EMI, Rico Love, 'Need You Now' Win Big at 2011 SESAC Awards -- Check Out Photos
EMI, Rico Love, 'Need You Now' Win Big at 2011 SESAC Awards -- Check Out Photos

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Winning Smiles: President COO of SESAC Pat Collins, Award Winners Bryan-Michael Cox, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, Rico Love and Swizz Beatz at the 2011 SESAC Awards (Photo: Johnny Nunez)

NEW YORK - EMI Foray Music and songwriters Rico Love and Hillary Scott were big winners at Wednesday night's SESAC Awards, taking home Publisher of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year (for Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now") respectively.

The ceremony, held at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Building on Manhattan's West side, were attended by artists like Scott, Swizz Beatz and Chrisette Michele, songwriters Bryan-Michael Cox (Monica's "Love All Over Me") and Angela Hunte (Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind") and executives including Universal Motown head Sylvia Rhone, Glassnote's Daniel Glass.

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Sealed With a Kiss: Song of the Year Award Winner Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and Songwriter of the Year Rico Love kiss their awards (Photo: Johnny Nunez)

The evening also featured a special tribute to blues icon Robert Johnson, a SESAC artist since 2002 (the 100th anniversary Johnson's birth was this past Sunday). A plaque was presented to Johnson's grandson, Michael Johnson, and singer/guitarist Ronny Drayton (who, interestingly, plays left-handed with his guitar strung upside-down) performed a stirring, heartfelt version of Johnson's "Love in Vain."

Rhone honored Rico Love - who was being recognized for songs like Usher's "There Goes My Baby," Diddy-Dirty Money's "Hello Good Morning," Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams" -- in an introductory speech, calling him "a consummate music man - and I'm not talking about an average guy. He writes those sexy, sultry, make-me-wanna-have-a-baby songs." She also boasted that she has another Love chart-topper on the way in the form of Kelly Rowland's "Motivation."

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President of Universal Motown Sylvia Rhone with Songwriter of the Year Award Winner Rico Love (Photo:Shawn Ehlers)

Love was also honored in a video from longtime collaborator Usher, currently on his "OMG" tour, who signed Love to his US label in the early 2000s. Usher congratulated Love on his Songwriter of the Year win ("not like I didn't know it") and closing by saying "with your talent, you touched the world."

In accepting his honors, Love thanked Jesus, his parents, management, friends and family, and recalled a conversation with Usher back when he was first starting out as an "obnoxious, arrogant" rapper. Love recalled making a ruckus when he hadn't received the riches he'd expected after first being signed. Usher sat him down and said, "I can give you money but you'll just spend it - instead I can give you a career, because I see something special in you." Usher gave Love a song to work on - and that song became "Throwback," from Usher's massive-selling 2004 LP "Confessions," which effectively launched Love's career as a songwriter.

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SESAC Chairman Ira Smith, SESAC Chief Executive Officer Stephen Swid, President of Universal Motown Sylvia Rhone and SESAC SVP Songwriter/Publisher Relations Trevor Gale at 2011 SESAC Awards (Photo: Shawn Ehlers)

SESAC 2011 Winners:

Songwriter of the Year: Rico Love

Song of the Year: "Need You Now" (Written by Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott)

Publisher of the Year: EMI Foray Music

SESAC's TOP SONGS OF 2011:

"Just A Dream"
Written by Rico Love
Published by EMI Foray Music, Rico Love Is Still A Rapper
Recorded by Nelly

"Need You Now"
Written by Hillary Scott
Published by EMI Foray Music, Hillary Dawn Songs
Recorded by Lady Antebellum

"Empire State of Mind"
Written by Angela Hunte
Published by EMI Foray Music, Masani El Shabazz
Recorded by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys

"There Goes My Baby"
Written by Rico Love
Published by EMI Foray Music, Rico Love Is Still A Rapper
Recorded by Usher

"Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)"
Written by Rico Love
Published by EMI Foray Music, Rico Love Is Still A Rapper
Recorded by Usher Feat. Plies

"What's My Name"
Written by Traci Hale
Published by Hale Yeah Music
Recorded by Rihanna Feat. Drake
"Sweet Dreams"
Written by Rico Love
Published by EMI Foray Music, Rico Love Is Still A Rapper
Recorded by Beyoncé

"It Kills Me"
Written by Jay Fenix
Published by UfeelJ Publishing, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Melanie Fiona

"Glitter In The Air"
Written by Billy Mann
Published by Sony/ATV Sounds LLC, Turtle Victory
Recorded by Pink

"Love All Over Me"
Written by Bryan Michael Cox
Published by Noontime South Inc., Songs In The Key Of B Flat, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Monica

"Sober"
Written by Nate "Danja" Hills
Published by Danjahandz Muzik, WBM Music Corp
Recorded by Pink

"Fancy"
Written by Swizz Beatz
Published by Avenue Beatz Music, Monza Ronza, Universal Tunes
Recorded by Drake Feat. T.I.

"Knock You Down"
Written by Nate "Danja" Hills
Published by Danjahandz Muzik
Recorded by Keri Hilson Feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo

"I Run To You"
Written by Hillary Scott
Published by EMI Foray Music, Hillary Dawn Songs
Recorded by Lady Antebellum

"Aston Martin Music"
Written by Chrisette Michele
Published by Chrisette Michele LLC, EMI Foray Music, Four Kings Publishing
Recorded by Rick Ross Feat. Drake & Chrisette Michele

"Ain't Leavin Without You"
Written by Bale'wa Muhammad
Published by Jahqae Joints, Universal Tunes
Recorded by Jaheim

"Hello Good Morning"
Written by Nate "Danja" Hills, Rico Love
Published by Danjahandz Muzik, EMI Foray Music, Rico Love Is Still A Rapper
Recorded by Diddy Dirty Money

"I Wanna Rock"
Written by Scoop Deville
Published by Elijah Molina Publishing
Recorded by Snoop Dogg

"On To The Next One" Written by Swizz Beatz
Published by Monza Ronza, Universal Tunes
Recorded by Jay-Z feat. Swizz Beatz

"Little Lion Man" Written by Edward Dwane, Benjamin Lovett, Winston Marshall, Marcus Mumford
Published by Universal Tunes Recorded by Mumford & Sons

"Your Decision"
Written by Jerry Cantrell
Published by Roosters Son Publishing
Recorded by Alice In Chains

"Letting Go (Dutty Love)" Written by Traci Hale
Published by Hale Yeah Music, peertunes Ltd.
Recorded by Sean Kingston feat. Nicki Minaj

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