BMI Pop Awards: Mark Ronson Honored as a 'Champion,' Justin Tranter and Sony/ATV Win Big

Mark Ronson
Rich Polk/Getty Images for BMI

Mark Ronson attends 66th Annual BMI Pop Awards at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on May 8, 2018 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Songwriter of the year Justin Tranter calls on the music community to help "end gun violence"; Sony/ATV named publisher of the year and "Shape of You" wins song of the year.

Producer, songwriter and DJ Mark Ronson was presented with the BMI Champion Award at the the BMI Pop Awards.

The 66th annual ceremony, held last evening (May 8), also named Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You" as the song of the year (co-written by Sheeran and Johnny McDaid), Justin Tranter as songwriter of the year and Sony/ATV Music Publishing as publisher of the year. The latter represented 26 of the top 50 most performed songs of the previous year.

Tranter, co-writer of Imagine Dragon’s "Believer," Maroon 5’s "Cold" featuring Future, Linkin Park’s "Heavy" and Juliana Michaels' “Issues,” marked his second consecutive nod as songwriter of the year. After accepting his award, Tranter challenged the music community to work together to end gun violence.

"It wouldn't be me if I didn’t say something political," said Tranter, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words. "We can end gun violence."

To growing applause, Tranter continued, asking everyone to join the music council he now heads for the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety.

"Music changes culture, culture changes politics and politics changes the world," he added. "Our job is to change culture because we make music. The gun violence situation in this country is fucking insane. Us in the music business have a responsibility to lead this culture and end gun violence now. It is possible and we can do it. There’s no reason to make money or win awards unless we’re going to change the f@*king world."

Honored for his creative accomplishments, philanthropic endeavors and support of the next generation of music creatives, Ronson shared that he chose BMI at an early age after looking at the back of a Wu Tang record.

"To get this award in a roomful of songwriters who make shit that I really like and love is great," said Ronson before thanking his family and other industry colleagues. "I've been in the room with some incredibly special and talented people like Bruno Mars, Amy Winehouse and [songwriter/producer] Jeff Bhasker who have inspired me to pull something out of me to try and be great. And along the way you learn to get in where you fit in. I couldn't love anything more than that feeling that you've made a piece of music that you’re so psyched about. For better or for worse, I don’t know how to do anything else -- and I don't want to do anything else."

Ronson was saluted throughout the evening by video tributes featuring notables such as Quincy Jones, Ellen DeGeneres, Nile Rodgers, Boy George, Pharrell Williams, Dua Lipa, Troye Sivan, Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire and Sir Paul McCartney (who described Ronson in three words “F#*k King Great”). This was the first time that the Champion Award was presented at the BMI Pop Awards, with Ronson now joining previous recipients including singer/rapper Residente, country star Keith Urban, singer/songwriter Lee Thomas Miller and Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA).

Ronson later brought two of his proteges to the stage, King Princess and Yebba. The former, backed by Ronson on guitar, performed a medley of Ronson hits including “Somebody to Love Me,” “Ooh Wee,” “Joanne,” “Uptown Funk” and “Bang Bang Bang.” Yebba earned a standing ovation following her stirring interpretation of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.”

The members of Linkin Park—Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson and the late Chester Bennington—were also saluted for earning the group’s 14th BMI Award with the hit song “Heavy.”

Hosted by BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI VP Worldwide Creative Barbara Cane, the BMI Pop Awards took place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. For a complete list of 2018 winners, which included 32 first-timers, visit bmi.com.

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