Musical legends Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox / Dave Stewart p/k/a Eurythmics, Ernie Isley / Marvin Isley / O’Kelly Isley / Ronald Isley / Rudolph Isley / Chris Jasper p/k/a The Isley Brothers, Steve Miller, Chad Hugo / Pharrell Williams p/k/a The Neptunes, Rick Nowels and William “Mickey” Stevenson will become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 51st Annual Induction and Awards Dinner. These legendary songwriters wrote mega-hits such as, “Vision of Love,” “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” “Shout,” “The Joker,” “Hollaback Girl,” “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” and “Dancing In The Street.” The star-studded induction event is slated for Thursday, June 11th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced soon.
SHOF Chairman Nile Rodgers said, “The first thing you need to know is it’s about the song, the second thing you need to know is it’s about the song, the third thing you need to know is it’s about the song. I am very proud that we are recognizing some of the culturally most important songwriters of all time and that the 2020 slate of inductees represents diversity and unity across genres, ethnicity and gender, writers who have enriched our lives and in their time literally transformed music and helped make it what it is today.”
Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) serves as a vital bridge between music’s past and future. In the Hall, musical pioneers are enshrined and celebrated, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of troubadours. To qualify for induction, a songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first commercial release of a song.
Mariah Carey is one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters and the best-selling female artist of all time. Smashing the Billboard Hot 100 number ones, Mariah Carey is the all-time most successful female songwriter in chart history. She has written or co-written 18 of her 19 number one songs on the Billboard Hot 100, and holds the record as the songwriter with the most weeks spent at the number one spot on the chart, counting 77 weeks in total. Mariah is in an elite group of songwriters to have had four or more number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 from one album, four of which are from her self-titled debut album.
She wrote her debut single, “Visions of Love” and first No.1 hit single at the age of 17. Since then, she has penned the most successful modern (post-1963) Christmas standard, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and in 2006 the song became the first ringtone to be certified Gold by the RIAA, and it is now certified 2x Platinum making it the first ringtone to do so. The Christmas hit also holds the Guinness World Record for highest-charting holiday (Christmas/New Year) song on Billboard’s Hot 100 by a solo artist in addition to becoming the most streamed track on Spotify in 24 hours.
In 2011, Rolling Stone voted Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day” with Boyz II Men the Best-Ever Musical Collaboration and the track held the record for most weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1995 to 2019. The superstar is also the only songwriter to have had three songs debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Fantasy,” “One Sweet Day,” “Honey”) and she is the only songwriter to receive Billboard’s Song of the Decade twice (“One Sweet Day” and “We Belong Together” for the 90’s Together” for the 00’s). Additionally, Mariah’s “We Belong Together” and “One Sweet Day” are both on Billboard’s list of All-Time Top 100 Hit Songs.
Over the course of her career, Mariah Carey has received ample recognition for her songwriting. In 2012, she won the BMI Icon Award for Songwriting, and has won 34 BMI Pop Music Awards for 21 different singles including three Songwriter of the Year Awards and two Song of the Year Awards for “Vision of Love” and “One Sweet Day.” She was GRAMMY-nominated two times as a writer for Song of the Year for “Vision of Love” and “We Belong Together” and three times as a writer for R&B Song for “Honey,” “We Belong Together,” and “Don’t Forget About Us.” In 2018, Carey was nominated for a Golden Globe for the title song of the movie, The Star and in 2019 won the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for songwriting.
In addition to her outstanding songwriting achievements, Carey has won multiple GRAMMY Awards, numerous American Music Awards, Billboard’s “Top Female Artist of All Time”, Billboard’s “Artist of the Decade” Award, Billboard’s “Icon Award,” and the World Music Award for “World’s Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium.” With her distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific songwriting, and producing talent, Mariah is truly the template of the modern pop performance.
