BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) honoured the renowned singer/songwriter Gary Kemp with the BMI Icon Award last night at the 2023 BMI London Awards. Globally acclaimed producer P2J was also honoured with the BMI Impact Award. Throughout the ceremony, BMI paid tribute to UK and European songwriters, producers, composers and publishers of the most-performed songs of the previous year. The private event, held at London’s Savoy Hotel, was hosted by BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill.
Throughout his career as a founding member, primary songwriter and guitarist behind the legendary new wave band, Spandau Ballet, Kemp’s songs have spent a combined total of over 500 weeks on the charts and garnered over 25 million record sales. Some of his accolades include a Q Award, a BRIT Award, an IVOR Novello for Outstanding Song Collection and multiple BMI Awards. After being presented with the honour, Kemp took to the stage, accompanied by Toby Chapman, and performed his classic hit, “True,” which has over 5 million airplays in the US alone and has been featured in more than 100 movies, countless TV shows and advertising campaigns around the globe. It is also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
As a BMI Icon, he joins an elite group of previous recipients including The Bee Gees, Busta Rhymes, Don Black OBE, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ray Davies, John Fogerty, David Foster, Peter Gabriel, Graham Gouldman, The Jacksons, Carole King, Kris Kristofferson, Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, Queen, Nile Rodgers, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Sting, Van Morrison and Brian Wilson, among others.
Globally acclaimed producer P2J was presented with the BMI Impact Award in recognition of his ground-breaking artistry, creative vision and impact on the future of music. As a tribute, Ghanaian group FBS played a medley of some of P2J’s biggest hits including, “Essence” by Wizkid featuring Tems, “Brown Skin Girl” by Beyonce, SAINt JHN, and Wizkid, “Anybody” by Burna Boy, and more. In receiving this award, he joins previous recipients Tems, RAYE, Arlo Parks and Ice Spice. Upon being presented with the award, P2J said, “When I was growing up as a kid it wasn’t cool to be African. When I started making Afro beats in 2009…I remember people saying, ‘that’s not going to hit right now’… and just said, ‘I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you… I just knew that the sound needed to be heard out there in the world.’”
Song of the Year went to “Woman” performed and co-written by Doja Cat along with songwriters Aaron Horn, Jidenna and Linden Jay, who also produced the smash hit. This award is given to the most performed song of the previous year by UK or European writers in the BMI catalogue. “Woman” spent an incredible 52 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and 29 weeks on the Billboard Rhythmic Airplay chart peaking at No. 1 where it stayed for five weeks.
Among the multiple Million-Air awards presented throughout the evening were Sting’s “Every Breath You Take” with 18 million performances and “Everything She Does Is Magic” received 10 million performances, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison has 14 million performances and “Your Song” by Elton John has 11 million performances.
Alongside the BMI Icon Award, BMI Impact Award, Million-Air Awards and Song of the Year, awards for Pop, Dance, Film, Television and Cable and Streaming were also presented throughout the ceremony.
A complete list of 2023 winners will soon be available on BMI.com and to download high-resolution photos and video footage, please click https://publicity.gettyimages.com/event/2023-bmi-london-awards.