Throughout the ceremony, BMI paid tribute to UK and European songwriters, producers, composers and publishers of the most-performed songs of the previous year. The event, held at London’s Savoy Hotel, was hosted by BMI president & CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI vice president, creative, Europe, Shirin Foroutan.
Ellie Goulding was awarded the BMI President’s Award, joining previous recipients including Jay Kay of Jamiroquai, Noel Gallagher, Imagine Dragons, P!nk, Brian Wilson, Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Ludacris, Luis Fonsi, Pitbull and Gloria & Emilio Estefan.
Upon accepting the award, Goulding said: “I’ve never won anything like this before and it means so much to me … I moved out of my home when I was 16 and I kind of started then. And I felt I had so much to lose making a living out of something that everyone told me was definitely impossible … In the UK particularly, and as a woman, it’s sort of ingrained into you that ambition is a bad thing and it’s not very cool but it shouldn’t be. Ambition is an essential ingredient for what we all do, and along with the talent and a bit of luck, for anyone who hopes of a long-lasting career, in a really tough industry actually, it’s essential, so to anyone who’s on their way there, please don’t listen to those people who have anything to say about you wanting bigger and better because you deserve it … In a world now that needs urgent action, in a country that demands empathy, may music play its part in empowering others to begin.”
Tems was honoured with the BMI Impact Award in recognition of her ground-breaking artistry, creative vision and impact on the future of music. In receiving this Award, she joins previous winners Raye and Arlo Parks. Also taking to the stage, Tems stunned the audience with a performance of Higher taken from her 2020 debut EP For Broken Ears, and Found from her second EP If Orange Was A Place.
Upon being presented with the award, Tems said, “I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for this award… I’ve come a long way and I’m so grateful.”
BMI also honoured Ed Sheeran and Johnny McDaid with the prestigious European Song of the Year Award for their hit Bad Habits. The award is given to the most performed song of the previous year by UK or European writers in the BMI catalogue.
Ed Sheeran was also awarded three other BMI London Awards this year, honouring four million performances of I Don’t Care, five million performances of Perfect, and in the Pop Songs category with Afterglow co-written with David Hodges and Shivers co-written with Johnny McDaid and Kal Lavelle.
Accepting his European Song Of The Year award via video message, Ed Sheeran said: “We had so much fun making the song and it has been so much fun playing the song out on the road and seeing the reactions of people all around Europe and I can’t wait to go out and do some more.”
Alongside the BMI President’s Award, BMI Impact Award, Million-Air Awards and European Song of the Year, awards for Pop, Dance, Film, Television and Cable and Streaming were also presented throughout the ceremony.