The 36th annual 2019 ASCAP Pop Music Awards is shaping up to be a can’t-miss event on the music industry calendar. The slate of hitmaking talents that will be lauded at the invitation-only celebration in Beverly Hills on May 16 includes iconic songwriter and ELO mastermind Jeff Lynne, who will receive the ASCAP Founders Award, and punk/pop pioneers Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke of Blondie, who will accept the ASCAP Golden Note Award. Additionally, pop/alternative phenomenon Billie Eilish and her collaborator/producer (and brother) FINNEAS will take home the ASCAP Vanguard Award.
ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams commented: “It is so exciting to have legendary music heroes and groundbreaking talents of all eras sharing our Pop Music Awards stage and recognized for their distinctive contributions to music.”
Williams continued, “Jeff Lynne has led a singular career and we are all fortunate that his musical genius has been felt so widely. His legendary stature is well-deserved and ASCAP is very proud to present him with our highest honor.”
“Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke electrified an underground music scene and later mainstream listeners when they married punk and pop with Debbie’s enviably cool lyrics and voice. Their experimentation with nearly every genre — rock, punk, reggae, rap, disco— anchored by their roots in great songwriting, is what truly sets them apart.”
“Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell are mesmerizing the pop world with their inventive songs and sounds that speak for a new generation of music listeners. Their music shows us how classic themes of love and desire can manifest themselves in song in endlessly fresh and compelling ways.”
Jeff Lynne – ASCAP Founders Award honoree:
Jeff Lynne is a Grammy award winner, prolific songwriter, record producer and co-founder of ELO. Whether as part of ELO, co-founder of the Traveling Wilburys, or writing and producing for such artists as Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Brian Wilson or Tom Petty, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has written some of the 20th century’s most beloved pop hits. Songs like “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Learning to Fly” — the list goes on — have won Lynne a cherished place in the hearts of pop fans around the world. Between 1972 and 1986, Lynne wrote and produced twenty Top 40 hits and fifteen Top 20 smashes in the U.S. ELO has sold over 50 million records worldwide.
The ASCAP Founders Award is presented to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Each is a musical innovator with a unique style of creative genius that will enrich generations to come. Previous recipients include Sir Paul McCartney, Desmond Child, Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty, Patti Smith, James Taylor, Billy Joel and Carly Simon.
Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke of Blondie – ASCAP Golden Note Award honorees:
Front-woman Harry and guitarist/conceptual mastermind Stein have been with 1980s game-changers Blondie since the beginning, as has drummer Burke, whose powerhouse playing always distinguished Blondie’s sound. Harry’s persona, and the band’s boundary-pushing pop, shaped the look and sound of many chart-topping female artists who followed in the last three decades, from Madonna to Lady Gaga to Katy Perry. The iconic group has sold 40 million records including timeless hits “Heart of Glass,” “Rapture,” “Dreaming” and “Call Me,” and the band’s influence continues to inform the worlds of music, fashion and art.
The ASCAP Golden Note is presented to songwriters, composers, and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones. Previous recipients include Duran Duran, Lindsay Buckingham, Trent Reznor, George Michael, A Tribe Called Quest, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys and more.
Billie Eilish and FINNEAS – ASCAP Vanguard Award honorees:
The sister/brother team Billie Eilish and FINNEAS have been collaborating and releasing music together since 2015. Eilish has gone on to become a global superstar, shattering many records since the March 29 release of her debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (Darkroom/Interscope). The album reached #1 in North America, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Finland and is now the biggest debut of the decade (male, female or group) in the US, the second-biggest of 2019 for any album, shifting 313,000 units in the first week. The debut full-length also hit #1 on Apple Music in 70 countries and iTunes in over 60 countries across the world, surpassing Apple Music’s previous record and is currently the most ever pre-added album since the music platform launched. FINNEAS is Billie’s sole collaborator and producer, and solo artist in his own right. With a string of single releases under his belt and sold out shows across the U.S, the 21-year-old Los Angeles native is setting his sights on writing and producing for other well-known artists, as well as releasing more solo material later this year.
The ASCAP Vanguard Award recognizes ASCAP members whose innovative work is helping to shape the future of music. Past winners include Portugal. The Man, St. Vincent, Nine Inch Nails, Janelle Monae, Beastie Boys and Bjork.