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Keri Hilson, Chaka Khan Honor David Foster at BMI Pop Awards

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Keri Hilson, Chaka Khan, Lil Jon and Brian McKnight all came out to honor their songwriting peers at the BMI Pop Awards Tuesday (May 17) in Beverly Hills, Calif. The awards show featured appearances from industry songwriters and performers who not only received awards but joined forces to honor BMI Icon Awards recipient David Foster.

The Canadian born songwriter-producer has penned hit for the likes of Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Celine Dion just to name a few, and with four decades of experience under his belt, the revered musician was recognized for his continued contributions to the industry. “It’s f—ing awesome,” Foster told the BoomBox of receiving the honor. “When I go to the doctor’s office, after 40 years of being in the business, when they say ‘occupation’ I put ‘musician.’ I don’t ever put record producer, or entrepreneur, I put musician or songwriter, so I think of myself as a songwriter.”

Foster moved, with his band, from British Columbia to Los Angeles in search of music stardom, and although his career as an artist didn’t progress, his songwriting and production skills have solidified his place in music history. “I had a band and we moved to L.A. and we had a hit record so it’s kind of hard to put into words, how it [my career] all unfolds. Anytime somebody comes up to me and says ‘I wanna’ be a songwriter like you,’ or ‘I want to be a producer like you,’ if you have to ask [how it's done] you’re never going to do it.” While accepting his award, Foster advised up-and-coming musicians to “save their money” and “always be on time,” if they expect to attain success in the music industry.

The 61-year-old was also treated to a performance of some of his greatest hits including Hilson’s rendition of Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing,’ off the top-selling ‘Bodyguard’ soundtrack. McKnight reprised Earth, Wind and Fire’s ‘After the Love is Gone,’ while Khan sang her 1984 hit ‘Through the Wire,’ which was also written by Foster. ” It’s like musical Mecca,” Khan said of the awards ceremony. “It’s always nice to see old friends, people who I haven’t seen in a long, long time, reacquaint and give in the now.”

BMI’s annual Pop Awards honors trailblazers in the music industry who have written some of the year’s biggest songs. BMI has represented songwriters around the world for over 70 years with more than 475,000 celebrated creative voices on its roster.

Watch Chaka Khan’s ‘Angel’
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