New York, NY- March 24, 2011- Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman Jimmy Webb announced today that Drake will be the recipient of the prestigious Hal David Starlight Award, to be presented at the 42nd Annual Induction and Awards Dinner slated for Thursday, June 16 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
Drake is one of music’s brightest new stars lauded for his songwriting prowess, melodious hooks and emotionally transparent performances. His genre-bending singing and rapping abilities earned him a recording deal with Aspire/Young Money/Cash Money in 2009, the same year The Recording Academy awarded him two Grammy® nominations (Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song) for his single “Best I Ever Had.” This opus, featured on his mixtape/EP So Far Gone, spent more weeks perched at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart than any other debut single this decade.
Drake’s platinum selling debut, Thank Me Later, landed at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart with nearly 450,000 sold during its first week of release. This feat led to four additional Grammy® nominations this year for Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Solo Performance (“Over”), and Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group (“Fancy” featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz). Drake’s skill of commanding a diverse audience through composition solidifies his position in the pantheon of great songwriters of this generation.
“Drake shines as a talented songwriter with a unique vision,” commented SHOF Chairman and legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb, “and we are pleased to honor him with the prestigious Hal David Starlight Award.”
The Hal David Starlight Award, created in 2004, was renamed in honor of the former SHOF Chairman, Hal David, for his longtime support of young songwriters. Award recipients are gifted songwriters who are making a significant impact in the music industry via their original songs. Drake joins the prestigious company of Rob Thomas, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, John Legend, John Rzeznik, Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift – the past recipients of the Hal David Starlight Award.
Inductees at this year’s event include John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint. The prestigious Johnny Mercer Award will be presented to Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.