The National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame , the organization dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of those composers and lyricists who create popular music around the world, returns for its highly anticipated 33rd Annual Induction and Awards dinner, scheduled for Thursday, June 13 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. At a kick-off event yesterday in New York City, SHOF Chairman and CEO Hal David announced some of this year's inductees including BMI songwriter/artists Sting, Barry Manilow and Michael Jackson, as well as Randy Newman, Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. Other honorees will be announced at a later date.
"The Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards & Dinner is so important because it's a time when some of the premier songwriters in the world come together to honor their own," commented Hal David. "That kind of camaraderie creates a very special night and we're looking forward to another great event this year."
|At each kick-off event, the Songwriters Hall of Fame also honors five gifted young composers and lyricists with the Abe Olman Scholarship for Excellence in Songwriting. Named for one of the NAPM/SHOF's founding members, the scholarship awards $1,200 to each winner chosen from songwriter programs sponsored by BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, SGA and the NAPM itself. BMI songwriter John Stephens is among this year's winners and is seen here being congratulated by BMI's Del Bryant.|| |
photo: Robbin Ahrold
The National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. The NAPM/SHOF is also devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships.
Over the past 32 years, the Songwriters Hall of Fame has honored such legendary songwriters as Burt Bachrach, Jim Croce, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and many, many others.
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame are $750 each and are available through Buckley Hall Events at (212) 573-6933. Net proceeds from the event will go towards various Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.
John Stephens (Winner of the Abe Olman Scholarship)
John Stephens, a 22 year-old songwriter/musician from Spingfield, OH, was definitely an early starter. He's been studying classical piano since he was five and, under the tutelage of his late grandmother, he's been singing gospel music and playing piano at the Pentecostal Church since he was seven. He graduated from high school when he was only 16.
While attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, he directed Counterparts, one of the nation's top collegiate acapella groups and was also Director of Music at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Scranton, PA. In the spring of 1998, Lauryn Hill's back-up singer and fellow parishioner Tara Watkins asked John to join her at one of Lauryn's recording sessions in New Jersey. After hearing John sing and play piano, Hill invited him to contribute to her hit single, "Everything is Everything" from her multiple Grammy-winning CD The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Since then, John has been seriously pursuing his songwriting and recording career. Along with guitarist/songwriter/producer Dave Tozer, he's been writing songs and performing at various clubs around the East Coast. He's also appeared as a vocalist or pianist on CDs by Faith Evans, Pras and Scarface.
When asked to describe his music, John says: "It's a essentially a mix of classical soul and the hard-driving rhythms of hip-hop."