LOS ANGELES – Urban music’s premier songwriters, producers and music publishers came together to celebrate one another September 7 during the BMI Urban Awards at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. The annual, star-powered event toasts the creative teams behind the past year’s most-performed R&B, rap, pop and hip-hop songs in BMI’s deep repertoire.
Mariah Carey was named a BMI Icon in recognition of her prolifically successful and influential songwriting career. A jaw-dropping tribute, which included producer Jermaine Dupri; gospel siren Karen Clark Sheard, who performed “Anytime You Need a Friend;” R&B crooner Joe, delivering “We Belong Together;” soul troubadour Eric Benet, who offered “One Sweet Day;” and American Idol alum Fantasia belting out “Hero,” paid homage to Carey.
BMI honors songwriters who have had a “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers” as Icons. Mariah Carey joins a list of past honorees that includes The Jacksons, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Little Richard, Al Green, The Bee Gees, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, to name a few.
Drake and Lil Wayne shared the Songwriter of the Year crown by each writing seven songs that rank among the year’s most-performed. The win marks the second consecutive Songwriter of the Year title for Drake, whose top contributions include “Aston Martin Music,” “Headlines,” “Moment 4 Life,” and “What’s My Name?,” as well as “Right Above It,” “I’m On One” and “She Will,” which he co-wrote with Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne’s four additional smashes include “6 Foot 7 Foot,” “How to Love,” “Look at Me Now,” and “Motivation.”
Nicki Minaj’s inescapable “Super Bass” earned Song of the Year honors for its writers Minaj, Ester Dean and Kane Beatz, as well as publishers Artist 101 Publishing Group, Dat Damn Dean Music, Harajuku Barbie Music, Money Mack Music, peermusic III, Ltd. and Songs of Universal, Inc.
Pop Wansel earned the Producer of the Year crystal. The incredible songwriter/producer has helmed boards for hits by Trey Songz and Drake, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, Fantasia, Ginuwine, Lil Wayne, Kelly Rowland, and Britney Spears, among many others. In addition to Wansel, BMI also recognized Top Producers Warren “Oak” Felder, Jim Jonsin, R. Kelly,Lexus “Lex Luger” Lewis, Polow Da Don, Troy Taylor, Kanye West, and Tyler “T-Minus” Williams.
With 17 songs among the most-performed, EMI Music Publishing clinched the prestigious Publisher of the Year crown.
Mac Miller won the first-ever BMI Social Star Award, presented by Spotify. Voted on by fans via Twitter, the award salutes the BMI urban songwriter who has best demonstrated the power of social media to showcase their songwriting talents.
During the ceremony, BMI also recognized the songwriters of Billboard No. 1 singles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts over the past year.
BMI President & CEO Del Bryant and Catherine Brewton, Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta, hosted the 2012 BMI Urban Awards. For a full list of winners, visit www.bmi.com/urban.