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Jermaine Dupri and Alicia Keys were named Songwriters of the Year at the 18th Annual ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. Over 600 music and entertainment luminaries gathered to celebrate some of today's most popular music as awards were presented to the songwriters and publishers of the top ASCAP songs on the 2004 R&B, Hip-Hop and Rap charts. Songwriters and super-producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were honored with the prestigious ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award, which is given to members who have had a major impact on the legacy of Rhythm and Soul music.
Two new awards were introduced at tonight's ceremony -- Top Gospel Artist of the Year, and the Jamster sponsored "Top Ringtone Song of the Year." Grammy winning EMI Gospel recording artist Smokie Norful, who opened the show with a stirring performance of the song "Power," was presented with the Top Gospel Artist of the Year Award. Top Ringtone Song of the Year went to "In Da Club," written by
50 Cent, Dr. Dre, and Mike Elizondo. ASCAP was the first U.S. performing rights organization to license and distribute royalties to its songwriter members for ringtone performances.
Among the honorees and notables attending the elegantly attired celebration were
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Jermaine Dupri, Alicia Keys, Paula Abdul, Clarence Avant, Big Boi of OutKast, Jerome Benton (formerly of The Time), Terrell Carter, Chingy, Ciara, DJ Quik, Faith Evans, Free and A.J. of BET's 106th & Park, Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Everette Harp, India.Arie, Janet Jackson, Kenny Lattimore, Leon, Lil' Mo, Loon, Ludacris, MC Lyte, Marcus Miller, Chante Moore, Mya, Smokie Norful, Petey Pablo, Kim Porter, Kelly Price, Teddy Riley, Holly Robinson Peete & Rodney Peete, Donnie Simpson, The Game, The Underdogs, The Youngbloodz, Timbaland, Twista, Nancy Wilson, and more.
With four award-winning songs apiece, Jermaine Dupri and Alicia Keys shared the enviable Songwriter of the Year Award. Recently recognized with the prestigious Golden Note Award at the 2005 ASCAP Pop Music Awards, Dupri has a keen eye for spotting talent and a natural instinct for writing and producing hit songs. He was honored for "Burn," "Confessions Part II," "My Boo" and "U Should've Known Better." As a multi-talented singer, songwriter, pianist and producer, Keys possesses the innate ability to channel raw emotions into captivating songs that are both universal in sentiment and spirit. She was honored for the songs: "Diary," "If I Ain't Got You," "My Boo" and "You Don't Know My Name." Keys also collected the award for Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song of the Year for "If I Ain't Got You."
A special highlight of the evening was the presentation of the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award to Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis in recognition of their outstanding contributions as songwriters, producers and musical innovators whose artistry and humanity continue to influence and inspire the world of music. Renowned industry executive and one of the most influential African Americans in entertainment business history, Clarence Avant, joined ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento on stage to present the award.
Jam & Lewis join an elite group of legendary artists who have received the coveted ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award that includes Peabo Bryson, Earth, Wind and Fire, Rick James, and Chaka Khan.
As part of a musical tribute to Jam & Lewis, India.Arie performed the song "Eyes of the Heart" from the 2003 movie Radio, which she co-wrote with Jam & Lewis, James Horner and Jim "Big Jim" Wright. Music Director Michael Bearden led an all-star band, which featured Everette Harp, Kelly Price, and Terrell Carter performing Jam & Lewis songs.
Publisher of the Year honors were presented for the twelfth time to EMI Music Publishing for their 19 award-winning songs. ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento presented the award to EMI Chairman and CEO Martin Bandier who was joined on stage by members of his creative team.
Sean Paul was named Top Reggae Artist of the Year, and was also honored for his award-winning song "I'm Still In Love With You" featuring Sasha.
Top Soundtrack Song of the Year honors went to "Runnin' (Dying To Live)" from TUPAC: RESURRECTION by Tupac featuring The Notorious B.I.G. written by Easy Mo Bee, Luis Resto, Tupac Shakur, and Notorious B.I.G. On hand to collect the award were writer Easy Mo Bee, Voletta Wallace, the mother of The Notorious B.I.G., and on behalf of Tupac was Dina Taylor of Amaru Entertainment.
Terror Squad's "Lean Back" written by Remy Ma and Scott Storch was named Top Rap Song of the Year. The song was also recognized in the R&B/Hip-Hop category.
Among the songwriters with multiple award-winning songs were: Jermaine Dupri and Alicia Keys with four; La Marquis Jefferson, Ludacris, Usher and Kanye West with three each; and 50 Cent, Sean Garrett, Petey Pablo, Luis Resto, Scott Storch, Timbaland, and Twista with two each.
ASCAP would like to thank our sponsors