Drake (Aubrey Graham)

Hal David Starlight Award

Drake is one of music’s brightest new stars lauded for his songwriting prowess, melodious hooks and emotionally transparent performances. His genre-bending singing and rapping abilities earned him a recording deal with Aspire/Young Money/Cash Money in 2009, the same year The Recording Academy awarded him two Grammy® nominations ( Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song) for his single “Best I Ever Had.” This opus, featured on his mixtape/EP So Far Gone, spent more weeks perched at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart than any other debut single this decade.

Drake’s platinum selling debut, Thank Me Later, landed at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart with nearly 450,000 sold during its first week of release. This feat led to four additional Grammy® nominations this year for Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Solo Performance (“Over”), and Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group (“Fancy” featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz). Drake’s skill of commanding a diverse audience through composition solidifies his position in the pantheon of great songwriters of this generation.

The Hal David Starlight Award, created in 2004, was renamed in honor of the former SHOF Chairman, Hal David, for his longtime support of young songwriters. Award recipients are gifted songwriters who are making a significant impact in the music industry via their original songs. Drake joins the prestigious company of Rob Thomas, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, John Legend, John Rzeznik, Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift – the past recipients of the Hal David Starlight Award.