Mariah Big BMI Winner

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(BMI's Vice President Catherine Brewton, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jermaine Dupri, Mariah Carey, Antonio "L.A." Reid & BMI's President & CEO Del Bryant)

U.S. performing rights organization BMI saluted the premier r&b, rap and hip-hop songwriters, producers and publishers at its 6th Annual Urban Awards held Aug. 30 in New York City.

Hosted by BMI President & CEO Del Bryant and Atlanta Writer-Publisher VP Catherine Brewton, the red carpet was hopping at the star-studded ceremony, which took place at the famed Roseland Ballroom. Mariah Carey took home two of the night’s top honors, including Song of the Year for her smash “We Belong Together� and Songwriter of the Year, which she shared with Miami-based producers Bigg D and Jim Jonsin. A highlight of the gala event was a special presentation to prolific songwriting and production team Kenneth “Babyface� Edmonds and Antonio “L.A.� Reid, who were named BMI Icons for their “enduring influence on generations of music makers.�

Other big winners included rapper Kanye West, who earned the Producer of the Year title for the second consecutive year; Warner/Chappell Music Group, named Urban Publisher of the Year; and Jazze Pha’s “1, 2 Step,� which nabbed the BMI Urban Ringtone Award. Executives from music trade magazine Billboard were also on hand to give out No. 1 Awards to the BMI songs that reached the top spot on its urban music charts.

Song of the Year “We Belong Together,� which Carey co-wrote, ruled the top of multiple charts for months after its release in 2005, relaunching the five-octave singer’s career back into superstardom. BMI writers Darnell Bristol, Sid “Uncle Jamz� Johnson, Patrick Moten, Sandra Sully, Bobby Womack and BMI Icon Babyface were also recognized with the Urban Awards’ top song prize, as were the song’s publishers – ABKCO, Ballads by Design, Hip Chic Music, Mister Johnson’s Jams Music, Rye Songs, Songs of Universal, Sony/ATV and Warner-Tamerlane.

As the best-selling female performer of the 1990s, Carey stood apart by composing all her own material, and was twice before named Songwriter of the Year (1993 and 1999). She takes the top songwriter prize for the third time this year by placing three of her own hits on the most-performed list – “Don’t Forget About Us,� “Shake It Off� and “We Belong Together� – all from last year’s comeback release, The Emancipation of Mimi.

Carey, who also wrote 1992’s Pop Song of the Year, “Love Takes Time,� has a total of 23 BMI Awards and 15 “Million-Air� songs that have had one million or more broadcast performances. Sharing the Urban Songwriter of the Year spotlight were producers Bigg D and Jim Jonsin, who also had three songs on the most-played list with the co-writes “Let’s Go� by Trick Daddy (featuring Lil Jon & Twista), and Pretty Ricky’s “Grind With Me� and “Your Body.�
Formerly known as the Unusual Suspects, this Dirty South production duo has been cranking out the hits, LPs, soundtracks and re-mixes for such heavy-hitters as Trick Daddy, Pretty Ricky, Trina, Jacki-O, Cee-Lo and Pitbull since 2000. Multiple Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producers Babyface and L.A. Reid then took the stage to accept their BMI Icon honors.
As co-founders of LaFace, the record label they started in 1989, the longtime writing partners are responsible for launching the careers of such multi-platinum artists as Toni Braxton, TLC, Usher and Pink. With a vast catalog of hits recorded by such A-listers as Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Eric Clapton, Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Outkast, Dido, Ciara, Jay-Z and Songwriter of the Year Mariah Carey, songs penned by Babyface and L.A. have accumulated more than 40 million airplays on American radio and television.

In addition to his behind-the-scenes talent, Babyface has enjoyed his own success as a recording artist, with 11 albums that have produced more than 15 Top 10 hits. He has been named BMI Songwriter of the Year a record seven times (90, 91, 92, 95, 96, 97, 98), more than any other pop writer in the history of the company. They add to the more than 50 BMI Awards displayed on his trophy shelf, which now features his first Urban Award and his third Song of the Year Crystal received tonight as co-writer of “We Belong Together.�

His other Song of the Year awards include Toni Braxton’s “Breathe Again� (1995) and Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You� (1996). This year’s top song win ties him with the Bee Gees as writer of the most Pop Songs of the Year. With his exceptional ability to spot and develop new talent, L.A. Reid is currently Chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group. He also served as President & CEO of Arista Records from 2000 to 2004, and is president of his own publishing company, Hitco Music, which tonight earned a pair of BMI Urban Awards for the Chris Brown smash “Run It!� and Fantasia’s No. 1 hit “Truth Is.� The 18-time BMI Award-winning hitmaker, who in 1990 shared the Pop Songwriter of the Year spotlight with fellow BMI Icon Babyface, most recently guided the release of Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi CD, the mega-selling album that spawned this year’s Song of the Year.

BMI Producer of the Year honors went to Kanye West for the second year in a row for logging the most producer credits on charting songs. The BMI Top Urban Producers list also included Mr. Collipark, Pharrell Williams, Lil Jon, R. Kelly, Sean Garrett, Jazze Pha, Cool & Dre, Rodney Jerkins, and Songwriters of the Year Bigg D and Jim Jonsin. Top producers Sean Garrett, Lil Jon and Andre “Dre� Lyon also made the list of double winners, picking up two BMI Urban Awards apiece, as did The Game and Pretty Ricky members Marcus “Pleasure� Cooper, Corey “Slick’Em� Mathis, Diamond “Baby Blue� Smith, Joseph “Blue� Smith and Spectacular Smith.

Warner/Chappell Music Group was named BMI Urban Publisher of the Year by scoring the highest percentage of copyright ownership in award songs (through its companies Unichappell Music, Inc. and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.). This is the twelfth BMI Publisher Crystal for Warner/Chappell, which boasted eight songs on the most-performed list, including Song of the Year “We Belong Together� and Ringtone Award winner “1, 2 Step.�

Other publishers recognized for multiple award-winning songs were Black Boy Hatchet Music, Dade Co. Project Music, Inc., Dimensional Songs of the Knoll, EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc., Ensign Music LLC, Hitco Music, Jimi Mac Music/OG Music, Rye Songs, Songs of TVT, Sony/ATV Songs LLC, Universal Music Publishing (Irving Music/Songs of Universal, Inc.) and Zomba Songs.

“1, 2 Step,� written by BMI Top 10 Urban Producer Jazze Pha and published by Bubba Gee Music, Noontime Tunes and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., received the BMI Urban Ringtone Award for tallying the most downloads during the award period. In addition to the BMI performance awards, Billboard recognized the BMI-affiliated writers whose songs reached No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Rap Tracks, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Hot 100 charts during the past year. Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,� featuring Jamie Foxx and writing credits by Renald Richard and the late Ray Charles, topped all four charts.

Now marking more than 65 years in business, BMI is an American performing right organization that represents more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and publishers in all genres of music. With a repertoire of more than 6.5 million musical works from around the world, the non-profit-making corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.

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