BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) paid tribute to the best in songwriting at the 70TH Annual BMI Pop Awards held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Legendary music creators Carole Bayer Sager and Mike Stoller were named BMI Icons, celebrating their indelible and timeless contributions to the art of songwriting. In addition, BMI’s Pop Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year and BMI’s top 50 most-performed pop songs in the U.S. of the previous year were also announced. The private event was hosted by BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill and Vice President Worldwide Creative Barbara Cane.
The celebration opened with students from USC Thornton School of Music performing a medley in honor of the night’s BMI Icons, Carole Bayer Sager and Mike Stoller. The talented ensemble, led by program chair Patrice Rushen, performed selections of the Icons’ biggest hits including, “Hound Dog,” “Yakety Yak,” “Poison Ivy” and “Stand By Me,” written by Stoller and “Best That You Can Do (Arthur’s Theme),” “The Prayer” and “That’s What Friends Are For” by Sager.
GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Ledisi also paid tribute to the illustrious career of Carole Bayer Sager with a powerful performance of her 1977 hit, “Nobody Does It Better.” Some of Sager’s other incomparable songs include “On My Own,” “A Groovy Kind of Love,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and more. She’s worked with the biggest stars in music including Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand, among countless others. Her work has earned her many of the industry’s top accolades such as a GRAMMY Award, an Oscar, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and 26 BMI Awards. After being named a BMI Icon, Sager said, “songwriting has rewarded me throughout my entire life…I wrote in my memoir that songwriting not only gave me my life but saved my life.” She went on to say, “the greatest gift of all is the realization that we are all connected, and it’s music that bridges people all over the world.”
Americana music star Anderson East took to the stage to honor world-renowned songwriter Mike Stoller, with a moving rendition of his iconic hit “Stand By Me.” As one half of the renowned songwriting team, Leiber & Stoller, Mike Stoller composed some of the most beloved selections from the American canon, including perennial classics like “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “On Broadway” and hundreds more that have helped shape the course of popular music. Stoller has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and shares a star with Leiber on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He’s won a GRAMMY Award, the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and an impressive 57 BMI Awards, among many others. On being honored as a BMI Icon, Stoller said, “I’m just delighted, honored and thrilled, and I only wish my late partner Jerry Leiber was here to accept such an award as well. He would have loved it.”
Sager and Stoller join an elite group of songwriters who have been honored with BMI’s highest accolade, including Mann & Weil, Sting, Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson, The Bee Gees, Brian Wilson, Carlos Santana, Carole King, Crosby, Stills & Nash, David Foster, Dolly Parton, the Jacksons, John Fogerty, Merle Haggard, Nile Rodgers, Paul Simon and Stevie Nicks, among others.
Throughout the ceremony, the 50 most-performed pop songs of the previous year in the U.S. were also revealed, leading up to BMI’s Pop Song of the Year, which went to “Mood” by 24kGoldn, Iann Dior, Omer Fedi, KBeaZy and Blake Slatkin. The massive hit was certified 5x platinum by the RIAA and spent eight weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and 35 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot Rock and Alternative chart.
BMI’s Pop Songwriter of the Year was a tie between Omer Fedi and Michael Pollack with each writing four of the most performed songs. In addition to the BMI Song of the Year “Mood,” Fedi co-wrote “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name)” (co-written with Denzel Baptiste and David Biral of "Take a Daytrip," Roy Lenzo and Lil Nas X), “Stay” (co-written with Cashmere Cat, Isaac "Zac" De Boni, Haan, The Kid LAROI, Michael "Finatik" Mulé, Charlie Puth and Blake Slatkin) and “WITHOUT YOU/WITHOUT YOU (Remix)” (co-written by The Kid LAROI and Blake Slatkin, with Miley Cyrus contributing to the remix). Pollack was honored for his hand in co-writing “Anyone” (co-written with Raul Cubina, Jordan K. Johnson and Andrew Watt), “Daisies” (co-written with Jordan K. Johnson), “Holy” (co-written with Chance the Rapper, Anthony M. Jones and Jorgen Odegard), and “Nobody's Love” (co-written with Nija Charles, Brandon "B HAM" Hamlin, Jordan K. Johnson and Ryan Ogren).
Both Sony Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing Group tied for the honor of Publisher of the Year, each representing 28 of the previous year’s most performed songs.
BMI also welcomed 60 first time Pop Award winners including D’Mile (“Leave the Door Open”), GIVĒON (“Peaches”), Megan Thee Stallion (“Beautiful Mistakes”) and Tia Tia (“My Head & My Heart”), to name just a few. For a full list of the 2022 honorees, visit bmi.com/pop2022, and to join the conversation on social media, follow us @BMI and use #BMIPopAwards.