Monday 21 August 2017

Absent Jay Z inducted into Songwriters Hall by Obama via video

Ed Sheeran was also honoured at the event.

By Sherna Noah

Jay Z was absent from the 2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame – where he was inducted by Barack Obama – as speculation mounts that the rapper could have already become a father again.

Rumours have gone into overdrive about Beyonce’s pregnancy and whether or not the star has had their new twins.

Meanwhile, former US president Obama, appearing in a taped video, told the audience at the Hall of Fame event that he’s been listening to Jay Z since he was a “young and hungry state senator” and compared himself to the New York rapper.

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“Nobody who met us as younger men would have expected us to be where we are today. You know what it’s like not to have a father around, you know what it’s like not to come from much, and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks that we did,” he said.

“So we try to prop open those doors of opportunity so that it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed aswell.

“Jay and I are also fools for our daughters, although he’s going to have me beat once those two twins show up. And let’s face it, we both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are,” he added.

Jay Z became the first rapper inducted into the organisation and was the first hip-hop act nominated for the honour.

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“Thank you to all the people that have inspired me,” he tweeted. “Salute to anybody who made a song to feed their family or just vent.”

The 2017 Songwriters Hall class also included Motown founder Berry Gordy, R&B maestro Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, songwriting duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, pop music great Max Martin, and members of Chicago.

Jon Bon Jovi kicked off the New York event with It’s My Life, his band’s 2000 hit that Martin co-wrote.

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Martin, who rarely does interviews or appears in public, called the induction “unbelievable”.

Johnny Gill, the New Edition member and solo singer, earned the night’s loudest applause when he performed My, My, My, one of many hits written by Babyface.

Babyface, who wrote hits for Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and others, said he’s amazed that “I, Kenny Edmonds, this little black kid from Indianapolis, Indiana, wrote a song and somebody in … Kansas is singing the words right now.”

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Pat Monahan of Train sang in honour of Robert Lamm and James Pankow of Chicago, while Rhonda Ross Kendrick, Gordy’s daughter with Diana Ross, performed for her father.

“Most people think I got this award many years ago,” said Gordy, who has written songs for Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. “Songwriting was my first love.”

Usher performed a medley to pay homage to Jam and Lewis, the duo behind countless hits for Janet Jackson as well as George Michael, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.

“Without us the music doesn’t exist,” Jam said of songwriters.

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Ed Sheeran, who performed his hit Castle On The Hill, was honoured with the Hal David starlight award. The singer said the “happiest moments of my life” are when he’s writing songs.

“There’s nothing like that moment,” he added.

Pitbull closed the show with a performance and earned the global ambassador award.

Songwriters are eligible for induction after writing hit songs for at least 20 years.

Press Association

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