Over the last three decades, Mariah Carey has written over 50 timeless songs and has collaborated with industry icons including Jermaine Dupri, Rick James, Tricky Stewart, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z, Dianne Warren, Carole King, George Michael, Randy Jackson, Whitney Houston and more. Mariah Carey’s songs have been covered, performed and sampled by numerous artists, including Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Kelly Rowland, Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Ariana Grande, Idina Menzel, Cee-Lo Green, Michael Buble, Fifth Harmony and Drake. Her ongoing impact has transcended the music industry to leave an indelible imprint upon the world at large.
80’s British pop duo, Eurythmics namely, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, achieved global success with their album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) for which the title track became a worldwide hit topping the charts in numerous countries including the U.S. The duo went on to release a string of hit singles and albums before they went their own ways in 1990. Both Lennox and Stewart spent the next nine years focusing on their solo careers. Eurythmics reunited in 1999 to record their ninth album, Peace, and once again in 2005 to release their single “I’ve Got A Life,” which also appeared on the new Eurythmics compilation album, Ultimate Collection. The duo won an MTV Music Video Award for Best New Artist in 1984, a GRAMMY Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1987, a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 1999, and were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. They were also nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
Lennox’s solo career began with the release of her solo debut album, Diva, which includes several hit songs like “Why” and “Walking on Broken Glass.” Her 1995 album, Medusa, includes “No More I Love You’s” and “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” She has released six solo studio albums and a compilation album entitled The Annie Lennox Collection in 2009. Over the decades, Annie Lennox has received numerous accolades in recognition of her contribution to the music business, including 8 BRIT Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement), 4 Ivor Novello Awards, 3 MTV Awards, 4 GRAMMY Awards, 26 ASCAP Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Into the West,” written for the soundtrack to the film The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. She was also named one of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone. Lennox has been awarded fellowships from some of the world’s most prestigious music institutions, including The British Academy of Songwriters, The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Berklee College of Music, and The Musicians Company.
Dave Stewart is recognized as one of the most respected and accomplished talents in the music industry today with a music career spanning four decades and over 100 million album sales. Stewart co-wrote and produced each Eurythmics album along with Annie Lennox. He has also co-written and produced albums and songs with Tom Petty, Gwen Stefani, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Nicks, Mick Jagger, Bryan Ferry, Katy Perry, Sinead O’Connor, Joss Stone and many others. Along the way, his work has garnered numerous awards including 26 ASCAP Awards and BMI awards for most performed songs, 4 Ivor Novello Awards, 4 Brit Awards including Best Producer, a Lifetime Achievement Award, The Silver Clef Award, the Clive Davis Legend in Songwriting Award, and a Grammy Award. In 2015, Stewart also won the Outstanding Contribution to UK Music Award given by the Producers Guild. He has scored films for several directors, has written and produced the title songs for many hit movies and together with Mick Jagger, he wrote and produced the score for Alfie, which won the pair a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Additionally, Stewart along with songwriter/producer Glen Ballard wrote the music for the musical adaptation of the 1990 Jerry Zucker film Ghost, which is now being performed in many cities all over the world. Beyond his creative work as a musician, Stewart is a renowned film and TV producer, author, photographer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He has established multimedia companies including Dave Stewart Entertainment (DSE) and The Hospital Club with Microsoft’s Paul Allen, co-authored The Business Playground: Where Creativity and Commerce Collide (Financial Times/Pearson), and Executive Produced NBC’s hit show Songland. Also, in 2001, Stewart was approached by Nelson Mandela to help fight against the Aids epidemic. Stewart developed a Global Campaign using Mandela’s prison number 46664 as a telephone number. When people dialed this number Mr. Mandela answered followed by new songs Dave had written with Joe Strummer, Bono and Edge, Paul McCartney, and many others. While you listened, money was being donated into 46664 foundation by the telephone companies. He then went on to organize the biggest concert ever staged in South Africa, appearing on stage with Beyoncé, Bono, Bob Geldof, Queen, Anastacia, and longtime partner Annie Lennox. The concert was broadcast live to over 1 billion people and Oprah Winfrey devoted a week to this special event. In addition, Stewart is an award winning public speaker winning best public speaking awards 3 times in the last ten years.
