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ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews, Allee Willis & More Honored With SONA Warrior Awards

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ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews was among those honored on Sunday night, Oct. 29, at the 2023 Songwriters of North America (SONA) Warrior Awards gala in West Hollywood. The event was hosted by Grammy-nominated songwriters Bonnie McKee and Shane Stevens.

The other honorees were songwriter Justin Tranter; country artist and podcast host Rissi Palmer; and the late songwriter Allee Willis, who co-wrote the Friends theme, “I’ll Be There for You.” That song had added resonance on Sunday since Matthew Perry, one of the stars of that long-running sitcom, had died just the day before.

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At the event, ASCAP chairman of the board and president Paul Williams and Grammy-winning songwriters and producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis lauded Matthews’ achievements. Hit songwriter MoZella performed the Miley Cyrus smash “Wrecking Ball.” (All are ASCAP members.) There were also video tributes to Matthews from Stephen Schwartz, NE-YO, Marcus Miller, Desmond Child, John Platt and Ashley Gorley, among others.

“To be recognized by SONA means the world to me,” Matthews said in accepting the honor. “I know that songwriters are the true musical warriors – unbelievably brave and remaining strong in the face of uncertainty every day as new technology challenges their livelihoods. Yet, songwriters are still able to remain vulnerable and go deep creatively, opening their hearts to write the music that we all love.  I am constantly inspired by songwriters and it has been an honor of a lifetime to work for and alongside music creators.”

“As a friend of Beth’s, I know firsthand how tirelessly she works above and beyond her very very big job of running ASCAP,” said SONA founder and executive director Michelle Lewis. “I want everyone to know what I know and see what I see — that she is the ultimate warrior for creators.”

Tranter, a Grammy nominee for song of the year six years ago for co-writing the Julia Michaels hit “Issues,” has advocated for the LGBTQ+ community and worked with stars such as Selena Gomez, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and many more.

In 2007, Palmer became the first African American woman in 20 years to reach Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. She achieved the feat with her single “Country Girl,” which was followed by two more hits, “Hold on to Me” and “No Air,” a cover of the Jordin Sparks/Chris Brown pop smash.

Willis won a Grammy in 1986 for best album of original score written for a motion picture or a television special for co-writing The Pointer Sisters’ hit “Neutron Dance” on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. Her most famous works are the Friends theme and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” Willis was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. She died in 2019 at age 72.

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The Rolling Stones Are First Act With Billboard 200 Top 10 Albums Each Decade Since the 1960s

The Rolling Stones become the first act with newly-charted top 10 titles on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000s, ‘10s and now the ‘20s. The band’s new studio album, Hackney Diamonds, debuts at No. 3 on the chart dated Nov. 4. It’s the group’s first album of original material since 2005’s A Bigger Bang (which also debuted, and peaked, at No. 3). The new Nov. 4-dated chart will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website […]

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