Taylor Swift Accepts First Taylor Swift Award and Top Songwriter Prize at BMI Pop Awards
"Uptown Funk" is named song of the year, Sony/ATV reigns as publisher of the year and songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil receive the BMI Icon Award.
Taylor Swift added two more honors — the first-ever Taylor Swift Award and Pop Songwriter of the Year — to her crowded shelf of industry accolades at the 64th annual BMI Pop Awards on Tuesday night. Held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, the ceremony honored the writers and publishers of the most-performed pop songs during the past year.
Swift’s eponymous award, in recognition of her creative and artistic talent and influence, marked only the second time in BMI’s 76-year history that the organization has presented an award in an artist’s name.
Michael Jackson was the first to achieve that honor in 1990. Swift also claimed four of the year’s most-performed songs to earn pop songwriter of the year kudos. “Bad Blood,” “Blank Space,” “Style” and “Wildest Dreams” are all featured on the artist’s Billboard 200 No. 1 album 1989.
Accompanied by her mother, father and brother, Swift received a standing ovation when she was presented with her self-named award. “This is just an unbelievable night,” commented the 10-time Grammy Award winner, who further noted that “I have this issue called songwriting … I know you have it, too” before thanking everyone in the house.
The BMI Pop Awards also honored “Uptown Funk” as its Pop Song of the Year. Awarded the Grammy for Record of the Year in February, the tune was co-written by Jeff Bhasker, Devon Gallaspy, Trinidad James, Mark Ronson, Lonnie Simmons, Rudy Taylor, Charlie Wilson, Robert Wilson and Ronnie Wilson. Sony/ATV was named BMI’s Pop Publisher of the Year, logging 23 of the year’s most-performed songs. Thirty-seven songwriters received their first-ever BMI Awards last night. And the first song honored among the 50 most-performed songs of the past year was Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.”
Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the songwriting team behind such enduring hits as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “On Broadway” and “Just Once,” were presented with the BMI Icon Award. While introducing the pair, BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neil said the twosome “helped shape the face of popular music.” The SoCal VoCals, the University of Southern California's award-winning a cappella group, performed a medley of the legendary duo’s most memorable songs, including the aforementioned tracks. According to O’Neil, Mann and Weil’s “You’re My Soul and Inspiration” alone has been performed 14 million times.
Joining O’Neil as host of the 64th annual ceremony was BMI vp writer/publisher relations Barbara Cane. A complete list of the 2016 BMI Pop Awards honorees is available at bmi.com.
This story first appeared on Billboard.