Reggae star Apache Indian has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s Honours.
The singer, born Steven Kapur, grew up in Handsworth, Birmingham, and is best known for fusing musical elements of bhangra, reggae and pop.
He rose to prominence in the 1990s with a string of hits including Boom Shack-A-Lak and Make Way for the Indian.
He also opened a music academy in his home city and the BEM recognises his services to young people and music.
The 53-year-old said he was “speechless” and “absolutely honoured” by the award, describing it as the “biggest thing in my life and career”.
As well as creating a “whole new genre”, the Cabinet Office said Mr Kapur was one of the first artists to write songs “about several taboo subjects, such as alcohol addiction, arranged marriages and Aids”.
His tracks “often emphasize sensitive topics, which challenge traditional values” and gave “a voice to a new emerging generation in Britain”, it added.
The singer said he had “never shied away” from issues that “bothered” him.
He has toured the world eight times over that last 30 years, sold more than 11 million albums and had several top 10 singles globally.
In 2013, he founded AIM Academy (Apache Indian Music Academy) in Handsworth to pass on his skills to young people.
Based at South and City College Birmingham, the initiative is for students aged 16-19 who aspire to be musicians, singers, producers, writers and DJs.
He has also worked with young offenders, schools and colleges and said the academy, which “had to be in Handsworth”, was “an extension of that”.
Mr Kapur said he was “looking forward” to attending the Queen’s garden party and hoped the award would inspire others.