Mariah Carey and Neptunes join the Songwriters Hall of Fame | Richmond Free Press
After a stellar career of No. 1 hits, Mariah Carey was finally inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 16, but not before challenging her new colleagues to do better with women.
“I read that of the 439 people inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, only 32 have been women, so far,” she said recently at the end of a four-hour celebration at the Marriott Marquis in New York. The line received thunderous applause.
Ms Carey was the headliner, following inductions from weirdly cool producers the Neptunes, British electro-pop group Eurythmics, psychedelic bluesman Steve Miller and the iconic Isley Brothers. Special guests included Smokey Robinson, Leslie Odom Jr., Questlove, Jon Batiste and Usher.
Songwriters are eligible for induction after writing hit songs for at least 20 years and the room includes songwriters such as Burt Bacharach, Missy Elliott, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Carly Simon. The new annual lists are voted on by the members.
St. Vincent kicked off the night with a searing cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. She later took to the catwalk to recount the time she first spotted on MTV when a “beautiful androgynous creature with orange hair appeared wearing a suit and tie.”
Lil Nas X received the Hal David Starlight Award, which recognizes “talented young songwriters who have a significant impact on the music industry through their original songs.” He accepted his award dressed in a white tuxedo and a host of frizzy blonde hair, tweaking the usual acceptance speech: “Thank you to my imaginary husband and my children,” he said.
Representing the Isley Brothers were Elaine Isley Goodstone, Ernie Isley and Ronald Isley. Ernie Isley reminded guests that their first hit “Shout” was recorded 63 years ago and their music would last for decades, prompting the Beatles to cover them. The pair then performed a medley of hits including “That Lady”, “It’s Your Thing” and “Between the Sheets”.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis introduced another songwriting duo – Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo who, as the Neptunes, shaped pop and urban radio from the 1990s into the 2000s creating hits for Britney Spears , Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Beyoncé. .
Mr Williams offered advice to up-and-coming songwriters, warning them that the music industry was an often dangerous place. “Life is like Legos. Songs, like life, are put together piece by piece,” he said. “If you build a really strong foundation, you won’t fall.”
Questlove featured Ms. Carey and lamented that too often her songwriting chops had often been overlooked. With 19 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, she’s only behind the Beatles he reminded the crowd that she made it as a black woman. “Success at this level, especially for black artists, is a real obstacle course,” he said.
Ms Carey said a dysfunctional environment sparked a bleak view of the world when she was 6, so music, melodies and lyrics were her escape. She said she always had to remind people that she was a songwriter first, but the diva label seems to stick more. She left the crowd excited for a performance, but other artists took to the stage to sing a medley of her songs, including “Fantasy,” “Hero,” “Make It Happen” and “We Belong Together.”