The songwriting/production team of Christopher "Tricky" Stewart & The-Dream tied for songwriter of the year honors with fellow songwriting/production duo Stargate (Tor Hermansen & Mikkel Eriksen) at the 22nd annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards.
Among the other top honorees announced this evening (June 26) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles were publisher of the year (EMI Music Publishing, repeating last year's win), top R&B/hip-hop song (Alicia Keys' Like You'll Never See Me Again"), top rap song ("Lollipop" by Lil Wayne featuring Static Major) and top gospel song ("I Trust You" by James Fortune & FIYA).
Stewart and The-Dream were recognized for their work on five songs, including "Just Fine" by Mary J. Blige, "Touch My Body" by Mariah Carey and "I Luv Your Girl" by The-Dream. Among the five songs earning kudos for Stargate are "Miss Independent" by Ne-Yo, "Spotlight" by Jennifer Hudson and "Take a Bow" by Rihanna. Last year's top songwriter award was given to songwriter/producer/artist Timbaland.
Highlighting the evening were special presentations to R&B legend Smokey Robinson and Alicia Keys. Robinson was honored with ASCAP's Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award, co-presented by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, singer/songwriters Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson and ASCAP president/chairman Paul Williams. Moving performances by Ne-Yo, Kelly Price, new J Records artist CJ and Australian vocal group Human Nature rounded out the Robinson tribute. The singer joins such previous Heritage Award honorees as Earth, Wind & Fire and Bill Withers.
"I find it ironic to get awards for doing something I absolutely love," Robinson told billboard.biz before the awards ceremony. In regards to this year's 50th anniversary celebration of his former label home Motown, Robinson noted, "Never in a million years did any of us think we'd be celebrating 50 years. All of us just wanted to make not only black music but great, quality music. That's what we set out to do and we accomplished it. Those 50 years went by overnight."
Singer/songwriter Alicia Keys received the night's other special award, ASCAP's Golden Note Award. Presented by ASCAP's Williams, the award recognizes songwriters, composers and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones. Past recipients include Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Quincy Jones." Performing in honor of Keys was 11-year-old musical prodigy Gabby Wilson. Keys also took home three additional awards including the aforementioned top R&B/hip-hop song.
Also performing during the ceremony were gospel artist James Fortune, hip-hop group GS Boyz and Def Jam newcomer Jeremih.