BMI Songwriters Dominate First Six Months of 2011 Awards Season

Posted in News on July 18, 2011
Lady Antebellum celebrates another win at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Lady Antebellum celebrates another win at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Photo: AP

Half of 2011 is already history, complete with a suite of awards ceremonies celebrating music’s best. From the Grammys to the Tonys, the cultural supremacy of BMI’s deep repertoire has been on full display.

The year launched with a high bar, as Atticus Ross’s music for The Social Network earned Best Original Score at the 68th Annual Golden Globes and 83rd Academy Awards.

In between the Globes and the Oscars, the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards showered more accolades on BMI songwriters in February, as they took home an astounding 65% of the evening’s honors, the largest percentage for any performing right organization in this generation. Lady Antebellum brought a host of Grammy gold home to Nashville: With five wins, the crossover trio led the BMI charge at the Grammys. Lady Gaga, John Legend, the Roots, Eminem, the Black Keys and BeBe and CeCe Winans all garnered multiple statuettes as well.


BMI heavyweights the Alice Cooper Band, Dr. John, and Jac Holzman number prominently among the 2011 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, inducted March 14 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. All first-time nominees, the BMI additions to the hallowed hall reflect the adventurous terrain treaded by rock royalty.

April kicked off with a bang, as BMI’s country music family dominated the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Held Sunday, April 3 in Las Vegas, BMI songwriters took home a resounding 80% of the night’s trophies. From wins by Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert, to Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry, the annual ceremony served as a clear barometer of the undiminished supremacy BMI’s deep country catalog.

BMI trendsetters also took home trophy after trophy at the 2011 GMA Dove Awards, held April 20 in Atlanta. The diverse collection of the winners underscores the reach and vitality of BMI’s faith-based catalog, which includes soulful songs from Christian and gospel music veterans and new voices alike. Jason Crabb enjoyed an especially big night. In addition to winning Song of the Year for “I Cry,” he earned Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year honors and Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year. As the writer of “I Cry,” Gerald Crabb shared Jason’s Song of the Year win, and was also crowned Songwriter of the Year.

Eminem dominated the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, which were handed out Sunday, May 22 live on ABC. The BMI maverick won six trophies: Top Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Rap Artist; Top Billboard 200 Album and Top Rap Album for Recovery; and Top Rap Song for “Love the Way You Lie.” The star-studded evening’s other BMI steamrollers included Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, who each took home three awards.

The month of May also hosted the 32nd Blues Music Awards in Memphis. The BMI family of bluesmen and women dominated the ceremony, winning an overwhelming 98% of the trophies. Buddy Guy led the BMI surge, proving his brand of soul-soaked blues only gets better with time: The 2010 Blues Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award honoree took home B.B. King Entertainer and Album of the Year for Living Proof. Guy also earned Song of the Year for the album’s title track, as well as Contemporary Blues Album and Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year. Additionally, the night before the awards ceremony, legendary BMI singer/songwriters Robert Cray, John Hammond, Denise LaSalle, and J.B. Lenoir were inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in recognition of their genre-shaping work as performers.

The Country Music Hall of Fame welcomed legendary BMI songwriter Bobby Braddock into its elite ranks as part of the small 2011 class of inductees on May 22 in Nashville. Perhaps best known as the master behind George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today”—celebrated by many as the greatest country song ever written—Braddock is both a revered elder statesman and still potent hitmaker. He is the only living songwriter to have penned #1 country songs in five consecutive decades.

BMI’s international songwriting family enjoyed a big night at the 56th Ivor Novello Awards, the May ceremony celebrated the writers behind the UK’s most finely crafted hits of the year. Held in London, the event honored Steve Winwood, Paul Rodgers, Irish outfit Villagers, Tinie Tempah, Timothy McKenzie, Michael Nyman and Dizzee Rascal.

The Drama Desk Awards illustrated how deep the BMI’s musical theatre roots run, as trophy after trophy went to members of the BMI family on May 23 night in New York City. Robert Lopez took home two awards: Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics for runaway hit The Book of Mormon, which was also named Outstanding Musical overall. Larry Hochman’s superb work on The Book of Mormon also earned due acclaim, as he clinched the Outstanding Orchestrations prize. Adam Mathias enjoyed a big night as well, winning Outstanding Book of a Musical for See Rock City and other Destinations, while Wayne Barker walked away with Outstanding Music in a Play honors for Peter and the Starcatcher. The Outer Critics Circle also announced recipients of its 61st Annual Awards in May, and BMI’s musical theatre vanguard earned three of the organization’s prestigious honors. Lopez garnered two trophies: Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score, both for The Book of Mormon. Lyricist Jack Lechner and composer Andy Monroe earned Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical honors for The Kid.

All of the honorees are a testament to the strength of BMI’s musical theatre creators, but three winners in particular directly underscore BMI’s tradition of cultivating the art form’s next generation: Lopez presented songs for The Book of Mormon in the Tony Award-winning Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, while See Rock City and Other Destinations and The Kid were actually developed in the Workshop.

BMI’s tight-knit musical theatre family had even more to celebrate as Lopez and Hochman took home statuettes in every music category at the 65th Annual Tony Awards, held June 12.

BMI’s country vanguard dominated the 2011 CMT Music Awards, taking honors for every award presented for the trophies handed out on Wednesday, June 8 in Nashville. Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, the Band Perry, Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett all walked away winners.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame saluted multiple generations of BMI’s finest at the annual Songwriters Hall of Fame gala, held June 16 in New York. Allen Toussaint was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, while Hall of Fame members Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, and Drake accepted the 2011 Hal David Starlight Award.

BMI songwriters took home a remarkable 83% of the BET Awards statuettes handed out Sunday, June 26. Member after member of BMI’s family of songwriter/artists were crowned the year’s best: With four trophies, Chris Brown led the pack, earning Best Male R&B Artist, the fan-voted Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice award and Video of the Year and Best Collaboration for “Look at Me Now,” which features his fellow BMI songwriters Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes. Best Female R&B Artist went to Rihanna, while Nicki Minaj earned the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist crown. Kanye West was named Best Male Hip-Hop Artist, and Diddy Dirty Money scored Best Group honors.

The Band Perry led BMI’s domination of the 2011 MusicRow Awards, also handed out in June in Nashville. The family trio’s wins mark the first time in MusicRow Awards history that one act has walked away with all Breakthrough Songwriter, Song of the Year and Breakthrough Artist honors.

July is already off to a strong start: BMI’s family of jazz songwriters and composers garnered the majority of 59th Annual DownBeat Critics Poll nods, revealed in the magazine’s August issue. From newly minted Hall of Famers Abbey Lincoln and Paul Chambers, to award winners Joe Levano, Kurt Elling, Craig Taborn, Anat Cohen and Darcy James Argue, the honorees underscore the muscle of BMI’s jazz repertoire, which is the home of the genre’s legends and contemporary torchbearers.

The dominance of BMI’s songwriters and composers is truly unparalleled, leading the industry into new creative and commercial heights. Here’s to the next six months.


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