Doctors making strides in cancer, diabetes and other areas of medical research were the rock stars at Songs of Hope XIII benefiting the City of Hope (Sept. 28). The annual awards event also honored songwriter/producer Max Martin, composer/producer Hans Zimmer, songwriter/producer Jack Antonoff and The Chainsmokers.
Songs of Hope was held at the KIDinaKORNER Kampus, the spacious Sherman Oaks, Calif. residence of Grammy-nominated producer Alex Da Kid. The evening’s theme: “The miracle of science with soul.”
Event co-chair and Universal Music Publishing president, North America, Evan Lamberg opened the proceedings. Noting that organizers’ original goal of $300,000 had been reached a week prior, Lamberg said the total raised is more than $400,000 after silent auction proceeds and other donations are counted. Auction items included autographed guitars from Antonoff, Paul Simon, Slash, Richie Sambora and Brad Paisley, a Clive Davis leather bag by Roots and concert tickets/private meet and greets with Cher, Celine Dion, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears and Shawn Mendes. Lamberg added that Ed Sheeran “did us a huge favor” two weeks ago by donating a meet and greet package for his Chicago show, which brought in $10,500.
Grammy-winning producer James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, the evening’s emcee, next welcomed music icon Clive Davis to the poolside stage to present Davis’ namesake Legend of Songwriters Award to Max Martin. The Grammy winner (Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Katy Perry) joins previous recipients Stevie Wonder, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Burt Bacharach and Pharrell Williams. After thanking Davis, Martin in turn thanked the “doctors, nurses and volunteers who are fighting against disease every day. To me, you are the real legends.”
Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier presented his eponymous Vanguard Award to Jack Antonoff. The Grammy-winning producer/songwriter/musician is enjoying a banner year with Taylor Swift’s No. 1 single “Look What You Made Me Do,” Lorde’s No. 1 album Melodrama and Pink’s new single “Beautiful Trauma” among other projects. Antonoff credited Bandier and the rest of the Sony/ATV team for “believing in me when a lot of other people didn’t.”
The Chainsmokers received the Trendsetter Award, sponsored for the second consecutive year by Pandora. Before presenting the honor, Pandora’s head of publisher licensing and relations Adam Parness pointed out the duo’s impressive achievements on the service: more than 1.5 billion plays and an audience reach of nearly 7 million. Last year’s inaugural Trendsetter Award was given to Mike Posner.
Citing Hans Zimmer’s “revolutionary work that has changed the sound of the culture,” Electronic Arts’ president of music and Songs of Hope co-chair Steve Schnur presented EA’s Composer of the Century Award to the composer. Ahead of Zimmer taking the stage, Pharrell Williams saluted the Academy Award-, Golden Globe- and Grammy-winning talent as his “friend and big brother.” Then a quartet of Zimmer’s musicians surprised him with a performance of music from his storied career that includes scores for Lion King, Driving Ms. Daisy, Pirates of the Caribbeanand, most recently, Dunkirk.
Industry veteran Zach Horowitz, former chairman/CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group, and his sister Jody Horowitz Marsh presented the inaugural Songs of Hope Beverly and Ben Horowitz Legacy Award to leading cancer researcher Saul Priceman PhD. The award, which each year will recognize a scientist from the City of Hope, pays tribute to the siblings’ parents who played instrumental roles in building the City of Hope. Ben Horowitz, in fact, served as head of the medical center for more than 37 years. Zach and his family also announced their own donation of $1 million to the City of Hope.
Also among the more than 300 music industry professionals and celebrities milling their way around the backyard tennis court and pool areas were Academy Award winner Halle Berry (with Alex da Kid), event co-chair/The Davis Firm attorney Doug Davis; event co-chair and Spirit Music Group chairman/CEO David Renzer; Warner/Chappell chairman/CEO Jon Platt; Sony/ATV co-president Rick Krim; CAA partner/managing director/head of music Rob Light; Creative Artists Agency Rob Light; Gang, Tyre, Ramer, and Brown, Inc. attorney Donald Passman; Loeb & Loeb attorney John Frankenheimer; BMI VP/GM Barbara Cane; Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow; songwriter Diane Warren and Decible Entertainment chief Larry Wade.
To date, Songs of Hope has raised more than $3.3 million for City of Hope.