New York, NY, June 26, 2009: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) hosted its 22nd Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards tonight at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. The star-studded event, which was attended by over 650 leading songwriters, recording artists and music industry notables, paid special tribute to Smokey Robinson and Alicia Keys, and honored the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2008 R&B/Hip-Hop, Rap and Gospel charts.
Top awards were handed out to:
* Songwriters of the Year: Mikkel Eriksen & Tor Hermansen and C. “Tricky” Stewart & The-Dream
* Publisher of the Year: EMI Music Publishing
* Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song: ” Like You’ll Never See Me Again”
* Top Rap Song: “Lollipop”
* Top Gospel Song: “I Trust You”
One of the evening’s highlights was a special tribute to music legend Smokey Robinson, who was honored with ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award in recognition of “his achievements as a songwriter and artist who has written an enduring chapter in American musical history and whose songs have inspired generations.” Following a video presentation illustrating Robinson’s outstanding career, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson and ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams co-presented the award. The tribute culminated with stellar performances by R&B superstar Ne-Yo, R&B/Gospel singer-songwriter Kelly Price, new J Records artist CJ, and Australia’s most popular vocal group Human Nature, who sang a selection of Robinson’s biggest hits. Past recipients of ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award include Earth, Wind & Fire; Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Bill Withers.
Another highlight was the presentation of ASCAP’s Golden Note Award to Alicia Keys, which is presented to songwriters, composers, and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones. Gabby Wilson, an 11-year old musical prodigy, performed in honor of Keys, and Paul Williams presented the prestigious award to the 12-time Grammy Award winner. Past recipients of ASCAP’s Golden Note Award include Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Jay-Z, Quincy Jones, LL Cool J, New Edition and Lionel Richie.
Keys picked up three more awards during the evening, including Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song for ” Like You’ll Never See Me Again,” co-written with Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, in addition to awards for “No One,” co-written with “Krucial” and DJ Dirty Harry, and “Teenage Love Affair,” co-written with Matt Kahane.
In addition to the musical tributes to Robinson and Keys, the evening featured performances by Gospel sensation James Fortune (Black Smoke Music/Worldwide) who performed his Top Gospel Song, “I Trust You,” hip-hop group GS Boyz (Battery/Jive/Swagg Team) who had the audience doing their best dance moves to their debut single, “Stanky Legg,” and Def Jam’s newest star, Jeremih, who sang his hit single “Birthday Sex.”
ASCAP’s coveted Songwriter of the Year award went to two of today’s hottest songwriting/production teams – Mikkel Eriksen & Tor Hermansen and C. “Tricky” Stewart & The-Dream – who tied with five award-winning songs each.
2007 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Songwriter of the Year honoree Johntá Austin presented Mikkel Eriksen & Tor Hermansen with their Songwriter of the Year awards. Collectively known as Stargate, the duo was honored for Trey Songz’s “Can’t Help But Wait,” Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent,” Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight,” Rihanna’s “Take A Bow,” and Chris Brown’s “With You.” This is the first time that Stargate have been named ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Songwriters of the Year, and closely follows their Songwriter of the Year victory at this year’s ASCAP Pop Music Awards, and the 2007 ASCAP Awards in London, UK.
Austin also collected two awards in the R&B/Hip-Hop category for co-writing “Can’t Help But Wait” and “With You” with Stargate.
Super-producer Timbaland, a three-time ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Songwriter of the Year honoree, presented C. “Tricky” Stewart & The-Dream with their first-ever Songwriter of the Year awards. The pair was honored for The-Dream’s “Falsetto” and “I Luv Your Girl,” Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine,” J. Holiday’s “Suffocate,” and Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body.”
ASCAP Publisher of the Year honors went to EMI Music Publishing who was honored for 20 award-winning songs. This is the 15 th consecutive win for EMI and the 17 th time in the 22-year history of the awards show that they have received this honor. ASCAP CEO John A. LoFrumento presented the award to EMI Chairman and CEO Roger Faxon and his creative team.
“Lollipop,” co-written by Darius “Deezle” Harrison and the late Stephen “Static Major” Garrett, was named Top Rap Song, and also claimed an award in the R&B/Hip-Hop category. The infectious single, performed by Lil Wayne and featuring “Static Major,” topped both the Top Rap Tracks and R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks charts, and earned “Deezle” and “Static Major” a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song at the 51 st Annual Grammy Awards.
“I Trust You,” co-written by James Fortune and Terence Vaughn, was named Top Gospel Song. Recorded by James Fortune & FIYA, the spiritual anthem topped Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart for a historic 29 weeks, and holds the title as the longest running #1 Gospel single.
ASCAP songwriters with multiple award-winning songs were: Mikkel Eriksen, Tor Hermansen, Terius “The-Dream” Nash and C. “Tricky” Stewart with five awards each; Ne-Yo with four awards; Alicia Keys with three; and Akon, Johntá Austin, Kerry “Krucial” Brothers Jr., Keyshia Cole and Darius “Deezle” Harrison with two apiece.
Honorees and notables in attendance included: Smokey Robinson, Alicia Keys, Berry Gordy, Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson, Stargate’s Mikkel Eriksen & Tor Hermansen, C. “Tricky” Stewart, The-Dream, Timbaland, Johntá Austin, Ne-Yo, BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee, Wyclef Jean, Jerry Duplessis, Missy Elliott, Fabolous, Keyshia Cole, Yung Berg, CJ, James Fortune, GS Boyz, Human Nature, Jeremih, Kelly Price, Jeremy “Mouse” Allen, Algebra Blessett, Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, Shondrae “Bangladesh” Crawford, Cri$tyle, DJ Dirty Harry, Noel “Detail” Fisher, Christopher “Drumma Boy” Gholson, Darius “Deezle” Harrison, Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Kardinal Offishall, Harvey Mason Jr., Colby O’Donis, Play-N-Skillz, Rock City, Artavious “Tay Dizm” Smith, Curtis “Kid Kid” Stewart, Damon Thomas, and Melody Thornton of the Pussycat Dolls, among many others.