to be playing to nearly empty stadiums.”

In the end, of course, the Reputation tour was the furthest thing from a failure: It went on to sell a record-breaking two million tickets and gross $266 million, making it the highest-selling tour in US history and proving, once again, just how devoted Swift’s Swifties really are.

“I honestly owe everything, everything in my life to you,” she said of her fans, to enthusiastic applause. She went on to specifically acknowledge audiences who saw the show in the rain, and even those who watched with their pets when the tour special debuted on Netflix.

“You guys are the only reason why this tour wasn’t a massive failure and why it ended up being the highest-selling tour in US history. That’s you,” the singer continued, addressing her dedicated fan base. “And I also just wanted to say before I go that I love your passion. I love your attention to detail. I love how much you care. I love seeing all the things you’re posting online, and I just wanted to let you know when there’s new music, you will be the first to know. I love you so much.”

Swift’s relationship with her fans has grown even stronger in recent years, particularly during the tumultuous period surrounding the release of 2017’s Reputation. The singer hasn’t confirmed any new music yet, but loyal Swifties have been parsing the singer’s online presence for clues and are convinced that an announcement is imminent. We’ll be keeping our ears to the ground!

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(Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)