×

‘Songs of Hope’ Raises $400,000 for Cancer Research, Honors 2018’s Top Music Makers

SZA, Mike WILL Made It, Benny Blanco, Sarah Aarons, James Newton Howard and Steven Schwartz were feted at Alex Da Kid's KIDinaKORNER Kampus.

The 14th annual Songs of Hope gala, held for the second consecutive year in producer Alex Da Kid’s sprawling Sherman Oaks compound, raised a record-breaking total more than $400,000 for the City of Hope’s cancer research initiatives. The highlight was the presentation of “Songs of Hope Beverly and Ben Horowitz Legacy Award” to leading specialist Dr. Stephen J. Forman from longtime advocates Zach Horowitz and sister Jody Horowitz-Marsh, in honor of their late parents.

“This is a charity that recognizes the work of songwriters,” said Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO/Chairman Marty Bandier, who would later present his “Vanguard” Award to Sony/ATV client Sarah Aarons, the diminutive Aussie who co-wrote one of the year’s biggest hits, “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey.

“This is pretty different for me, it’s everything I’ve tried to avoid as a songwriter,” admitted the soft-spoken Aarons, whose inspiration was fellow Down Under songwriter Sia. “I still can’t believe I’m in America, let alone at an event like this. I keep asking myself, how am I here and how is this happening?”

Venerable Clive Davis, introduced by board co-chair, Universal Music Publising Group N.A. President Evan Lamberg as “the greatest music man of all time,” was particularly moved by the occasion, having recently attended the funeral of Aretha Franklin, herself a victim of pancreatic cancer.

“It’s heartwarming to see a larger turnout every year,” he said during a red-carpet conversation. “Learning more about what the City of Hope has been doing and the ferocity of their commitment never gets old.  It’s very humbling to be a part of.”

Davis handed out his “Legend in Songwriting” Award to a pair of recipients in Mike WILL Made It (Michael Len Williams III) and Benny Blanco, both of whom brought their beaming moms to help them celebrate.

“It’s just dope to be in the same room with so many successful, talented, hard-working people,” said Mike WILL, who recently co-produced a pair of tracks for Eminem’s chart-topping “Kamikaze” album, including the controversial Justin Vernon collaboration, “Fall.” “The City of Hope means a great deal to me because I lost my grandmother to cancer. To be honored like this, it’s like she’s watching down over me.”

A dressed-down Benny Blanco was similarly moved by the honor presented to him by Davis. “He’s the big dog, numero uno,” he noted. “Every day, I wake up and think they must have me mixed up with some other guy, that they’re going to find out about me. At the end of the day, I’m just a nervous Jew, but I’m so honored to be here and get this award.”

Universal Music Publishing Group Global Chairman/CEO Jody Gerson presented the first-ever “She Is the Music” Award to SZA, dedicated to “inclusivity and equality,” with a nod to Alicia Keys, one of the founders of the new initiative.

SZA embodies the spirit of the female luminaries who are breaking glass ceilings,” said Gerson in presenting the award.

Jody Gerson and SZA
CREDIT: Lester Cohen/Courtesy City of Hope

“I’m pretty shy,” insisted SZA, “Jody makes me sound way cooler than I am.  I’m just a small-town girl with black and female experiences, part of an energetic thread.  Cancer has struck in all parts of my life, high and low.”

Without mentioning the subsequent announcement of Jon Platt – who will be the City of Hope’s ‘Spirit of Life” honoree at their October 11 dinner — leaving Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, recently named Chief Operating Officer Carianne Marshall and Senior Vice President Theatrical and Catalog Kurt Deutsch presented their “Songs of Hope” Award to legendary Broadway composer Steven Schwartz, the man behind “Pippen,” “Godspell” and “Wicked.” Deutsch gave a touching speech about growing up as a “Broadway geek” in St. Louis, recalling that his bar mitzvah speech quoted from “Corner of the Sky,” one of Schwartz’s songs in “Pippen.”  He ended it with another verse from “Beautiful City,” referencing today’s political turmoil, a song from the film version of “Godspell.”

Fellow Co-Chairman, Electronic Arts President of Music Steve Schnur presented the “Composer of the Year” award to legendary film soundtrack maestro James Newton Howard, who quipped that he was “40 years older than the rest of the honorees.”

In addition to Lamberg (pictured below, at microphone) and Schnur, other event Co-Chairs included Spirit Music Group Chairman/CEO David Renzer (below, at left) and The Davis Firm Founder/Principal Doug Davis, Clive’s son (second from left)

CREDIT: Lester Cohen/City of Hope

More Music

  • Dave NavarroGuitar Legends For Heroes Benefit,

    Primary Wave Music Publishing Acquires Stake in Dave Navarro's Catalog

    Primary Wave Music Publishing has acquired an interest in Dave Navarro’s music publishing catalog, master revenue streams, and writer’s share royalties, the company announced today. Navarro is credited as a songwriter on such hit songs as Jane’s Addiction “Been Caught Stealing” and “Jane Says” as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Aeroplane.” Said the [...]

  • This photo shows composer Hans Zimmer

    Hans Zimmer on Recreating Iconic Score: 'The Lion King' 'Brought People Together'

    Composer Hans Zimmer is seated at the mixing board at the Sony scoring stage, head bobbing to the music being performed by 107 musicians just a few yards away. He’s wearing a vintage “Lion King World Tour” T-shirt, frayed at the collar. On the giant screen behind the orchestra, two lions are bounding across the [...]

  • Dreamville Dreamers doc

    J. Cole's Watchful Eye, All-Nighters and Weed: Inside Dreamville's 'Revenge' Doc

    Having the No. 1 project in the country is old hat for J. Cole, but the instant success of Dreamville’s highly-anticipated “Revenge of the Dreamers III” collection, which features collaborations with more than 25 artists, writers and producers (among them: Cozz, Omen, Bas, J.I.D., EarthGang and Ari Lennox), took many by surprise. The first installment [...]

  • Kanye Kim Kardashian Selling Bel Air

    Kanye West, Kim Kardashian Lobbied Trump for A$AP Rocky's Release, Source Confirms

    Kanye West and Kim Kardashian lobbied President Trump to help release A$AP Rocky from jail in Sweden, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. The news was first reported by TMZ. A$AP Rocky (real name: Rakim Myers) has been behind bars in the country since July 2 after being involved in an altercation [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs

    Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs Permit Yet Again

    For better or worse, Woodstock 50 isn’t giving up on Vernon Downs, despite being rejected twice already: The producers have applied for another permit to hold the festival at Vernon Downs, according to the Utica Observer Dispatch. Town Attorney Vincent Rossi confirmed the application was submitted Wednesday. This is the festival’s third application; previous applications [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content