The ASCAP Foundation has announced the recipients of the inaugural Peggy Lee Songwriter Award, an honor created to mark the centennial of the extraordinary artist while nurturing the careers of promising new songwriters. Co-writers of the winning song “Fake ID,” ASCAP members Michael Blum and Jenna Lotti are the first to receive the prestigious recognition.
Michael Blum is a producer, guitarist, and singer-songwriter. After being named the “Rising Star” guitarist in Downbeat Magazine's 63rd Annual Critics Poll, Blum released his debut solo EP, The Reservoir, combining his jazz background with his love for contemporary songwriting. With the initial success of his solo project, he relocated to Los Angeles in 2019 and partnered with management company Fire Tower Entertainment. Since then, Blum has co-written and produced singles for artists including WESLEY, Jenna Lotti, Jake Clark, Michelle Ray and Sophie Ann, which have been featured in Billboard, Hollywood Life, PopDust as well as on numerous digital music service editorial playlists.
Jenna Lotti, a singer-songwriter originally from Milton, MA, began writing poetry to cope with her emotions as a teenager and later those poems became songs. She is uniquely open about her struggles with anxiety and depression. After years of touring and releasing music on the East Coast, she moved to Los Angeles and landed a spot on season two of NBC’s hit show Songland, where she pitched her original song "Sad Girl" to Julia Michaels. She has been featured in Billboard, American Songwriter, Earmilk and LadyGunn and has opened for Dan + Shay, Barns Courtney and Hunter Hayes.
Peggy Lee helped redefine what it meant to be a female singer and, over the course of her seven-decade career, wrote over 200 songs including several modern-day standards. Dubbed “the female Frank Sinatra” by Tony Bennett, her quietly captivating voice and enchanting lyrics continue to resonate with audiences of all ages. Highlights of Lee’s songwriting catalog are “It’s a Good Day,” “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” “I Love Being Here with You” and “Mañana.” Along with Sonny Burke, she also wrote all of the original songs for Disney’s 1955 animated classic Lady and the Tramp, including beloved favorites “He’s a Tramp” and “Bella Notte.” A notable lyricist, Lee frequently collaborated with fellow songwriters including Harold Arlen, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Sonny Burke, Johnny Mandel, Marian McPartland, Dave Grusin and Victor Young. Her songs have been covered by industry greats such as Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland.
Lee’s granddaughter Holly Foster Wells worked with The ASCAP Foundation to create this unique opportunity for up-and-coming songwriters. The Peggy Lee Songwriter Award will annually recognize an ASCAP or unaffiliated songwriter who demonstrates intelligent use of language, talent and career potential. Qualified award recipients must not be signed to a major publishing deal and provide an original song that has never been commercially recorded. The program provides winners with a cash award and the opportunity to engage with a music executive mentor.
The ASCAP songwriter judges for the 2020 competition were Pat Alger, Marcy Heisler and Autumn Rowe.