One Irritating Song Is All It Takes To Get An Award These Days

Mar 13th, 2008 // 8 Comments

thiscoveristooadorableforwords.jpgObviously, there are the Grammys, and then the American Music Awards. Also, you can’t forget the Billboard Awards, the Shortlist Prize, the CMA’s, and the PLUG Awards. Right after those, probably the most prestigious award that can be awarded to today’s musicians has to be the ASCAP Pop Award, set to be awarded on April 9th. I can’t quite figure out what it takes to win one of these things, but it certainly can’t be much, since their highlighted award is going to Sara Bareilles.

Steve Miller and Lionel Richie are also receiving awards, so there seems to be some criteria involved, albeit not one that says the winner has to have released material in the last year or so, but the key for Ms. Bareilles seems to have been to play a lot of ASCAP events.

Sara Bareilles is a mesmerizing singer-songwriter who grew up performing in her native Humboldt County with no formal training in either voice or piano. Much of her adolescence was spent perched in front of a worn piano learning chords and scribbling simple melodies and lyrics. In 2003, Bareilles co-produced her first independent studio demo, “Careful Confessions,” which earned her a loyal grassroots following through touring. Recognizing her insatiable thirst to challenge herself and find new ways to tap into her own creativity, ASCAP featured Bareilles at its popular ASCAP Presents… acoustic showcase at South By Southwest in March 2005. With word of mouth support and hypnotic live performances that leave fans hanging on her every word, Epic Records took notice and signed Bareilles to a record deal the following month. ASCAP spotlighted Bareilles again at the Sundance/ASCAP Music Café in January 2007. Her highly anticipated debut album “Little Voice” was released six months later (July 3, 2007) and skyrocketed to #1 on the iTunes album chart, and made an impressive debut on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart at #45. Currently at #7, the album has been charting for 23 weeks and features the single, “Love Song,” which after appearing in a Rhapsody commercial jumped from #73 to #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is currently at #4 and has been charting for 19 weeks.

It went all the way to No. 4! And was in a highly prominent but throughly irritating commercial for Rhapsody! Well, what was I possibly questioning the integrity of the award for? Suggestion for the ASCAP folks, however, consider making the award something that can be easily pawned; a heavy gold necklace, perhaps. That way at least, she can get more out of it than a bookend in a few years.

Sara Bareilles to Receive ASCAP Vanguard Award at 25th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards [Marketwire]

  1. Al Shipley

    Yeah, I’m not sure what this ‘Vanguard Award’ signifies, the only previous winner I can find is the All-American Rejects last year, so maybe it’s geared towards new/emerging artist? ASCAP’s big award, Songwriter Of The Year, usually goes these days to someone in R&B or hip hop who’s had a ton of hits in the space of one year (Stargate, the Neptunes, 50 Cent, etc.)

  2. Dan Gibson

    @Al Shipley: Jack Johnson and Bat For Lashes are also previous recipients, but it would appear that they might hand out the thing to anyone who’s willing to play the (non-televised?) award show.

  3. Anonymous

    I’m not really surprised. Didn’t the same thing happen with Leslie Feist? Her single and album blew up after that iPod commercial, and then she got nominated for 4 Grammys.

    *Still not sure how someone who has released 4 albums (and another 4 with Broken Social Scene) is considered a “new artist”. Love her music though.

  4. tigerpop

    @Gumboots: Ask Fountains of Wayne and Imogen Heap for starters.

  5. Anonymous

    @tigerpop: Yeah, good call. Supposedly the award is “for a new artist who releases, during the eligibility year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist” (thanks, Wikipedia!) so I guess it’s a technicality anyway.

  6. TheRunningboard7

    would you have preferred it go to Vampire Weekend? (see, now am I insulting Vampire Weekend, Sarah for being as bad as Vampire Weekend, or idolator for spending way too much time hating Vampire Weekend?? Could it be a three-fer?!?!?!?!?)

  7. MrStarhead

    I believe the award goes to an ASCAP-affiliated artist (one that writes their own songs) who had a songwriting/publishing deal before they had a recording deal, and then validated the publishing company’s investment in them and ASCAP’s early support. That would explain the Rejects (who were placing songs on MTV’s Undressed years before their debut album) and Bareilles.

  8. Anonymous

    I just got her album in the last couple days and I must say for someone who doesn’t have any formal training of any kind, her album is really one of those albums that is a good listen from end to end. There are much better songs on the CD than the the single “Love Song.” I really think that she going to be the artist of the month for me personally.

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