The ASCAP Foundation today announced The ASCAP Foundation Peggy Lee Songwriter Award, established in honor of legendary ASCAP member Peggy Lee. To mark the centennial of this extraordinary artist and her considerable contributions to the world of jazz and popular music, the family of Peggy Lee created the award with The ASCAP Foundation to honor her name and legacy while nurturing the careers of promising new songwriters.
Over the course of her seven-decade career, Lee helped redefine what it meant to be a female singer and wrote over 200 songs including several modern-day standards. Dubbed “the female Frank Sinatra” by Tony Bennett, her quietly captivating voice and enchanting lyrics continue to resonate with audiences of all ages. Highlights of Lee’s songwriting catalog are “It’s a Good Day,” “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” “I Love Being Here with You” and “Mañana.” Along with Sonny Burke, she wrote all of the original songs for Disney’s 1955 animated classic Lady and the Tramp, including beloved favorites “He’s a Tramp” and “Bella Notte.”
A notable lyricist, Lee frequently collaborated with fellow songwriters including Harold Arlen, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Sonny Burke, Johnny Mandel, Marian McPartland, Dave Grusin and Victor Young. Her songs have been covered by industry greats such as Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Diana Krall, Queen Latifah, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Janelle Monáe, Nina Simone, Regina Spektor and Sarah Vaughan.
Lee was a 13-time GRAMMY® nominee, received Lifetime Achievement awards from NARAS, ASCAP and The Society of Singers, was inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Pete Kelly’s Blues. With over 1,100 masters, 50 original albums and 100 chart hits, she is best known for her songs “Fever,” “Why Don’t You Do Right,” “I’m a Woman” and “Is That All There Is?” Many of her lesser-known gems are now being rediscovered through television and film, with features in major hits like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Good Place.
Lee’s granddaughter, Holly Foster Wells, worked with The ASCAP Foundation to create this unique opportunity for up-and-coming songwriters. The Peggy Lee Songwriter Award will annually recognize an ASCAP or unaffiliated songwriter who demonstrates intelligent use of language, talent and career potential. Qualified award recipients must not be signed to a major publishing deal and provide an original song that has never been commercially recorded. The program will provide winners with a cash award and the opportunity to engage with a music executive mentor.