ASCAP to Honor Mary J. Blige at 20th Anniversary Rhythm & Soul Music Awards Celebration


LOS ANGELES, CA -- The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) will honor Mary J. Blige during its 20th Anniversary Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on June 25, 2007, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. Blige will be presented with the ASCAP Voice of Music Award during the invitation-only event, which will also honor ASCAP's top songwriters and publishers of 2006.

The ASCAP Voice of Music Award is given to recognize artists and songwriters whose music illuminates people's lives through song. Previous recipients include Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Diane Warren and Jimmy Webb, among others.

"To many, Mary J. Blige is not only the 'Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,' but also a guiding light," said Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP President and Chairman. "Through all of her struggles, she was determined to find and maintain her own musical voice, and by doing so, she has become one of the most successful R&B/hip-hop writer/performers in the country and has paved the way for many others who have followed her path. The ASCAP Voice of Music Award is an honor that she richly deserves."

Continuing to dominate the charts with her album, "The Breakthrough," which has sold over three million copies, Mary J. Blige is recognized as one of today's most successful R&B/hip-hop songwriter/performers. She bridged the gap between R&B and rap in a way that no female singer had before by combining modern R&B with an edgy rap sound coupled with subject matter drawn from the pain and grit of her childhood. During her 15-year career, she has released seven chart-topping albums -- "What's the 411?," "Share My World," "Mary," "My Life," "No More Drama," "Love & Life," and "The Breakthrough" -- that have spawned several hit singles, including "Real Love," "You Remind Me," "Enough Cryin," "I Can Love You," "Not Gon' Cry," "Take Me As I Am," "Family Affair" and "Be Without You." A much-anticipated and long-awaited collection, "Reflections - A Retrospective," was released in December 2006. The album not only gathers Blige's timeless greatest hits but also features four new songs, including the singles "We Ride (I See the Future)" and "Reflections (I Remember)."

She has won six GRAMMY Awards, including three at this year's 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for "Be Without You" and Best R&B Album for "The Breakthrough." She has also won several other industry accolades, including American Music Awards, BET Awards, Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train Awards and Source Hip-Hop Music Awards, among many others. She received the "Heroes Award" in 1999 from the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy and the "Legend Award" in 2005 at the Vibe Awards. Most recently, Blige earned ASCAP's Pop Song of the Year Award for "Be Without You," which she co-wrote with Johntá Austin.

"Mary exemplifies everything that this award stands for," said Jeanie Weems, ASCAP Senior Vice President, Membership Group - Rhythm & Soul. "Her songs have always reflected the way she lives her life, and in turn, it tells the truth about the way her fans live theirs. Her music has been the voice of inspiration to women worldwide in both struggle and triumph."

The 2007 ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards will also include a special presentation to ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year. Past recipients of this top honor include many of today's most celebrated talents, such as 50 Cent, Kandi Burruss, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Dr. Dre, Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Alicia Keys and Timbaland. In addition to honoring the top songwriters and publishers of 2006, special awards will be presented in the following categories: Publisher of the Year, Top Soundtrack Song of the Year, Top Reggae Artist of the Year, Top Ringtone of the Year, Top R&B/ Hip-Hop Song, Top Rap Song and Top Gospel Song. The evening will also feature performances by several award-winning songwriter/performers.

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