Natalie Merchant to Be Honored for Humanitarian Work by ASCAP Foundation

The ASCAP Foundation will give singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant its Champion Award for her charity and humanitarian work at a ceremony being held Dec. 11 in New York City.

Also being celebrated at the annual awards gala is Francisco Núñez, the founder and artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and a composer/conductor. Núñez will receive the foundation’s Life in Music Award.

Natalie Merchant has lent her name and voice to the causes of environmental protection, domestic violence, racism, arts education and more, and Francisco Núñez has enriched the lives of thousands of children of every cultural and economic background with innovative music education,” Paul Williams, president of the ASCAP Foundation, said in a statement. “Their passion and commitment to philanthropy are sterling examples of how the creative community can step forward to improve the human condition. They ‘walk the walk’ and are inspirations for all of us.”

Merchant became famous as the singer of 10,000 Maniacs in the 1980s before going solo in 1995. Last year, Nonesuch released a 10-CD box set of her solo recordings. The charitable organizations she’s supported include Greenpeace, Tibet House, Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Doctors Without Borders and the Southern Center for Human Rights. She’s served on the New York Council for the Arts and currently is an artist in residence with the Hudson Valley’s Commission on Economic Opportunity.

Past recipients of the ASCAP Foundation Champion Award include Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, John Mellencamp, Ne-Yo and Judy Collins.

Núñez, who founded the Young People’s Chorus of New York City in 1988, has been cited by the New York Times for elevating the art of children’s choruses “by commissioning a steady stream of works from composers who usually write for adults.” His previous awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, ASCAP’s Victor Herbert Award and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year. He composes and arranges in different formats and genres for choirs and orchestras as well as solo instruments; in addition to the award, the ASCAP Foundation has put him to work on an original song cycle.

Previous recipients of Núñez’s award include Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash, Jesse Winchester and jazz luminaries Maria Schneider and Horace Silver.

More Music

  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

    If 'Old Town Road' Wins a Grammy, Will Nine Inch Nails Share the Award?

    Nine Inch Nails, a banjo and Lil Nas X made unlikely bed partners in the genre-bending mega-smash “Old Town Road,” which included a track from NIN’s largely instrumental 2008 album “Ghosts I–IV.” But while Trent Reznor and frequent collaborator Atticus Ross receive co-producer/co-writer credits for having created the hit’s hook, don’t expect their names to [...]

  • The Go Go's at Chicagofest in

    'The Go-Go's': Film Review

    In the terrific documentary “The Go-Go’s,” there’s a tasty clip of the band playing an early club gig in 1979, when they were part of the L.A. punk scene. They wear bushy black hair and pale white makeup (with rouge!), as if they were trying to be mannequin versions of Darby Crash, and they have [...]


    Motown, Atlantic, Roc Nation Executives Gather for Grit Before the Gram Event

    On Thursday, Jan. 22, amidst the mayhem of Grammy week in Los Angeles, the Vanity Group CEO Karleen Roy  threw her inaugural “Grit Before the Gram” event. Billed as “the soundtrack of our solidarity,” the evening was produced to provide an environment of unity, awareness and impact. Agents, producers, managers, directors and label executives were [...]

  • Bebe Rexha and Cyndi LauperBebe Rexha's

    Bebe Rexha, Kelsea Ballerini, Cyndi Lauper Promote Harmony to Counter Gender Bias

    Bebe Rexha hosted female artists, songwriters and producers at Los Angeles music industry hotspot Craig’s for her third annual Women in Harmony pre-Grammy brunch on Friday. The star-studded guest list included Cyndi Lauper, Kelsea Ballerini, Tinashe, Jordin Sparks, Dinah Jane, Natasha Bedingfeld, Sabrina Carpenter, Zhavia, Lindsey Stirling, JoJo, Daya, Becky G, Bea Miller, Ashlee Simpson, [...]

  • Rammstein Promotes North America Stadium Tour

    Rammstein Promotes North American Stadium Tour with a Blimp

    German metal group Rammstein will be embarking on their first-ever North American stadium tour in August. It’s the first time the band will tour the U.S. since 2011, and to promote what are sure to be a series of pyrotechnic-heavy events, they did it the most metal way possible: with a blimp flying over Los [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content