Maroon 5 frontman and “The Voice” judge Adam Levine received the President’s Award last night at the 61st annual BMI Pop Awards. Also honoring the 25 most-performed songs of the year, the ceremony presented statuettes to Universal Music Publishing for publisher of the year and the Maroon 5 hit “Moves Like Jagger” for song of the year. Songwriter of the year kudos were shared by three songwriters: Benny Blanco, Ammar Malik and Claude Kelly.
The songwriter trio each placed four songs each on the most-performed tally. Blanco and Malik’s credits include co-writes on “Ass Back Home” (Gym Class Heroes featuring Neon Hitch), “Moves Like Jagger” (Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera), “Payphone” (Maroon 5) and “Stereo Hearts” (Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine). Kelly’s credits: “Brokenhearted” (Karmin), “Domino” (Jessie J), “International Love” (Pitbull featuring Chris Brown) and “Price Tag” (Jessie J featuring B.o.B.). Among the other songwriters in attendance who were recognized for their work over the past year were Ester Dean, Bonnie McKee, Jeff Bhasker and RedOne. Universal Music Publishing placed 19 songs on the most-performed list to claim pop publisher of the year.
Sharing hosting duties for the ceremony, held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., were BMI’s president/CEO Del Bryant and VP/GM, writer/publisher relations Barbara Cane. During his opening remarks, Bryant pointed to digital delivery as an “especially bright spot” over the past year. “In the last three years, BMI has collected more than $100 million” for writers from the digital arena, he said. “And we are set to make $100 million our benchmark each year.”
The evening’s highlight was the tribute to Levine, who joins such previous President’s Award honorees as Juanes, Taylor Swift and Willie Nelson. Before introducing a video clip of Levine’s career, Bryant noted the singer/songwriter has “profoundly and distinctively impacted the music industry” through his work as a musician, actor, entrepreneur and humanitarian. Signed to BMI in high school by Cane, Levine was musically feted by Rozzi Crane and Allen Stone. Crane, the first artist signed to Levine’s 222 Records, sang “She Will Be Loved." Stone followed with a cover of “Won’t Go Home Without You.” Then the pair teamed up for a well-received turn on “Sunday Morning.”
“I usually have a smart-ass remark for everything,” said Levine after accepting hs award. “But I am speechless. This feels a bit like a bar mitzvah.” He went on to thank BMI’s Cane, who “comforted my mom when I had no job and negative money, saying ‘your son is going to make it’” as well as “everyone who facilitated any dream I ever had. And for keeping my cocky ass humble at times.” The room erupted in laughter when Levine entreated Maroon 5 colleague James Valentine, an ASCAP writer, to join forces with BMI. “Now is your chance, James, to finally leave the enemy. Come to BMI.”