Legendary Brooklyn musician Clive Davis has been given a Key to City, one of New York City’s highest public honors.

Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded Davis with the key on Wednesday, saying Davis was a great architect of the modern music industry who created “so much of what we think of today as the culture,” and gave everyone joy, spirit and hope.

“Clive Davis managed to find some of the greatest talent in the world, and help that talent to blossom, and help that talent to come to the attention of all of us so we could feel the greatness of their artistry,” he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio gives the Key to the City to music legend and Brooklyn native Clive Davis. Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

Davis grew up in Brooklyn and is a product of New York City’s public schools – P.S. 161 Erasmus Hall High School. De Blasio said he represented the beauty of the dream that is New York City, “someone who came up from the grassroots and then changed the world.”

“I mentioned some of the artists he’s brought to prominence, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Simon and Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, you name it – stunning career,” he said, adding that David had always been there for New York City.

Recently, Davis co-produced the City’s “WE LOVE NYC: The Homecoming Concert,” dedicated to celebrating the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. De Blasio said Davis made himself immediately available to help with the concert and make it “one of the greatest collections of artists you’ve ever seen.”

“That is love and commitment for the City of New York. So, on this occasion, I’m going to bestow the highest honor this city has – the highest honor this city has to offer one of our own in thanks, is the Key to the City of New York.”

On receiving the award, Davis reflected on his life growing up in Brooklyn and what he said was the best advice he’d had in his life, which came from his mother.

“From the beginning, I was very academically inclined. I was cerebral. I loved books. And she came to me one day and she said, ‘book learning is fabulous, academics is wonderful, but part of life is going out and mixing with people, and learning from people, and seeing the diversity of people,’” he said.

With that, he spent time getting to know the people and sounds of his borough, and said now, his memories were filled with “the richness, the diversity of this great borough, part of this great city.”

“And, certainly, part of me wherever I go and whatever I’ve done.”

In the years since, Davis has been able to give back to the city he said has given much to him, launching, among other things, the Clive Davis Institute for the study of recorded contemporary music, a full BFA degree and award program, at NYU’s Tisch.

Davis said that while the city had been tested the last two years like never before, it had fought back and would continue to fight back.

“New York City will unquestionably be better than ever. And I want you to know that I will be there to help make sure of that with every, every fiber of strength that I have.”

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