Brian Wilson, The Roots, Chaka Khan Get Jazzy For Inaugural Blue Note Fest
Brian Wilson, The Roots, Chaka Khan Get Jazzy For Inaugural Blue Note Fest

Chaka Khan's scorching performance of "Through the Fire" sparked last evening's (May 17) musical salute to BMI Icon David Foster. The songwriter/producer/musician/arranger was feted during the organization's 59th annual Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

The singer's performance of her own Foster-produced hit drew a standing ovation from the industry audience as did singers Cody Karey and Delta Goodrum's stirring take on "The Prayer," originally recorded by Celine Dion and Josh Groban. Rounding out the salute to the 15-time Grammy Award-winning Foster were Brian McKnight, who sang the Earth, Wind & Fire hit "After the Love Is Gone," and Keri Hilson who delivered the Whitney Houston classic "I Have Nothing."

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Twenty-two of Foster's songs have generated more than 1 million performances. Chicago's "You're the Inspiration" and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" -- both written by the honoree -- have racked up more than 5 million each. Foster's acceptance was both entertaining and illuminating. Looking over the audience, he said, "I feel so uncomfortable taking up so much of your time tonight. Now I know what my funeral will look like … pretty good."

Foster, who's now with Universal after 26 years with Warner Bros., emphasized the "music business is alive and thriving," then offered up 10 rules for songwriters and producers to live by. Among those: save your money; don't get married unless you really want to; be on time because it's a powerful weapon and make decisions like you have $1 million in the bank even if you have nothing. The rule that elicited the most applause: try to be genuinely happy for someone else's success. It's good karma."

Among others honored for placing songs on BMI's 50 most-performed songs of the past year were Jim Jonsin (Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams") and singer Colbie Caillat ("I Never Told You," "Fallin' For You"). Jonsin, one of several producer mentors on this year's season of "American Idol," told Billboard he's enjoying his "Idol" stint. "I want to play a part in helping people write and sing songs that move away from the lucky single" syndrome, he says..


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In addition to Kelly Rowland's current hit single, "Motivation," Jonsin says his four songs into B.o.B's next album, gearing up to work with Justin Bieber and Usher and is also busy developing two new singers he's discovered. He's also nearing completion on his own Florida studio to be christened Parkland Playhouse.

Caillat is gearing up for the release of her next album, "All of You." Due out July 12, it will be preceded on May 24 by lead single "Brighter Than the Sun" with Ryan Tedder. Also appearing on the album with be a track she did with rapper Common and Tedder, "Favorite Song."


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