updated 08/08/2011 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/08/2011 AT 8:00 AM ET
Unable to suppress a smile that lasted throughout Sunday’s 2011 Teen Choice Awards, Sean Kingston walked his first red carpet since his near-fatal jet ski accident in May.
After two separate brushes with death, the Jamaican-American rapper knows he’s lucky to be alive, but more important to him are the lessons he’s learned.
“Basically, I learned that in life anything can happen and you have to count your blessings and worship God, and believe in God,” Kingston, 21, tells PEOPLE. “And know that anything can happen, so you have to be cautious about what you do.”
Cautious yet optimistic, the singer, who received a standing ovation and a big onstage hug from pal Justin Bieber, insists that while his jet-skiing days may be over, he’s chomping at the bit to get back into the studio to take creative risks that don’t land you in an ICU.
“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling blessed, a hundred-percent,” he says. “I’m happy to back healthy, and I’m going back into the studio tomorrow.”