diverseThe sixth annual Hitmakers Luncheon, which recognized the artists, writers, producers and music executives behind the 25 biggest hit singles of 2022, took place Saturday at Los Angeles’ City Market Social House. Honorees included Elton John and Dua Lipa (Hitmakers of the Year), Sam Smith, Kim Petras (Creators of the Year) and Selena Gomez (Movie Song of the Year). Imagine Dragons also won Group of the Year, and Dan Reynolds’ acceptance speech was definitely the funniest moment of the event. The singer spent a good portion of his time on the stage mocking the attending executives from Atlantic Records – which diverse Ironically, it was just named Label of the Year – passing on Imagine Dragons signing a decade earlier.
After beginning his speech by noting that he “had a weird track” as a Mormon growing up in Las Vegas, then thanking BYU for firing him, Reynolds quipped, “Shout out to Atlantic Records. You guys passed on us. Shout out to you. You took us to Disney.” Land, though. Remember that? They guys took us to Disneyland for free! That was great! [Former Atlantic A&R rep] sire [Lehman]If you were here, you would have tried to sign with us, but people didn’t believe us. But Atlantic, we’re celebrating you. It’s good to have some healthy competition.”
Reynolds then declared Imagine Dragons’ actual label, Interscope Records, “the best in the world,” though he admitted, “Our boss isn’t here. He doesn’t care enough. But that’s okay. It’s all good. Don’t worry about that all.” Good thing. We’ll keep making money for you.”
To put Reynolds’ comments about Atlantic’s huge missed opportunity in context, Imagine Dragons have sold more than 75 million records worldwide since 2012, making them one of the best-selling artists of all time. It is also the first rock act to have four songs – “Radioactive”, “Demons”, “Believer”, and “Thunder” – each amassing more than one billion hits.
Reynolds kept the Hitmakers room of all-star attendees—including Jack Harlow, HER, Rita Wilson, Kara DioGuardi, Caroline Polachek, Justin Tranter, and event director DJ Cassidy—in stitches as he then recalled Imagine Dragons’ humble beginnings in Vegas’s O’Shea Irish pub – Home to “the cheapest beer on the strip” – She says, “It’s awful. It’s the worst. It’s hell on earth. We played there for six hours for three years. They let us do half the cover songs and half the originals. We played Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic'” We played “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”. It was terrible. It was really terrible. But they made us money, and then we could buy Taco Bell. And we’re here. So, thanks to O’Shea’s. Thank you to Atlantic. But thanks Yours mainly on Interscope”.
Reynolds ended his hilarious speech by pointing out that his Mormon parents never wanted him to be a musician, laughing, “I have seven siblings. They are all doctors and lawyers. But now I’m the richest!” McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman of The Stage, diverseApparently, Executive Music Editor Shirley Halperin thanked him for “wake up the room.”
Watch Reynolds’ full speech below:
Other 2022 Hitmakers winners were Lizzo “About Damn Time” for Record of the Year, Latto for the Breakthrough Artist, Future for the Collaborator Award, Omar Apollo for the TikTok Future Icon Award, DioGuardi for the A&R Award, Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson for Songwriters for Executive of the Year, Jesse Collins for Executive of the Year, Ebony Ward for Manager of the Year, Ricky Reed for Producer of the Year, and Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” for Synch of the Year.
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