Last year, Bernie Taupin received an award in Washington, D.C., and the head of Kownacki Media Holdings was among those in attendance.
Brendan Kownacki told EJW about this. . . .
EJW: Where did Bernie receive the honour? Also, what did this plaque say and who presented it?
BK: This was part of a Creative Rights Caucus with Bernie talking about Rocketman: Chris Dickens, who edited Rocketman, and Matthew Margeson, who scored the film, also took part in the conversation.
The plaque was to celebrate 50 years of songwriting and it was presented by Universal Music executives, as well as the National Music Publishers' Association, and its president David Israelite, if I recall.
EJW: Did Bernie expect the accolade?
BK: I don't believe he did. He seemed surprised and honoured. It was a real celebration of his career.
EJW: Who else was at the event? Was his family there?
BK: I don't believe his family was in attendance, but various music industry folks were, as were music policy and copyright folks from Capitol Hill.
EJW: Do you recall anything specifics from the Rocketman discussion?
BK: Bernie was there to speak about his relationship with Elton; how the film was made; and of course his depiction, and then more generally on songwriting.I believe he said he was overall pleased with the film but of course, some of the interactions are fictionalised. I believe he consulted with Jamie Bell, who portrayed him. And he talked about how the film was nostalgic, looking back at so many events that had been a long time ago, and it was great to celebrate this music.
EJW: Was any footage from Rocketman shown or any of Elton and Bernie's songs played?
BK: They showed a few clips that Chris Dickens talked about, such as how they did the scene with young Elton conducting an orchestra, and how they had to rewrite an arrangement of the song to better suit the movement of the musicians in the clip, and then mash it all together in editing to make something visually appealing--and appealing to the ear.
EJW: Your company is involved in music and cinema: Is that what brought you to the Creative Rights Caucus?
BK: I was an invited guest and took some photos since I am a photographer and it is in my nature. Over the last 10+ years, I have built a company that thrives on the matchup of DC and Hollywood, whether that is actors and musicians advocating for issues in DC, or the way that policy and social issues play out in Hollywood. I have been very lucky to work with many famous faces to talk about issues and create content and this matching of entertainment and public affairs has occurred, and I love the notion of people from Hollywood using their platform to creative positive change.
I always say, ''Do you want to entertain, educate, engage or motivate?''--especially in music we have seen a lot of great champions through the years talk about copyright, intellectual property, and the rights of creators. The Internet has brought people together, but it also means a more seamless sharing of content, and sometimes without permission or attribution and that is why it is important that we make sure creators are being paid fairly and that their work is being acknowledged and protected in this interconnected world.