The ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams said: “The ASCAP Foundation is honored to recognize Dee Dee Bridgewater not only for her immense talent and singular contribution to music, but for her work and commitment to building a food-secure world for current and future generations. She is a shining example of how the creative community can step forward and use their talent and influence to improve the human condition. We are delighted to present Dee Dee Bridgewater with our ASCAP Foundation Champion Award.”
The Champion Award was established by The ASCAP Foundation to celebrate ASCAP members whose contributions extend beyond music to significant charitable and humanitarian efforts. Previous members who have received the award include Arlo Guthrie, Tony Bennett, Judy Collins, John Mellencamp, Billy Joel, Richard Marx, Ne-Yo and Jason Mraz. As a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Bridgewater is part of an appeal for international solidarity to finance global grassroots projects in the fight against world hunger.
Dee Dee Bridgewater is currently preparing for the release of her new album, Memphis: Yes, I’m Ready on September 15. The eagerly-anticipated project has been in the works for several years as Bridgewater returned to her birth city to continue the musical exploration of her roots and influences, determined to recapture the same magic and history of the Blues, R&B and Soul classics that she takes on as repertoire and that were originally made in/associated with the city. The album was recorded at Willie Mitchell’s historic Royal Studios.
Known for her powerhouse vocals and masterful scat singing, Bridgewater has led a multifaceted career spanning four decades. She earned her first professional experience as a member of the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Louis Big Band, and throughout the 70s performed with jazz notables Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie. After a foray into the pop world during the 1980s, she relocated to Paris and turned her attention back to jazz. Bridgewater created her own label, DDB Records, and subsequently produced all her critically acclaimed CD projects — all but one have received Grammy nominations. Her successful 1997 tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Dear Ella, earned her two Grammys.
Over the course of her career, Bridgwater has ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards and taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics. The Tony and three-time Grammy winner most recently won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Elemora Fagan (1915-1958): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee.
Bridgewater’s parallel career in musical theater won her a Tony Award for her role as “Glinda” in The Wiz in 1975. Her other theatrical credits include Sophisticated Ladies, Black Ballad, Carmen, Cabaret and the Off-Broadway and West End productions of Lady Day, for which Bridgewater received the British Laurence Olivier Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
In April of this year, Bridgewater was the recipient of an NEA Jazz Masters Fellows Award with honors bestowed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.