Ester Dean holding 2012 Songwriter of Year award

Ester Dean holding 2012 Songwriter of Year awardBMI honored songwriters and music publishers behind the year’s most-performed songs at the organization’s 60th annual Pop Awards on Tuesday evening (May 15), held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Legendary singer/songwriter Carole King received the BMI Icon Award recognizing the “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers” she has made through her incomparable catalog as a songwriter and recording artist.

Also, Ester Dean, Benny Blanco and Pitbull all earned the coveted BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year title. Dean, Blanco and Pitbull each contributed five songs to the year’s most performed list.

Dean composed “What’s My Name?,” “Rude Boy,” “S&M,” “Super Bass” and “Firework”; Blanco wrote “Blow,” “Please Don’t Go,” “Teenage Dream,” “We R Who We R” and “Dynamite”; and Pitbull penned “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love,” “Give Me Everything,” “Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor),” “I Like It” and “On the Floor.”

Dean enjoyed an especially big night, as “Firework” clinched BMI Pop Song of the Year honors for her and co-writer Sandy Vee, as well as publishers Dat Damn Dean Music and peermusic III, Ltd.

With 10 songs among the year’s most-performed, Universal Music Publishing Group claimed the prestigious BMI Pop Publisher of the Year crystal.

The evening also boasted an all-star tribute to King featuring promising young talent, an international star, and a golden-age pop idol, reflecting the broad appeal of King’s extraordinary work. American Idol alumna Haley Reinhart delivered an inspiring performance of “Beautiful”; Colbie Caillat offered a soulful rendition of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”; and Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits capped off the tribute with “I’m into Something Good,” the debut smash for Herman’s Hermits in 1964.

As a BMI Icon, King joins an elite list that includes David Foster, John Fogerty, Kris Kristofferson, the Jacksons, the Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Paul Simon, Merle Haggard, Brian Wilson, Willie Nelson, James Brown, Carlos Santana, Dolly Parton, and others.

For a complete list of 2012 winners, visit BMI.com.