Jeff Spicer/Getty Images; Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images
Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) held its 2023 London awards at the Savoy Hotel, where producer Richard ‘P2J’ Isong was presented with the BMI Impact Award, ‘Woman’ by Aaron Horn, Linden Jay, Jidenna, Doja Cat and Yeti Beats was named Song of the Year, and singer–songwriter Gary Kemp was honoured with the BMI Icon Award.
Kemp was a founding member, primary songwriter and guitarist of Spandau Ballet, and is the recipient of a Q Award, a Brit Award, an Ivor Novello Award, and multiple BMI awards.
After receiving his honour, Kemp performed his hit ‘True’, accompanied by Toby Chapman. In the US alone it has had over 5 million airplays, and has been featured in over 100 movies, TV shows and advertising campaigns since its release 40 years ago.
Kemp joins other luminaries including the Bee Gees, Busta Rhymes, Don Black, OBE, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ray Davies, John Fogerty, David Foster, Peter Gabriel, Graham Gouldman, the Jacksons, Carole King, Kris Kristofferson, Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, Queen, Nile Rodgers, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Sting, Van Morrison and Brian Wilson.
In a tribute to P2J, Ghanaian group FBS played a medley of his hits, including ‘Essence’, ‘Brown Skin Girl’, and ‘Anybody’. As a recipient of the Impact Award, he joins Tems, Raye, Arlo Parks and Ice Spice.
Song of the Year ‘Woman’ was the most performed song of the previous year by UK or European writers in the BMI catalogue. It had spent 52 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and 29 weeks on the Billboard Rhythmic Airplay chart, peaking at number one, where it remained for five weeks.
BMI paid tribute to UK and European songwriters, producers, composers and publishers of the most-performed songs of the year before. Other multiple Million-Air awards went to Sting’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ (18 million performances), ‘Everything She Does is Magic’ (10 million), Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ (14 million), and Sir Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ (11 million).
VIPs attending included Don Black, OBE, Kamille, Jack Patterson, Luke Patterson, Clean Bandit, Aaron Horn, Jessica Agombar, Linden Jay, Samuel Bulsara, Grace Chatto, Kristoffer ‘Koda’ Eriksson, Malcolm ‘Chopstix’ Olagundoye, Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, Peter Waterman, Naughty Boy, Graham Gouldman, Maik Alexander Timmermann, Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp, Eelke Kalberg, Sebastian Molĳn, Jakke Erixson, Bass Charity, Dwina Gibb, Robin Gibb, Jr and Megan Golub. BMI president and CEO Mike O’Neill hosted the evening.