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BMI Icon Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds to be Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

Pitbull to be recognized with first-ever Global Ambassador Award, Ed Sheeran to receive Hal David Starlight Award, Alan Menken to receive Johnny Mercer Award

Posted in News on March 22, 2017
Pictured (L-R): Ed Sheeran; Babyface performs at the BMI Board of Directors NAB Dinner in 2014; Pitbull; Alan Menken
Pictured (L-R): Ed Sheeran; Babyface performs at the BMI Board of Directors NAB Dinner in 2014; Pitbull; Alan Menken

BMI is proud to congratulate its longtime affiliate and 2006 BMI Icon award recipient Kenneth ”Babyface” Edmonds for his upcoming induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Dedicated to honoring the contributions of the composers and lyricists of the world’s most celebrated popular music, as well as nurturing the next generation of songwriters, the SHOF will celebrate its newest class at its 48th Annual Induction & Awards Gala on June 15 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

As an accomplished and prolific songwriter, performer and producer, Babyface has both steered a formidable array of talent toward stardom, including TLC, OutKast, Usher and Toni Braxton, and forged a remarkable solo career of his own. With a long and distinguished list of consecutive multi-platinum landmark albums and signature hits to his name, the 11-time GRAMMY winner is known for his own tracks including “Never Keeping Secrets,” “When Can I See You” and “Every Time I Close My Eyes,” as well as chart-topping compositions for other artists like “Another Sad Love Song” and “Breathe Again” for Toni Braxton, “End of the Road” and “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boys II Men and “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)” and “I’m Your Baby Tonight” for Whitney Houston, to name a few. And while his mark on the shape of R&B and pop is already indelible, boasting more than 200 Top 10 R&B and over 50 Top 10 pop hits (including 16 No. 1’s), Babyface’s upward trajectory shows absolutely no sign of stopping. He has most recently collaborated with Bruno Mars, Kat Graham, Johnny Mathis, Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Colbie Caillat, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande and Toni Braxton, and also has a new album of his own due later this year.

Another luminary and BMI affiliate to be recognized at the June gala is Pitbull, who will be the first-ever recipient of the Songwriter Hall of Fame’s Global Ambassador Award. Created to honor a songwriter/artist whose music has transcended musical, cultural, national and geographical boundaries, this award will not be an annual fixture, but rather an accolade that is presented only when a deserving songwriter merits it.

It’s hardly an accident that “Mr. Worldwide” should be the recipient of such an honor. Since first debuting in 2002, Pitbull (a.k.a. Armando Christian Pérez) has been a tireless fixture on the hip hop, reggaeton and pop scenes as both a versatile rapper and a producer behind the scenes. He has released ten albums, the most recent of which, Climate Change, dropped on March 17. He’s received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received BMI’s Presidents Award in 2012.

Looking toward the realm of composition for stage and screen, the Songwriters Hall of Fame also announced that it will be bestowing the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award to Alan Menken. As the creative force behind the scores of such beloved titles as Beauty and The Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies, Sister Act, A Christmas Carol, Aladdin, A Bronx Tale and many others, Menken has demonstrated a true gift for crafting timeless melodies and lyrics that have thrilled moviegoers, Broadway audiences and music-lovers of all ages.

Exclusively reserved for songwriters who have already been recognized by the Hall (Menken was inducted in 2008), but whose work continues to raise the bar in the same vaulted tradition of the award’s namesake, the coveted Johnny Mercer Award will take its place amidst Menken’s other accolades, among them a Tony Award, eleven GRAMMY Awards and eight Academy Awards.

One further notable BMI songwriter to be singled out by the Songwriters Hall of Fame is Ed Sheeran (PRS), who is to be this year’s recipient of the Hal David Starlight Award. This honor is bestowed upon songwriters too young to qualify for induction (one must have had hits for 20 years to be eligible), but whose abilities are at such a high level they will surely qualify in years to come. As such, this particular award is practically tailored to Sheeran, whose meteoric ascent in the realm of pop music overshadows his relative newcomer status.

At only 26, Sheeran has demonstrated tireless dedication to his skills, gifts and chops as a singer, songwriter, performer and producer. These efforts have made him one of the most prolific and successful songwriters of his generation. His recently released third album ÷ (pronounced divide), has already sold over 4 million units worldwide, entering the U.S. Billboard 200 at #1, the largest debut of 2017 with first week sales topping 451,000 units. Sheeran’s earlier albums like x (pronounced multiply) and + (pronounced plus) were comparably impactful on both the commercial and critical levels. Beyond his own solo material, including “Photograph,” “Thinking Out Loud” and “Shape of You,” Sheeran has penned songs for artists like One Direction, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber and fellow BMI affiliate Taylor Swift.

Congratulations, Babyface, Pitbull, Alan Menken and Ed Sheeran on these prestigious accolades.