“It all starts with a song.” That’s what Grammy President Neil Portnow said at this year’s ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards. On Friday in Beverly Hills, CA the performing rights organization honored the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2010 R&B/Hip Hop, Rap, and Gospel charts. Among the top honorees were Gospel duo Mary Mary who received the Golden Note Award. The sisters were honored for breaking barriers and helping to bring Gospel mainstream.
“We started this journey 11 years ago, and I remember when we were holding a tape recorder in our bedroom recording songs, so it really is a special honor,” said Tina Campbell, the youngest sister in the group.
“We didn’t have a mission to bring Gospel mainstream, we just wanted to sing for the world. No matter what country you are from or what race you are; everybody needs to be inspired,” added older sister Erica Campbell.
Before accepting their accolades the dynamic duo treated the audience to a performance of their hit “Yesterday.”
Songwriter, producer, and new artist Miguel also wowed the crowd performing his new hit “Sure Thing.” “My goal now that I’m no longer behind the scenes is to stay grounded. It was a journey getting my album out, and I hope everyone loves it.”
Songs like Fantasia’s “Bittersweet”, Trey Songz “Bottoms Up”, and Drake’s “Fancy” all received honors for writing and publishing as well as Young Jeezy’s “Lose My Mind”, and Smokie Norful’s “Justified”. Ludacris, Matthew “BOI-1DA” Samuels, and Noah “40” Shebib were all given Songwriter of the Year awards. Although not in attendance, Ludacris thanked the crowd via video and said, “I’m just getting started. The best is yet to come.” Recording artist Drake made a special appearance to honor “BOI-1DA” and “40”, crediting the success of his career to them. Another songwriter Andrea Martin won an award for writing Melanie Fiona’s “It Kills Me.” She then turned the crowd out with her own rendition of the song and with all the music execs in the room; I wouldn’t be surprised if she walked out of there with her own recording contract.
Saving the best for last, the Founders Awards, which is ASCAP’s most prestigious award was handed out to Sean “Diddy” Combs. The honor is given to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music. DJ Clark Kent took the audience on a journey down memory lane, spinning to all the hits that put Diddy on the map; from Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love”, to his own hit “Hello, Good Morning”. And of course the late Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy”. Fellow producer extraordinaire Dr. Dre presented the award. To an overwhelmed Diddy, who thanked many in the crowd acknowledging that even though he was up on stage alone, he didn’t get there on his own.
“The feeling of being acknowledged by your peers…You are all my family and definitely one of the reasons why I'm standing here now,” he said. “I usually exude an extraordinary amount of confidence, and it’s not to be cocky, I just realized that in order for my dreams to come true, I had to exude an extra ordinary amount of faith in God.” Past recipients of the award include: Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and last year's recipient Dr. Dre.