Former EMI Music Publishing President Jon Platt, ASCAP Vice President of Membership, Rhythm and Soul Nicole George, rapper Fabolous, ASCAP's Brandon Kitchen. (Photo: Frank Micelotta)
It was a fitting conclusion to a 17-year career chapter.
After announcing his resignation earlier this week, EMI Music Publishing president of North America creative Jon Platt accepted the company's publisher of the year award at ASCAP's Rhythm & Soul Music Awards (June 29). The nod marked EMI's 18th consecutive win and 20th time in the ceremony's 25-year history.
The award was presented by ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento and VP of Rhythm & Soul membership Nicole George, who noted Platt's reputation as an "ally for artists' rights" and the "indelible mark he's left on R&B and hip-hop," respectively. During his EMI tenure, Platt signed such songwriter talents as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye West, Usher, Ludacris and Rick Ross.
From a ballroom stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., Platt first thanked "all the songwriters and artists who helped make this possible. I'm kind of bugged out that someone who doesn't write the songs is getting a standing ovation."
ASCAP Executive Vice President Randy Grimmett, producer and ASCAP Golden Note Award recipient Pharrell Williams and ASCAP Vice President of Membership, Rhythm and Soul Nicole George. (Photo: Frank Micelotta)
Calling his years at EMI a great joy, Platt added that his career "is a book. This has been a long chapter and now it's time for a new one." Though he offered no hint as to where he's headed next, speculation about Platt's future gig filtered into the cocktail chatter at the pre-awards reception. Chief ideas as to his next stop: Warner/Chappell and RocNation.
Also highlighting the evening were special awards given to songwriter/producer Pharrell Williams and the legendary Quincy Jones. Williams received the Golden Note Award; Jones was given the Founders Award. Platt presented the award to Williams, who said, "Jon really is Phil Jackson to us writers." Then added, "I'm humbled to be in this room speckled with such creative talent -- [Neptunes partner] Chad Hugo and I never thought what we were doing would turn into all of this."
ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP Founders Award recipient Quincy Jones and actor Sidney Poitier. (Photo: Frank Micelotta)
Before accepting his honor from Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and ASCAP president/chairman Paul Williams, Jones was feted by a musical tribute featuring Marsha Ambrosius and Tyrese singing the producer's hit "Secret Garden." During his acceptance speech, the 79-year-old talked about everything from his 55 years with ASCAP and teaching music's up-and-coming "young homies" to Pharrell Williams' eclectic -- non-black-tie-suggested -- attire. "Don't stop till you get enough," Jones advised the audience. "Work hard and party hard -- live your life."
Earlier in the evening, the songwriters and publishers of the most performed songs in 2011 were recognized. Canadian producer Noah "40" Shebib was named songwriter of the year. His 2011 credits include Drake's "Headlines." Rounding out the ceremony were top song awards. Top R&B/hip-hop song went to Miguel's "Sure Thing," top rap song to Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes and top gospel song to Kirk Franklin's "I Smile."