Goldie, one of the pioneers of British dance music, called for more support for the arts as he was awarded an MBE by the Prince of Wales.
The performer and musician, who helped put the underground sounds of drum and bass and jungle on the mainstream map, was recognised for services to his industry and young people.
He was raised in the care system and grew up around the West Midlands but after the Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony said: "Music and art well and truly saved my life really - the light switched on when I discovered art."
Goldie was listed in the investiture programme under his real name, Clifford Price, and was instantly recognisable with his trademark smile of gold capped teeth.
He said: "It's a bit of a shocker but a very, very beautiful thing to happen. I think it also stands for what you can achieve - anything really."
He added: "Art and music is so important for young people - the arts need to be supported and I think there are so many Clifford Prices out there like me."
Looking to the future, he said: "This is where the work begins really, because it's a case of what's next, what can we do, and not sit on one's laurels.
"It's really important to understand it's nice to be recognised but it's also nice to say 'That can work as leverage to make things better and change things'."
Goldie made his name with his record Timeless, which is often described as one of the landmark British albums of the '90s, with the hit track Inner City Life regarded as a seminal dance song of that era.
Inspired initially by a DJ named Kemistry, he is often credited with having introduced new techniques into drum and bass music, and with popularising the genre.
Music aside, he tried his hand at graffiti and went on to exhibit his art at a London gallery.
Goldie has also appeared in several TV shows and films, including roles in James Bond's The World Is Not Enough, as well as having a recurring role in EastEnders as Angel Hudson.
He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Mastermind, and in 2011 was on screen in Goldie's Band: By Royal Appointment, which saw him mentoring a group of young people who performed at Palace with Prince Harry in the audience.
Goldie was joined at the palace by his wife Mika and his daughters Chance, 18, and four-year-old Sakuko.
Before leaving he declared he would celebrate at either his favourite Chinese restaurant in London's Bayswater, the exclusive Wolseley, or a simple cafe called Bar Bruno in Soho.
During the investiture ceremony, Professor John Edmunds, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, was awarded an OBE for his work helping to combat the recent Ebola virus outbreak.
He is the institution's dean of faculty of epidemiology and population health, and his team worked round the clock providing real-time analysis and modelling of case numbers during the epidemic in West Africa.
The data they produced helped inform decisions made by governments and NGOs about the number of treatment beds that were needed and the effectiveness of different policies.
They also helped design the trial conducted in Guinea which assessed the effectiveness of an experimental Ebola vaccine which proved a success.
His honour came as nurse Pauline Cafferkey was being treated in hospital for a third time since contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone in December 2014
He said of the nurse's admittance for a late complication of the virus: "It shows us what little we know about Ebola, it's a pretty rare disease and it's fatal for most people, so there's not many survivors."
Professor Edmunds added: "There will be another outbreak. It's a disease that probably lives in animals, we don't know which one, but bats are the most likely source, so at some point again in the future outbreaks will occur."
Speaking about his work combating Ebola, he said: "My team were amazing, I feel a little bit embarrassed about getting the award because really it was a team effort and we did quite literally work round the clock on some occasions to get things to various important meetings."
Also recognised during the ceremony was Sir Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, who was knighted for services to the field.
Under his tenure, the organisation has funded breakthrough scientific discoveries and secured a range of life-saving policy changes. In 2013, he oversaw the world's largest study of lung cancer patients.
Sir Harpal said about the knighthood: "It was a huge surprise and a very big honour."
He added: "It's really a reflection of the very, very big team of people who make what we do possible, from the scientist to the doctors, to the volunteers to the staff and people around the world working to reduce the fear of cancer for people."
Sir Harpal went on say: "We're now at a point where as many people survive cancer as die from it, the first time in history we've been able to say that.
"Survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years and of course we want to see that progress increasing and want to see it accelerating."