‘Shout Atlantic Records. You have passed us over.’
diversityIts sixth annual Hitmakers Brunch, which recognizes the artists, writers, producers and music executives behind the 25 biggest singles of 2022, was held Saturday at City Market Social House in Los Angeles, and honorees included Elton John and Dua Lipa (Hitmakers of the Year), Sam Smith and Kim Petrus (Innovator of the Year), and Selena Gomez (Film Song of the Year). Imagine Dragons also won Group of the Year, and frontman Dan Reynolds’ acceptance speech was definitely the funniest moment of the event. The singer spent a good portion of his time at the podium mocking the executives in attendance from Atlantic Records – which diversity A decade ago Imagine Dragons was ironically just named label of the year for signing.
After opening his speech by thanking Brigham Young University for raising him as a Mormon in Las Vegas and then thanking Brigham Young University for expelling him, Reynolds said: “Shout out Atlantic Records. You guys pass us. Shout out to you. Though You took us to Disneyland. Remember, that? You took us to Disneyland for free! That was great! [Former Atlantic A&R rep] molly [Lehman], if you were here, you tried to sign us, but people didn’t believe us. But Atlantic, we celebrate you. It’s good to have some healthy competition.”
Reynolds then declared Imagine Dragons’ original label, Interscope Records, “the best in the world”, though he admitted, “Our president isn’t here. He doesn’t care enough. But that’s okay. It’s all good. Don’t worry about it. It’s all good. . We’ll keep making you money.”
To put Reynolds’ comments about Atlantic’s huge missed opportunity into context, Imagine Dragons have sold more than 75 million records worldwide since 2012, making them one of the top-selling artists of all time. They are the first rock act to have four songs — “Radioactive,” “Demons,” “Believer,” and “Thunder” — rack up more than 1 billion streams each.
Reynolds kept the room of hitmakers’ all-star attendees — including Jack Harlow, HER, Rita Wilson, Cara DioGuardi, Caroline Polachek, Justin Tranter and event emcee DJ Cassidy — in stitches as he reminisced about Imagine Dragons’ humble beginnings in Vegas. O’Shea’s Irish Pub — home to the “cheapest beer on the Strip” — says, “It’s horrible. This is the worst. It is hell on earth. We played six-hour gigs there for three years. They let us do half cover songs and half originals. We played ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. We played ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy’. It was very terrible. It was really, really terrible. But they made us money, and then we could buy Taco Bell. And here we are. So, thanks to the O’Shea’s. Thank you Atlantic. But mainly thanks to Interscope.”
Reynolds wrapped up his humorous speech by saying that his Mormon parents never wanted him to be a musician, laughing, “I have seven brothers. They are all doctors and lawyers. But I am the richest now!” After Reynolds and his bandmates – guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee and drummer Daniel Platzman – left the stage, diversityIts clearly delighted music executive editor, Shirley Halperin, thanked him for “waking up the room.”
Watch Reynolds’ full speech below:
Other 2022 hitmaker honorees included Lizzo for Record of the Year for “About Damn Time,” Lato for Breakthrough Artist, Future for the Collaborator Award, Omar Apollo for the TikTok Future Icon Award, DioGuardi for the A&R Award, and Kidler Johnson. For Songwriter 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 Sync of the Year.
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