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Lady Gaga, Jason Derulo and JR Rotem were saluted as BMI’s pop songwriters of the year at the organization’s 59th annual Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Wednesday. Earning pop song of the year honors was the Lady Antebellum hit “Need You Now,” while Sony/ATV Songs LLC received the pop publisher of the year award.
In recognition of his “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers,” songwriter/producer David Foster was named BMI Icon, and Chaka Khan‘s scorching performance of “Through the Fire” sparked the evening’s musical salute to Foster.
The singer’s performance of her own Foster-produced hit drew a standing ovation from the industry audience as did singers Cody Karey and Delta Goodrum‘s stirring take on “The Prayer,” originally recorded by Celine Dion and Josh Groban. Rounding out the salute to the 15-time Grammy Award-winning Foster were Brian McKnight, who sang the Earth, Wind & Fire hit “After the Love Is Gone,” and Keri Hilson who delivered the Whitney Houston classic “I Have Nothing.”
In addition to the aforementioned honorees, the songwriters and publishers of the past year’s 50 most-performed pop songs on U.S. radio and television were also honored.
Lady Gaga, Derulo and Rotem each placed four songs on that tally. Lady Gaga’s credits include her hit songs “Alejandro,” “Bad Romance,” “Paparazzi” and “Telephone.” Derulo and Rotem share writing credits on three Derulo songs (“In My Head,” “Ridin’ Solo” and “Whatcha Say”) as well as Iyaz’s “Replay.”
Gaga was not at the ceremony but sent a thank-you video.
Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley wrote Lady Antebellum’s crossover smash “Need You Now.” Earlier this year, the song claimed Grammy Awards for both record and song of the year. Among the 16 songs that helped Sony/ATV claim publishing kudos are “In My Head,” “Bad Romance,” Beyoncé‘s “Sweet Dreams,” Taylor Swift‘s “You Belong With Me” and Ke$ha‘s “Your Love Is My Drug.”
Twenty-two of David Foster’s songs have generated more than 1 million performances. Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”-both written by the honoree-have racked up more than 5 million each. Foster’s acceptance was both entertaining and illuminating. Looking over the audience, he said, “I feel so uncomfortable taking up so much of your time tonight. Now I know what my funeral will look like … pretty good.”
Foster, who’s now with Universal after 26 years with Warner Bros., emphasized the “music business is alive and thriving,” then offered up 10 rules for songwriters and producers to live by. Among those: save your money; don’t get married unless you really want to; be on time because it’s a powerful weapon and make decisions like you have $1 million in the bank even if you have nothing. The rule that elicited the most applause: try to be genuinely happy for someone else’s success. It’s good karma.”
Among others honored for placing songs on BMI’s 50 most-performed songs of the past year were Jim Jonsin (Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams”), of several producer mentors on this year’s season of American Idol, and singer Colbie Caillat (“I Never Told You,” “Fallin’ For You”).
BMI president/CEO Del Bryant hosted the evening, along with BMI VP/GM, Los Angeles Barbara Cane and BMI senior VP, writer/publisher relations Phil Graham.
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