Putting a twist on its annual gala to benefit City of Hope, the organizers behind Songs of Hope — which include co-chairs Doug Davis (The Davis Firm), Evan Lamberg (president, North America/Universal Music Publishing Group), David Renzer and Steve Schnur (worldwide executive and president, Music for Electronic Arts) — brought together fundraising’s dynamic duo, the father-daughter team of Richard and Demi Weitz, whose RWQuarantunes became a pandemic phenomenon, with the music industry’s charity of choice. The virtual event held on Sept. 30 raised $780,000 to support City of Hope’s mission to eliminate cancer and diabetes.
In addition to virtual performances by Duran Duran, Jac Ross and Rob Thomas, and appearances by Jimmy Jam, Benny Blanco, Aloe Blacc, The-Dream, Carole Bayer Sager, Diane Warren, Jennifer Holliday, Desmond Child, Todd Phillips and Deborah Cox, the program honored Brandi Carlile, Smokey Robinson, Clive Davis, Gracie Abrams and Blake Slatkin, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Daniel Nigro, Pop Smoke, and Loretta Erhunmwunsee, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at City of Hope.
City of Hope’s mission is to eliminate cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Facebook was the presenting sponsor with Clive Davis, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music and EA Music as supporting sponsors.
On hand to recognize Pop Smoke with the “Voice of Hope” award was Warner Chappell’s Ryan Press; Clive Davis presented Smokey Robinson with the Clive Davis “Legend in Songwriting” Award and Davis himself received a surprise honor, the “Songs of Hope Heroes” Award. Lamberg described Davis as the “bedrock and cornerstone” of Songs of Hope.
Facebook’s Zeina Grenier and Alexa Cabellon were joined by producer Benny Blanco to present the Facebook “Songwriter Impact” Award to Gracie Abrams and Blake Slatkin, who also performed at the virtual event.
Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir was honored with the EA Music “Composer of the Year” Award, presented by Schnur and following a video message from “Joker” director Todd Phillips.
Olivia Rodrigo producer Daniel Nigro received the “Creative Trailblazer” Award from Sony Music Publishing’s Nick Bral and Jennifer Knoepfle.
Erhunmwunsee received the “Beverly and Ben Horowitz Legacy” Award, named after the longtime CEO and first lady of City of Hope.
Lastly, UMPG chairman/CEO and co-founder of She Is The Music Jody Gerson presented Carlile with the “She Is The Music” Award for her contributions to the industry as a creator and for her impact on culture.