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ASCAP Pays Homage to King of Pop, Honors Alicia Keys, The Dream

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers honored Alicia Keys, The Dream, and soul legend Smokey Robinson at its 22nd annual awards ceremony Friday. The event, which was held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, recognized its winners for their musical contributions, yet the main topic on everyone’s mind was the death of pop icon, Michael Jackson.

The ceremony began with a moment of silence to honor of the King of Pop followed by a video montage chronicling his 30+ year career. R&B singer/songwriter Ne-Yo took the stage to perform Jackson’s ‘Lady In My Life.’

Keys picked up three awards including the ‘Golden Note’ award, which is presented to artists, songwriters and composers who have achieved extraordinary career milestones. “To be honored like this is amazing because to me, I’m just getting started,” she said. “I just remember being a little girl at [the] piano and dreaming so big. Who could’ve known that this could ever happen?”

The Grammy winner also thanked Jackson for influencing her artistry. “There’s a somber feeling in the air,” she said of Jackson’s recent passing. “I feel so inspired by him. Nobody could tell him what he could or couldn’t do. How long a video could be or how many records he could sell…. he went from his heart as a genuine good artist. He teaches us to break the rules because we have to break the rules in order to reap the benefits.”

Motown Records founder, Berry Gordy presented Robinson with the ‘Rhythm and Soul Heritage’ award but began with memories of Jackson. “I stand here today still in a state of shock from the news of his death,” he said. “At home last night, I was looking at some of my old pictures of him, from his early rehearsals to ones with him and my son on the baseball field as we played our weekly Gordy-Jackson baseball games. For the world, Michael’s legacy will always be his music and his artistry but for me, it will be so much more.

“The memories of watching him grow from a mere 9-year-old kid with boundless determination and talent to become, perhaps, the greatest entertainer of all time. It is a bittersweet moment for all of us; even as we celebrate Motown’s 50th year, we have to say goodbye to yet another vital member of our family.”

Robinson continued with the night’s theme by briefly speaking about Jackson. “My heart is heavy, of course, because of Michael, but I know that Michael’s happy that I’m getting this award so I can be happy about this.” While signed to Motown records, Robinson wrote songs for artist like The Supremes, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye. “It was my incomparable dream until I met Berry Gordy” Robinson said of his early musical aspirations. “Motown was a once in a lifetime musical event. Nothing like that has happened before and since that time nothing quite like that has happened since.”

Producing duo The Dream and Christopher “Tricky” Stewart were presented with the ‘Songwriter of the Year’ award presented to them by Timbaland. The duos credits include ‘Single Ladies,’ Touch My Body,’ and ‘Umbrella.’ “There were a lot of people that said I would never make any money in this business,” Dream told The BoomBox. “Just thinking about all the people that came before me: Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam, Timbaland, all [of] the great writers…. I’m just happy to be here!”

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