(L-R): Vice President and General Manager, Writer/Publisher Relations Los Angeles Barbara Cane, BMI Pop Icon Award recipient Carole King, and BMI President and CEO Del Bryant attend the 60th annual BMI Pop Awards. (Photo: Lester Cohen/Wire Image)
It was a big night for singer/songwriter Ester Dean at last evening's 60th annual BMI pop awards. Together with Pitbull and Benny Blanco, the singer/songwriters were named songwriters of the year, each tying with five songs on the year's most-played list. In addition, Dean's composition with Sandy Vee, Katy Perry's "Firework," was crowned song of the year.
Dean's other recognized work included Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" and "Rude Boy" and "S&M" by Rihanna; Blanco's songs included Ke$ha's "Blow" and "We R Who We R" and Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream"; while Pitbull's credits included his "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love Again" with Usher and "I Like It" with Enrique Iglesias.
Songwriter Ester Dean celebrates her victories, which included a share of the BMI Songwriter of the Year Award. (Photo: Lester Cohen/Wire Image)
Universal Music Publishing Group was named publisher of the year, counting ten songs among the year's most performed songs. Capping the evening was the presentation of the BMI Icon Award to legendary singer/songwriter Carole King. Singers Haley Reinhart and Colbie Caillat performed King songs "Beautiful" and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," respectively. And '60s icon Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits turned in a rousing rendition of his group's King-penned hit "I'm into Something Good."
Benny Blanco poses with Ke$ha, for whom he wrote two of his award-winning songs, "Blow" and "We R Who We R." (Photo: Lester Cohen/Wire Image)
Before accepting her award, King was treated to a video tribute from friend and fellow singer/songwriter James Taylor, who was in Munich for a concert. Then she shared a few comments with the audience.
"I just had a hip replacement, as if I wasn't hip enough," she said to audience laughter. "But I'm a songwriter first and last, always a songwriter. I want to acknowledge [former songwriting partner] Gerry Goffin. He's here tonight and that means so much. Also Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil: they made me and Gerry better songwriters. It's all about community; we who write songs are a special community … Let's keep it going."
During the dinner portion of the evening, Billboard caught up with songwriter/producer Evan Bogart. In addition to prepping for season two of his reality show "Majors & Minors," Bogart told Billboard he's about to get the ball rolling on "Spinning Gold," the biopic on his dad -- Neil Bogart -- starring Justin Timberlake. In the meantime, Universal Motown senior VP/Universal Music Publishing Group exec. VP/head of urban music Ethiopia Habtemariam is gearing up for her first Motown release. Out now is "Lazy Love," the debut single from newly minted Motown artist Ne-Yo. It's off the upcoming R.E.D. album, due Sept. 18.
King joins an illustrious group of songwriters to have received the BMI Icon Award, including David Foster, John Fogerty, James Brown, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, Willie Nelson, and Crosby Stills & Nash, among others.
BMI Icon Award winner Carole King celebrates her victory. (Photo: Lester Cohen/Wire Image)