Last night, during the BMI Pop Awards at Los Angeles' Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the music industry celebrated the best in songwriting and publishing of the past year. In addition to gay music veteran Barry Manilow receiving the Icon Award, hitmaker Justin Tranter won Songwriter of the Year, and delivered a powerful speech about industry inclusivity.
"I’m gonna shut up real quick, I promise; I know we’re not supposed to talk,” Tranter said as he accepted the award. "But I’m an activist, so I cannot be near a microphone without doing some sort of activism. Everyone in this room: This [award] is in my hand. Barry Manilow got the Icon Award. Put more LGBTQ people in your sessions, please!"
This isn't the first time Tranter has demanded greater diversity in songwriting. Just last week, he posted to social media, challenging male pop writers to include more women in sessions. "Not only will it give opportunities to the brilliant women who deserve them, but the songs will reach new levels," he wrote.
Tranter used to front the criminally unsung glam-rock band Semi Precious Weapons, but has in recent years turned to co-penning some of pop music's biggest global hits, including Justin Bieber's "Sorry" and DNCE's "Cake By The Ocean." Much of his work, including Selena Gomez's "Good For You," has been written alongside frequent collaborator, Julia Michaels, whom he called out on the BMI Awards stage.
"Julia Michaels is a Latina woman," Tranter said. "Put more women, and put more women of color, in your sessions! And do it now!"
Watch Tranter's acceptance speech, below.