Belfast Telegraph

He writes the songs - and now Barry Manilow has an award to prove it

The Copacabana singer said he was “truly honoured” to be celebrated for his songwriting.

Barry Manilow has said he is “truly honoured” to be handed an icon award at a celebration of pop songwriters.

The Copacabana singer, 73, received the honour at the 65th Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) Pop Awards for his contribution to music with his songwriting through the generations.

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Accepting the award, Manilow said: “Even though I love producing, arranging and performing, my heart is in composing music and that’s why this award is so important to me.

“I’m truly honoured for this award tonight.”

BMI president Mike O’Neill celebrated Manilow as a “consummate entertainer and world-class songwriter” during the ceremony in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

Other award winners praised Manilow for his influence on them, with Justin Tranter, who has written songs for stars including Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, saying the timing of the award was poignant.

He said: “It’s so amazing he’s being honoured this year right after he came out of the closet.

“To see an icon like him finally embrace his truth publicly… it’s really special for me.”

Manilow, a Grammy award-winner from Brooklyn, New York, opened up to the world about his sexuality and his 2014 marriage for the first time last month.

He said he has been with his manager Garry Kief for nearly 40 years but feared fans would be disappointed to find out he was gay.

Instead he was thrilled with their response, telling People magazine: “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy.

“The reaction was so beautiful – strangers commenting, ‘great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”

Previous recipients of the icon award have included Sting, Stevie Nicks, Nile Rodgers and Dolly Parton.

Judges crowned Tranter and Ross Golan, who co-wrote Same Old Love for Selena Gomez, as songwriters of the year after deciding the competition was a tie.

Stitches, performed by Shawn Mendes, was named pop song of the year.

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