ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, recently honored legendary musician Stevie Wonder with its inaugural “Key of Life” Award at this year’s ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO in Los Angeles, April 13–15, where he appeared in a keynote “I Create Music” session.
The “Key of Life” Award celebrates Wonder’s incomparable, peerless contributions to the world through his music. In the future, the honor will be presented to songwriters and composers who best exemplify his legacy through their commitment to the art form he elevated through his talent, dedication and unparalleled heart.
“Stevie has deservedly been given every award imaginable,” said ASCAP President Paul Williams. “Yet he continues to innovate and elevate the art of songwriting to the point where no honor can truly capture what he means to his creative kin at ASCAP, and to songwriters and music lovers worldwide. This award has been created as a way to honor his singularly inspirational songwriting career and to recognize his spirit in generations to come.”
The 25-time Grammy winner has been an ASCAP member for the better part of five decades, amassing more than 60 Billboard Hot 100 hits during his time with the performing rights organization, including immortal anthems like “Superstition,” “My Cherie Amour,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” He received ASCAP’s highest individual prize, the Founders Award, in 1984 and was honored during the organization’s 100th birthday celebrations with a once-in-a-lifetime Centennial Award. Wonder has maintained a lifelong appreciation for songwriting, penning his first hit at 11 years old and working in Motown’s songwriting department while establishing himself as a performer in the mid-1960s. In recent years, Wonder has mentored a new generation of songwriters, working with fellow ASCAP members Ariana Grande and Francis Farewell Starlite on the Golden Globe-nominated 2016 single “Faith” from the hit film Sing.
A diverse group of speakers and panelists from across the music industry joined Wonder at this year’s ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO. Previously announced panelists include platinum-selling recording artist Aloe Blacc, Songwriters Hall of Fame member Desmond Child, four-time ASCAP Country Music Songwriter of the Year Ashley Gorley, Grammy winners Darrell Brown (Keith Urban, LeAnn Rimes), Brian Kennedy (Rihanna)and Malik Yusef (Kanye West, Beyoncé);and the next generation of hit songwriters, including Dave Bassett (Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s”), Bibi Bourelly (Rihanna’s “B***h Better Have My Money”), Deputy (J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only), Captain Cuts (Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance”), Sam Hollander (Fitz and the Tantrums’ “HandClap”) and Matt Jenkins (Kenny Chesney ft. Pink’s “Setting the World on Fire”).
Now in its 12th year, ASCAP’s “I Create Music” EXPO is the United States’ largest conference for songwriters, composers, artists and producers in all music genres. Last year’s conference was the most well attended in EXPO history, attracting 3,000 participants from up-and-comers to GRAMMY winners.
Throughout the three-day “I Create Music” EXPO, participants attended creative and business-focused panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes, one-on-one sessions, networking events, state-of-the-art technology demonstrations and performances. The ASCAP EXPO provides music creators with an unforgettable and authentic experience, knowledge, tools, connections and a community of support and guidance they cannot find anywhere else.