|Members of Thunderkatz celebrate with BMI's Catherine Brewton|
The New Jersey-based sextet worked the packed house into a frenzy, winning the favor of the judges with their unique "feel good" rock/hip-hop concoction. Thunderkatz were crowned the top winners out of the four performing finalists who were chosen from over 300 submissions by a group of top BMI songwriters, producers and industry executives. Celebrity judges included multi-platinum producer DJ Toomp (T.I., Lil Jon, Ludacris), 112 member Daron Jones, Grammy Award-winning producer Brian Michael Cox, and influential songwriter and producer Jazze Pha (Ciara, T.I., Outkast).
|BMI’s Wardell Malloy, B-Cox, Nokio, BMI’s Catherine Brewton, Karl Kani, BMI’s Malik Levy|
Thunderkatz walked away with several cool prizes, including an iPod; airfare, accommodations and two tickets to the 2006 BMI Urban Awards; two days of recording time with an engineer at DARP Studios provided by BMI award-winning songwriter/producer Dallas Austin; and two tracks to be produced by BMI Grammy-nominated production duo Cool & Dre.
|Malachi, BMI's Catherine Brewton, BMI's Wardell Malloy and Rico Wade|
"This showcase exposes hot BMI urban talent like Thunderkatz to all the right people," said BMI's Catherine Brewton, Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta. "We are proud of our strong presence in Atlanta's urban music community and throughout the entire country as well. Congratulations to Thunderkatz and to all the artists who performed."
The star-studded event also included a celebrity fashion show set to the spins of DJ Drama, featuring the latest collection from the new Karl Kani line, Live Life Love Denim, and swimwear from Atlanta Beach. Kani, considered the grandfather of hip-hop couture, did not disappoint and offered some sizzling eye-candy.
|Suga Suga members flank BMI's Catherine Brewton and Lynn Oliver|
Multi-platinum recording artist and actor Big Boi of Outkast was on hand to present the first BMI Legends of ATL Award to Organized Noize members Rico Wade and Ray Murray (Pat "Sleepy" Brown was unable to attend). This new award recognizes their accomplishments and contributions to Atlanta's urban music community.
|Lil Jon and Catherine Brewton|
Other celebrities taking part in the event included Atlantic recording artist Trey Songz, who moonlighted as model during the fashion show, and Def Jam recording artist Ne-Yo, who topped off the night with a special performance.
|(Standing) Oozie, James "Wildcat" Booker, Big Boi, BMI's Byron Wright, Wardell Malloy and Catherine Brewton, T-Mo, Blvd; (kneeling) Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Gipp|
|BMI's Catherine Brewton with showcase winners Thunderkatz and Lil Jon|
|Ne-Yo, Catherine Brewton, and Lil Jon|