The ASCAP Foundation Peggy Lee Songwriter Award

April 23, 2020

Peggy Lee 

"Music is my life's breath," proclaims the epitaph of Norma Deloris Egstrom, better known to the entertainment world by her professional name of Peggy Lee. 2020 marks the centennial anniversary of this extraordinary artist and her considerable contributions to the world of jazz and popular music.

To mark this milestone, and to honor the legacy of this groundbreaking and prolific singer, songwriter, and towering ASCAP member, the family of Peggy Lee have established The ASCAP Foundation Peggy Lee Songwriter Award. This program consists of a cash award and the opportunity to engage with a music executive who would provide general career advice and a perspective of the music business.

The Peggy Lee Songwriter Award is presented to an ASCAP or unaffiliated songwriter who demonstrates intelligent use of language, talent, and career potential. The award recipient would not yet be signed to a major publishing deal, and the song entry would not have been commercially recorded.

Over her seven-decade career, Peggy Lee helped redefine what it meant to be a female singer, and her quietly captivating voice continues to resonate with audiences of all ages. She was coined “the female Frank Sinatra” by Tony Bennett, and she considered it one of the highest compliments. But, Lee did something few of her male counterparts ever attempted: she wrote songs.

In fact, Peggy Lee wrote over 200 songs, a number of which have entered the standards repertoire. Some of the highlights of her catalog are “It’s A Good Day,” “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” “I Love Being Here With You” and “Mañana.” Along with Sonny Burke, she wrote all of the original songs for Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, including “He’s A Tramp” and “Bella Notte” (Walt Disney was so pleased with Peggy’s song demos, he asked her to voice four of the characters, and even named one after her).

A 13-time GRAMMY® nominee, Lee received Lifetime Achievement awards from NARAS, ASCAP, and The Society of Singers, was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Pete Kelly’s Blues.



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