By Pat Collins
President's Message, Pat Collins, SESAC President & COO
Though the nation is experiencing the coldest, snowiest winter season in years, things at SESAC just continue to heat up. Just a couple of months into the New Year, and we’re already busier and more vibrant than ever. The year of 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for SESAC, our affiliates and our licensees.
The annual Grammy Awards are always a good barometer of the state of the industry and our SESAC affiliates were nothing short of dazzling at this year’s awards event. Lady Antebellum (featuring SESAC affiliate Hillary Scott) were the night’s top winners taking home a stellar FIVE trophies including RECORD OF THE YEAR and SONG OF THE YEAR for their classic “Need You Now”. Other awards winners included Swizz Beatz for Best Rap Performance By A Duo or Group for “On To The Next One” and Angela Hunte for Best Rap Song for her iconic Jay-Z/Alicia Keys smash, “Empire State Of Mind”. El Güero Y Su Banda Centenario took home a GRAMMY for Best Banda Album for Enamórate De Mí. The awards also offered unforgettable performances by Lady A on a medley of “Need You Now” and “American Honey” (cowritten by SESAC’s Cary Barlowe) and by SESAC affiliates Bob Dylan, Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons who earned a standing ovation for a rousing version of “Maggie’s Farm.” In all, it was a fantastic evening for our incredibly talented affiliates and proved again that SESAC represents the best of the best in music.
One of SESAC’s highlights over the past few years has been the Bryan-Michael Cox GRAMMY brunch. The event has turned into an annual tradition, and this year’s edition, held at the swank Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills and honoring Sean “Diddy” Combs, was more special than ever. Such esteemed guests as Rico Love, Nate “Danja” Hills and Goapele attended the event that honored Combs and his remarkable rise to the top. The brunch focused on “100 Urban Entrepreneurs,” an organization that guides young up-and-coming business men and women in the business world. Both Cox and Combs support the organization and were proud to shine a light on their involvement.
Each year, SESAC celebrates its songwriters and music publishers who have made their mark in the Christian Music genre. This year’s “SESAC Christian Music Awards” dinner took place February 24 at Nashville’s Hutton Hotel to honor Christian Music’s best. Among the honored winners this year was SESAC’s Christian Songwriter of the Year Jason Ingram for several songs including “Lead Me” by Sanctus Real, “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North and “Can Anybody Hear Me” by Meredith Andrews among several others. This year, more than 40 awards were bestowed on SESAC affiliates including Ian Eskelin, Michael Donehey and Cary Barlowe (who also topped the country charts in 2010 with his #1 Lady Antebellum smash “American Honey.”) Publisher Of The Year honors went to Sony/ATV Timber Publishing.
While it’s great to start the year off celebrating the successes of our affiliated songwriters and publishers, SESAC’s management is very aware that 2011 will be a year of great challenges on the copyright and legislative fronts. Working from our regional offices and on the front lines with our legislators in Washington, D.C., SESAC is dedicated to remaining vigilant in the fight against music piracy and proactive in the ongoing struggle to protect and preserve the sanctity and value of copyrights.
In short, we are proud and happy to be working with the greatest songwriters, music publishers and licensees in the world and, as always, we’ve got our sleeves rolled up and we are ready to rock!