She Is Focused

May 13, 2009

Behind The Scenes: SESAC New York Awards Gala

Filed under: Behind The Scenes,Interviews — Felicia @ 8:53 am

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the SESAC New York Awards Gala. It was held at New York’s IAC Building. The event honors songwriters and publishers responsible for penning some of today’s and yesterday’s biggest hits in music. I was there on assignment for a new site I’ve recently began writing for. Typical press entry includes red carpet and most of the time you have the opportunity to enjoy the main event. This was probably one of the most beneficial and enjoyable assignments I’ve worked.

Upon arrival I picked up my credentials and was introduced to all of the publicists. We all got along really well from our initial meeting. They were very helpful to me and the other press people the whole night. As the evening rolled on the guests started to arrive.  Some of the songwriters who attended that I had the opportunity to interview were Nikeshia Briscoe (Britney Spears’ “Womanizer), Greg Curtis (Keyshia Cole’s “I Remember”), Bale’wa Muhammad (Noel Gourdin’s “The River”) and Reggie Hamm (David Cook’s “The Time Of My Life”); amongst others. Then a little while afterward the lady of the hour, Chrisette Michelle, arrived in all her fabulous glory. Chrisette meets Chrisette

All the reporters found themselves almost standing in line waiting to catch a glimpse of the talented singer-songwriter. Her new album Epiphany had been out for about a week now, and before arriving to the event she just wrapped taping for “The Late Show” which aired last night. When it was my turn to speak with the Epiphany chanteuse, it was easy to tell that she’s truly a very humble artist who is grateful for all that she has achieved thus far. Her talents are beyond extraordinary and I wished I had the opportunity to do a full length one-on-one interview with her. She was grateful to be receiving SESAC’s “Ascension Award”, the first time the award has ever been given by the performing right organization.

Although speaking with Chrisette (and Greg Curtis who I will highlight more later) were enough to call the entire evening a night, my new press friends and I discovered that we were actually invited to join the awards and dinner portion of the evening. 

Penned hits for Keyshia Cole and other big artists

Greg Curtis - Penned hits for Keyshia Cole and other big artists

Talk about a ‘FAIL’ moment for the people I attempted to invite at the last minute. They really missed out on this one. We went around to the dinner section and passed Chrisette’s table, Greg’s table, even the former CEO of SESAC’s table. Where were we seated you asked? Dead center in front of the stage! It was really funny and shocking all at once. Typically those types of good seats are reserved for the guest of honor, or at least the presenters. Some of the folks I sat with were a young writer who worked for Conde Nast, a radio-show host and a very talented photographer from Africa. We were each flabbergasted by the seats we were so lucky to have.

The awards ceremony went really well. I will post my review of the entire event later. After the awards were given, the dinner portion of the evening followed. The food was pretty fancy, but tasty at the same time. I had chicken that was glazed with some type of sauce, quiche, orzo salad and grilled veggies. It was really good. Back at the table the waiters had two bottles of wine and a bottle of water chilled and waiting on the table. Talk about VIP treatment!

Shortly after dinner I exchanged contact info with the new folks I met who I hope to keep in touch with. We each literally ate and ran. One writer had another event to attend before the night was over. I simply wanted an early start on my long commute home.

As I left the venue I discovered that the members of Day 26 seemed to have slipped in right in time for dinner. I hadn’t seen them on the red carpet earlier or remembered if they had even been there for the entire handing out of the awards. I then thought to myself are they even songwriters? Either way, they were each tearing into their food. As I passed by the short one with the cornrows, I wondered if I should take a few moments to ask a few questions. I decided against it as I remembered my reasoning for wanting to leave early; also for the fact that he gave me an evil I’m hungry, do not disturb look. Maybe he assumed I was a fan and wanted an autograph. I sure hope not.

Lookout for my review of the entire evening including quotes from the writers I’ve spoken with.


– Felicia



  1. I absolutely love Chrisette. It’s been a long time coming. This was a great read. Her new hairstyle is fierce!

    sidebar: can i request you do an interview with Jaguar Wright next? LOL

    Comment by Latoya — May 13, 2009 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  2. What’s going on with Jaguar? I haven’t heard anything from her lately. I’ll look into for ya 😉

    Comment by Felicia — May 13, 2009 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  3. I can’t wait to hear more about the show. I’ve been to one of these industry award shows and it would be interesting to read if there was any difference.

    “the short one with the cornrows…” DAMN! LOL

    Just in case, his name is Brian. MTB is one of my guilty pleasures, I admit.

    Comment by Jos The Boss — May 14, 2009 @ 12:55 am | Reply

  4. This is an exciting oppportunity. I am happy you had the chance to be apart of this. I see you climbing the ranks of journalism. You fit right in – smart, talented and focused. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by candidgyal — May 14, 2009 @ 9:36 am | Reply

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