updated 01/28/2014 AT 12:45 PM ET
•originally published 01/28/2014 AT 1:45 PM ET
“We have a lot of praise to show you, because this was the first time that we ever performed live on television,” Macklemore, 30, told DeGeneres Tuesday’s episoe of her talk show. “You got behind ‘Same Love’ before anybody else did. Before it was a radio song, before it was out there with the video on MTV, you were behind it.”
The duo first appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2012, when they performed “Same Love” – a gay rights anthem that went viral on YouTube – with vocalist Mary Lambert. Since then, the comedian has been a big advocate for their success. Macklemore and Lewis have sold 1.3 million albums and garnered more than 900 million YouTube views, impressive feats considering they are independent artists without a music label.
“It’s a beautiful song,” DeGeneres said Tuesday. “I’m so glad it’s become such a huge success and more people are hearing it.”
Lewis, 25, said the Grammy’s producer came up with the idea after his daughter noted that many couples have proposed on stage during “Same Love” at concerts.
“He thought that that was a cool idea, and then it just started building and building and turned into 33 couples,” said Lewis, whose sister got hitched during the show.
Though thrilled with the awards, Macklemore has indicated he wasn’t the most deserving nominee in every category. After beating Kendrick Lamar for best rap album, he Instagrammed an apology text sent to the Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City artist.
“You got robbed,” the Seattle rapper wrote. “I wanted you to win. You should have.”