BMI today announced that Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet will be named a BMI Icon at the 2023 BMI London Awards held October 2 at The Savoy Hotel. The renowned singer/songwriter and accomplished actor will be honoured for his illustrious career and enduring musical contributions which have inspired legions of fans and music creators around the world. In addition, globally acclaimed producer Richard “P2J” Isong will receive the BMI Impact Award, a recognition given for ground-breaking artistry, creative vision and impact on the future of music. This marks the first time a producer has received this honour. The private event will be hosted by BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill.
“We’re in for an exciting night celebrating our BMI family of UK and European songwriters, composers and music publishers,” said O’Neill. “We’re thrilled to pay tribute to the legendary Gary Kemp in recognition of his incredible creative accomplishments. His timeless songs have reached multiple generations, leaving a lasting impression on the world of entertainment, and inspired many to follow in his footsteps. We’re also honoured to present P2J with the BMI Impact Award. His work is a testament to the unifying power of music in bridging cultures and captivating audiences worldwide. We look forward to celebrating all the 2023 BMI London Award winners with a fantastic evening of music. It’s going to be a night to remember.”
The ceremony also pays tribute to the UK and European songwriters and publishers of the previous year’s most-performed songs on US streaming, radio and television from BMI’s repertoire of over 20.6 million musical works. The Million-Air Awards, Song of the Year, and awards for Pop, Film, Television and Cable Television Music will also be presented throughout the evening.
With a career spanning more than 40 years, Gary Kemp is one of the most successful songwriters to come out of the New Romantic era in British pop music history. As a founding member and guitarist for 80’s supergroup Spandau Ballet, Kemp wrote the lyrics and music for all the band’s 23 hit singles, including the massive pop mainstays “True” and “Gold,” as well as classics “Through the Barricades,” “Only When You Leave,” “To Cut a Long Story Short” and “Chant No. 1,” to name a few. His songs have been featured in over 100 films, countless TV shows, and advertising campaigns around the globe, and speaking to the longevity of his music, 2023 marks the 40th Anniversary of the smash hit “True,” which has received over five million airplays in North America alone. In addition, his timeless songs have been sampled by many artists, including the Backstreet Boys, PM Dawn, Nelly, Paul Anka, Rui da Silva and Lloyd. As a solo artist, Kemp has released two albums for Columbia Records, Little Bruises (1995) and Insolo (2021). He’s also written two musicals with Guy Pratt, with whom he currently co-hosts a popular podcast called the Rockonteurs, and for the last five years, Kemp has toured the world with Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason’s band, Saucerful of Secrets, as co-lead singer and guitarist.
Beyond his work in music, Kemp is an accomplished actor and author. He’s appeared in several films, including the successful British crime thriller “The Krays” and the Hollywood blockbuster “The Bodyguard.” In 2009, he authored the critically acclaimed autobiography I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau.
Among his accolades, Kemp has received a Q Award, a BRIT Award, an IVOR Novello for Outstanding Song Collection and five BMI Awards. As a BMI Icon, he joins an elite group of previous recipients including The Bee Gees, Busta Rhymes, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ray Davies, John Fogerty, David Foster, Peter Gabriel, the Jacksons, Carole King, Kris Kristofferson, Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, Queen, Nile Rodgers, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Sting, Van Morrison and Brian Wilson, among others.
In addition to honouring Kemp, Richard “P2J” Isong will be recognised with the BMI Impact Award for the influence he’s made on the future of music. In receiving this honour, he joins previous winners Tems, RAYE and Arlo Parks.
For the past decade, P2J has established himself as an in-demand and influential producer through his work with global chart-topping artists such as Beyoncé, Burna Boy, Doja Cat, Gorillaz, Ed Sheeran and WizKid, among others. He’s known for developing raw talent and helping artists find their sound through his ability to work seamlessly across multiple genres, including pop, grime, rap and Afrobeats, weaving emotion and rhythm into each creation. He’s received multiple accolades, including GRAMMY, Soul Train and BMI awards, and his music has amassed over a billion streams.