The Isley Brothers started as a vocal trio consisting of brothers O’Kelly Isley Jr, Rudolph Isley and Ronald Isley. first formed in the early ’50s, the Isley Brothers have enjoyed one of the longest, most influential and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music. Over the course of more than a half-century of performing, the group’s distinguished history spans not only two generations of Isley siblings, but also massive cultural shifts which heralded their music’s transformation from gritty R & B to Motown soul to blistering fun.
The Isley Brothers have had over 15 #1 singles in the United States Billboard charts, sixteen of their albums charted in the Top 40 and 13 albums have been certified gold,
platinum or multi-platinum by the RIAA.
After moving from Cincinnati, Ohio to the New York City area in the late 1950’s, the group first came to national prominence in 1959 with their fourth single “Shout,” written by the three brothers. Initially a modest charted single, the song eventually sold over a million copies. Afterwards the group recorded for a variety of labels, including the Top 20 single, “Twist and Shout” and the Motown single “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, “It’s Your Thing” in 1969 on their own label, T-Neck Records.
Influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk as well as pop balladry. Younger brothers Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley and Rudolph’s brother-in-law, Chris Jasper, joined the group in 1973. The Isleys scored a massive hit with their rock-funk fusion cover of their own earlier single “Who’s That Lady” retitled “That Lady, Pt. 1.” The album “3 + 3” also proved highly successful, as did 1975’s “The Heat Is On” also spawned the smash “Fight the Power, Pt. 1” For the next decade, they recorded top-selling albums, including “Between The Sheets” and had several hit singles. Towards the end of the decade they frequently topped the R & B charts with singles like “The Pride,” “Take Me To The Next Phase, Pt.,” “I Wanna Be With You, Pt. 1” and “Don’t Say Goodnight.”
Isley/Jasper/Isley was formed as a splinter group of The Isley Brothers in 1984 by Chris Jasper, Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley, releasing three albums including “Caravan of Love,” which featured the #1 out-of-the-box title hit, written and sung by Jasper and subsequently covered by English recording group, the Housemartins, who made “Caravan” an international #1 pop hit. The group disbanded in 1987.
After the break-up, Jasper continued as a solo artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer, forming his own independent record label, Gold City Records. Ernie teamed up with Ronald Isley and they have continued to record and tour as the Isley Brothers. They have achieved mainstream success in the intervening decades with spots on the pop and R & B charts including Dreamworks first #1 record, “Body Kiss.” They most recently collaborated with Carlos Santana on 2017’s “Power of Peace” and are currently on a nationwide tour celebrating the Isley Brothers 60th Anniversary.
Ronald became a solo artist while keeping the Isley Brothers’ name and continued to record platinum albums. Ernie and Marvin later reunited with their brother Ronald until Marvin became ill. Marvin passed away in 2010. Ronald and Ernie are currently on a nationwide tour celebrating “Shout’s” 60th Anniversary!
The Isley Brothers, including Chris Jasper, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. Two of the Isley Brothers’ songs have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Their music has been sampled widely and featured in a number of hip-hop’s most important songs, including those by Notorius B.I.G., Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dog, Mac Miller, Ludacris, etc.
O’Kelly Isley Jr. died from a heart attack in1986. Rudolph Isley retired in 1986 and went into ministry with his wife Elaine.
Steve Miller has been an enlivening presence on the American music scene for more than half a century. Miller crafted a brand of pure pop that was smart, polished, exciting, irresistible and that dominated radio in a way that few artists have ever managed. Hit followed hit in what seemed like an endless flow: “The Joker,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Living in the USA” and “Abracadabra” among some of his stand out hits. Running through Miller’s distinctive catalog is a combination of virtuosity and song craft. In the course of his long, full career, Miller has sold tens of millions of records and with each listen the beauty and immediacy of his work, whether at its most playful or most serious, is palpable.
Chad Hugo a native of Virginia Beach is a Grammy Award winning producer and multi-instrumentalist. Best known as half of the songwriting-production duo The Neptunes with Pharrell Williams, and member of the genre breaking hip-hop/funk-rock band N.E.R.D. For nearly 30 years, Chad has quietly and profoundly influenced the shape of hip-hop as a genre of music.
