UMG Honcho Honored With Spirit of Life Award

Industry folk were out in force last night to support UMG chieftain Lucian Grainge, who was honored with the prestigious Spirit of Life Award at City of Hope’s annual gala. 

The red-hot event, which raised north of $6m for cancer research and prevention, took place at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and Nick Cannon served as the MC. Irving Azoff—a two-time past honoree himself—introduced the man of the hour after UMPG'Brian Lambert spoke poignantly about his battle with cancer and how City of Hope saved his life.

Amid a thunderous ovation, Grainge took the stage to express his gratitude before announcing the evening's surprise performer: Sam Smith, whose "boundless talent is matched only by [his] open-heartedness," as Grainge put it. Smith performed "Nirvana," "I'm Not the Only One" and "Stay With Me."

"I am deeply honored to receive The Spirit of Life Award from City of Hope, although for me, the true reward is the knowledge that our work supporting this outstanding organization makes such a difference in the lives of so many people by fighting cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” shared Grainge, who also noted that when it comes to supporting such worthy causes, we in the music industry consistently "punch above our weight." His complete remarks appear below.

The speeches were proceeded by a playful video tribute that focused on Grainge's storied competitiveness, with tongue-in-cheek contributions from The Weeknd, Lorde, Nick Jonas, Don Henley and Lionel Richie, among others.

Among the luminaries spotted in the crowd were City of Hope President & CEO Robert Stone, UMG EVP Michele Anthony, UMG EVP & CFO Boyd Muir, UMG U.K. chief David Joseph, UMG EVP Marketing Andrew Kronfeld, Capitol ruler Steve Barnett, COO Michelle Jubelirer and EVP Greg ThompsonRepublic topper Monte Lipman, prexy/COO Avery Lipman and EVP Charlie Walk, Def Jam chief Steve Bartels, Interscope chief John Janick, Chairman Steve Berman, head of Urban Joie Manda and Media SVP Dennis Dennehy, Havas Chairman/CEO Yannick Bolloré, UMPG Worldwide UMG Nashville Chairman/CEO Mike Dungan, Big Machine overlord Scott Borchetta, UMPG head Jody Gerson and COO Marc Cimino, UMG EVP Jeff Harleston, Island chief David Massey, NARAS big kahuna Neil PortnowUMe head Bruce Resnikoff, UMG EVP  Will Tanous, WMG overseer Stephen CooperWarner Bros. supremo Cameron Strang and EVP Peter Gray, Warner/Chappell head Jon Platt, Sony/ATV's Rick KrimApple’s Jimmy Iovine, Eddy Cue and Robert Kondrk, Disney Music Group overlord Ken Bunt and SVP Mio VukovicGlassnote chieftain Daniel Glass, Verve GM Mike RittbergMotown head Ethiopia Habtemariam, BMLG's David Nathan, UMG SVP Streaming Services Jay Frank, Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula Chairman/CEO Jesus Lopez,  UMG EVP Digital Strategy Michael Nash, Universal Music France & President, Universal Music Italy, Middle East, Africa CEO Pascal Negre, attorneys supreme Allen Grubman, Joel Katz, Don Passman, Ken Hertz, Peter Paterno and Eric Greenspan, managers Scooter Braun and Troy CarterSB Projects' Mike ChesterROAR's Bernie Cahill and Pandora's Brian McAndrews, Tim Westergren and Lars Murray, as well as with Jon Bon Jovi, Selena Gomez, Kelly Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Liberty Ross, Russell Simmons, Diane Warren, will.i.am, Rosanna Arquette, Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy, Disney/BMLG thrush Laura Marano and more.


Thank you. Irving, you've really worked with everybody and done everything and more with the charity, and on top of that, you're an amazing friend. Thank you, Nick, for serving as our amazing MC; I'm very grateful that you're here tonight. And, of course, I suppose most importantly, thank you to the City of Hope for this wonderful evening and all that you do.

Brian, a special thank you for sharing your story with us. Your courage and strength are absolutely inspiring. You personify the very reason we're all here tonight.

For anyone who's spent even a few minutes at City of Hope, it's impossible not to be moved by the extraordinary dedication of the doctors and the superhuman bravery of the patients in their fierce battles against disease. When you're there, you realize that there the real people who should be getting the awards every single day. The only way I can stand here and accept this award with any sense of authenticity is to do so on behalf of the patients and the doctors, and on behalf of all the many in our industry who, year after year, contribute so much to this incredible organization. So on behalf of all of them and all of you, I do humbly and really gratefully accept this honor. Thank you.

Yes, the music industry is competitive, but it's also an industry populated by deeply passionate individuals who have committed to the unparalleled power of music to reach people across all boundaries, to inspire them and influence culture. I'm insanely proud of this industry and its traditions, because, even during its most difficult times, our generosity is never diminished. Compared to the many other businesses, the music business may be relatively small, but over the years, when it comes to raising money and awareness, when it comes to devoting time and talent to the causes and organizations doing great work in the world—especially with City of Hope—we constantly punch above our weight.

I'd also like to thank especially Boyd Muir, Will Tanous and Bruce Resnikoff on the Universal team. But also to each of my colleagues in the Universal company, from the U.S. company to Asia and Europe, and I'm glad to say that they're all heroes tonight. I'd also like to add my personal thanks to my extended family at Vivendi. To Vincent Bolloré, the Chairman of Vivendi, for his friendship and support, and to my friends from Studio Canal and Havas, who have travelled here from all over the world to be with us here tonight. To my parents, both of whom I lost to cancer. This honor is for them. For me to be associated with this incredible organization would have made them very proud.

Finally, to my amazing wife, Caroline, and my children Elliot, Alice and Betsy. I love you very, very much; you are my own personal City of Hope... I am deeply honored to receive The Spirit of Life Award from City of Hope, although for me, the true reward is the knowledge that our work supporting this outstanding organization makes such a difference in the lives of so many people by fighting cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

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