In an early marking of singer, songwriter, and longtime ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) member Peggy Lee‘s centennial on May 26, 2020, the ASCAP Foundation has announced the creation of the Peggy Lee Songwriter Award, in partnership with Lee’s granddaughter Holly Foster Wells.
The award will annually recognize an ASCAP member or an independent songwriter unaffiliated with any performance rights organization who demonstrates intelligent use of language, talent, and career potential. Qualified award recipients must not be signed to a major publishing deal and must provide an MP3 recording and lyric sheet for an original song that has never been commercially recorded. The program will provide winners with a cash award and the opportunity to engage with a music executive mentor.
Applications for the award are being taken now, and the application period runs through May 29 at 5 p.m. ET. Award recipients will be notified by August 1.
Although Peggy Lee is best known for her seven-decade career as a vocalist—Tony Bennett called her “the female Frank Sinatra”—she was also a prolific songwriter, frequently collaborating (usually as a lyricist) with the likes of Harold Arlen, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Sonny Burke, Johnny Mandel, Marian McPartland, Dave Grusin, and Victor Young. Among the highlights of her catalog are “It’s a Good Day,” “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” “I Love Being Here with You,” “Mañana,” and all of the original songs (co-written with Sonny Burke) for Disney’s 1955 animated classic Lady and the Tramp, including beloved favorites “He’s a Tramp” and “Bella Notte.” Many of Lee’s compositions are now being rediscovered through television and film, with recent features in major hits like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Good Place.