His most recent work, Hugo co-produced nine songs on Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods album that debuted at number one in the US. Hugo recently wrapped up a world tour with N.E.R.D and their platinum hit “Lemon,” featuring Rhianna. Also in 2018, Splice tapped the Virginian for his first ever sample pack of sounds. Featuring a library of high quality signature samples and loops from Chad’s expansive catalog of chart topping songs. He is currently in the studio working on solo material and collaborations with Pharrell, SG Lewis and others.
Pharrell Williams, visionary recording artist, producer, songwriter, philanthropist, fashion designer, and entrepreneur, has been a creative force in the music industry and beyond for more than two decades. From his beginnings as a teenage prodigy and multi-instrumentalist in Virginia Beach back in the early ’90s, through enough hits to earn him Billboard’s Producer of the Decade in 2010, to his current status as multi-media superstar, Williams has never stopped creating.
Starting his producing career as one half of The Neptunes with longtime production partner Chad Hugo, Williams has helped create classics such as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Nelly’s “Hot in Herre,” JAY-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give it 2 Me),” Britney Spears’ “I’m A Slave 4 U,” and Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You.” Over four albums, Williams and Hugo, along with Shae Haley, created an unpredictable hybrid as part of the Virginia Beach alt-rock/hip-hop group N.E.R.D., which reunited for 2017’s No One Ever Really Dies. The album debuted with the wildly successful single, “Lemon,” featuring Rihanna, and includes world-class artists such as Kendrick Lamar, André 3000, M.I.A., Future, Wale, Gucci Mane, and Ed Sheeran.
The music industry has honored Williams with 13 Grammy Awards, including 2004’s, 2014’s and 2019’s Producer of the Year, and ASCAP’s prestigious Golden Note Award in 2012. He received a 2017 Academy Award nomination as one of the producers for Best Picture-nominated Hidden Figures, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for co-scoring the film. In 2014, his original song “Happy,” featured in the animated film Despicable Me 2, also received an Academy Award nomination. “Happy” remained atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart for ten consecutive weeks, peaking at No. 1 on iTunes in 103 markets worldwide, and was the lead single from his 2014 solo album, G I R L.
In April 2019, Pharrell launched the first ever SOMETHING IN THE WATER, a multi-day music festival and cultural experience on the beach in his hometown of Virginia Beach. The festival’s mission was to unite the community and celebrate the diversity and magic of Virginia Beach. It was an opportunity to bring the best of what Pharrell has encountered around the world back to his hometown. The weekend celebrated opportunity and the chance to empower everyone from the youth to the small business owners. Some of the world’s biggest musicians, personalities, scholars, students, artists, activists and athletes converged on Virginia Beach to activate and amplify, collaborate and co-author, shift and shape the future.
Most recently, Williams and Hugo co-wrote and co-produced the original song, “Letter to My Godfather,” for Netflix’s The Black Godfather about the legendary music executive, Clarence Avant. Williams also produced five songs on the soundtrack for Disney’s 2019 remake of The Lion King including, “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” “Hakuna Matata,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Mbube.”
A prolific songwriter since the age of 13, Grammy winner Rick Nowels has co-written over 60 Top 20 singles worldwide, Belinda Carlilse’s No. 1 global hit “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Circle in the Sand” among the most notable. His breakthrough came when Stevie Nicks heard his songs and teamed with him in writing “Rooms on Fire” and other songs. His numerous other credits include the #1 hit “The Power of Goodbye” on Madonna’s Grammy Award-winning Album of the Year “Ray of Light”.
