Event: 2009 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards

by Todd Parker

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Written by Todd Parker for THE ARTISTS FORUM MAGAZINE
Edited by
Amos White V for THE ARTISTS FORUM, INC
Photos:
Lester Cohen – Courtesy of ASCAP

REVIEWER RATINGS:
5 out of 5 stars

2009 ASCAP RHYTHM & SOUL MUSIC AWARDS
ASCAP honors Smokey Robinson, Alicia Keys, and other top songwriters and publishers of 2008

BEVERLY HILLS, CA (June 27, 2009) ASCAP honored many top ranking artists on June 26th at the 22nd Annual ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA for their achievements in songwriting. A well publicized industry event, I arrived at the Hilton to a frenzied crowd of reporters waiting to sign in.

 (L-R) ASCAP Golden Note Award honoree Alicia Keys with ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award honoree Smokey Robinson
(L-R) ASCAP Golden Note Award honoree Alicia Keys with ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award honoree Smokey Robinson
 (L-R) ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP Golden Note Award honoree Alicia Keys; ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award honoree Smokey Robinson
(L-R) ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP Golden Note Award honoree Alicia Keys; ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award honoree Smokey Robinson

But, with passing of music legend Michael Jackson the day before, what was supposed to be a celebration of the musical accomplishments of artists such as James Fortune, C. “Tricky” Stewart, Smokey Robinson, and Alicia Keys was overcome with a feeling of loss.

As the top honored guests began to arrive there was a slight change of mood. Lights came on, cameras flashed, and the crowd began to roar as Smokey Robinson entered the red carpet. By this time, there was a line of stargazers parked outside the wall of windows, trying to catch glances of celebrities through the barrier of reporters and film crews.

 (L-R) The Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento
(L-R) The Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento
(L-R) ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams; ASCAP Golden Note Award honoree Alicia Keys; Nicole George - Assistant Vice President of Membership – Rhythm & Soul, ASCAP
(L-R) ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams; ASCAP Golden Note Award honoree Alicia Keys; Nicole George – Assistant Vice President of Membership – Rhythm & Soul, ASCAP

As Smokey Robinson made his way towards me I realized that even though the mood had become less somber, the news of Michael Jackson was not out of anyone’s mind; everyone was curious about how the guests and honorees might see music progressing in the future.

When asked about the media’s coverage of the loss of the King of Pop, Smokey Robinson replied, “The coverage is due.” He explained that Michael Jackson had given his whole life to making music for the public, so a couple days of 24 hour coverage was anything but excessive. Jackson “always had the moves [and] changed music,” said Robinson. Though Smokey was to receive ASCAP’s Rhythm and Soul Heritage award for his influence on the legacy of music, there were minimal questions directed at his musical contributions.

ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award honoree Smokey Robinson
ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award honoree Smokey Robinson

As the night progressed the questions gradually moved towards the artists and their music. When asked about the journey leading to winning an award for A Milli, Bangladesh replied, “It’s a blessing, a long time coming… persistence.” However, the questions quickly returned to Michael Jackson. When asked about the subject, Bangladesh replied that while Jackson was an icon, “Everyone passes away, that’s what life is.”

Though music has lost an innovator, the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards help us recognize that music will continue to grow. No one can take the place of Michael Jackson, but there were a number of artists at the event that can help to fill the void. 

For more information about the Music Award, visit: ascap.com/press/2009/0626_rhythmsoul.aspx

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