Nowels received an Ivor Novello award for “White Flag” with Dido. He co-wrote the ASCAP Song of the Year “Game of Love” for Santana featuring Michelle Branch, “Green Light” for John Legend/ André 3000, “You Get What You Give” for the New Radicals, “Standing Still” for Jewel, “Fallin’ for You” with Colbie Caillat, “I Follow Rivers” for Lykke Li, “Loud Places” for Jamie xx and “Lost in your Light” for Dua Lipa/Miguel. Rick has also written with Lana Del Rey for all six of her studio albums. Their hits include “Summertime Sadness,” “Young and Beautiful,” “West Coast,” “High by the Beach,” “Love,” and “Lust for Life”. Other collaborations include Adele, Sia, Nelly Furtado, Tom Odell, Alessia Cara. Key songs in the Nowels catalog include “Heaven Is A Place On Earth,” “White Flag,” “Summertime Sadness,” “You Get What You Give” and “The Power Of Goodbye.”
William “Mickey” Stevenson joined Motown in 1959 as its very first Head of A&R, responsible for building its roster of songwriters, musicians, and artists, writing hit songs, and producing its superstar roster. Notably, Stevenson is responsible for helping develop Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, and Martha Reeves. He was one of the principal architects of the “Motown Sound,” having personally assembled the “Funk Brothers,” Motown’s famous house band for most of the label’s timeless 1960’s hits. Stevenson also discovered many of Motown’s legendary songwriters, including Ron Miller, George Ivy “Jo” Hunter, Norman Whitfield, and Frederick “Shorty” Long.
Described by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr as “the best A&R man who leads the list of [Motown’s] unsung heroes” and by Smokey Robinson as “never having received his props,” Stevenson was also a prolific songwriter and producer during Motown’s golden era.
Among his biggest songwriting successes are Martha & the Vandella’s “Dancing in the Street” (co-written by Hunter and Gaye), Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston’s “It Takes Two” (co-written by Sylvia Moy), The Marvelettes’ “Beechwood 4-5789” (co-written by Gaye and George Gordy), Marvin Gaye’s “Stubborn Kind of Fellow” (co-written by Gaye and Gordy), Marvin Gaye’s “Pride and Joy” (co-written by Gaye), The Four Tops’ “Ask the Lonely” (co-written by Hunter), The Contours’ “Can You Jerk Like Me” (co-written by Hunter), and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels’ “Devil With the Blue Dress On” (co-written by Frederick “Shorty” Long).
Stevenson was also a highly successful producer, having produced Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” (co-produced by William Weatherspoon), Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” (co-produced by Henry “Hank” Cosby), and countless other hits.
After leaving Motown, Stevenson was appointed head of Venture Records in 1969, a subsidiary of MGM, and founded Peoples Records. He later shifted gears to follow his passion, writing and producing a series of theatrical musicals including Swann, Showgirls, Wings and Things, The Gospel Truth, TKO, Chocolate City, and Sang, Sista, Sang.
In 2015, Stevenson released his autobiography entitled “The A&R Man”. Currently, he is collaborating with Brian Holland, Smokey Robinson, and Deitrick Haddon to produce “Azusa Revival,” a musical based upon the origins of the Pentecostal movement.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates and honors the contributions of songwriters of all genres of music, educates the public with regard to their achievements and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through songwriting craft forums, scholarships, digital initiatives and Master Sessions on both coasts. Educational activities are held at The GRAMMY Museum, which hosts the permanent Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery, and at the University of Southern California/Thornton School of Music, with additional events and programs at Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, the University of North Carolina and NYC’s Stuyvesant High School. Out of the tens of thousands of songwriters of our era, there are approximately 450 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Hall of Fame. A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first significant commercial release of a song. The list of inductees include Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier & Brian Holland, Smokey Robinson, Paul Williams, Hal David & Burt Bacharach, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes & David Porter, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Lionel Richie, Carole Bayer Sager, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Don Schlitz, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Diane Warren, Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry, Mac Davis, Leonard Cohen, Ray Davies, Merle Haggard, Cyndi Lauper, Desmond Child, Mick Jones & Lou Gramm, Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards, Bill Withers, Jay Z, Tom Petty, Toby Keith, Max Martin, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Berry Gordy, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Robert Lamm & James Pankow, Bill Anderson, Steve Dorff, Jermaine Dupri, Alan Jackson, Kool & The Gang, John Mellencamp, Allee Willis, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Missy Elliott, John Prine, Dallas Austin, Tom T. Hall and Jack Tempchin, among many others.