What can I say about Diane Warren that has not already been said? She is a legend, an icon, and one of the best songwriters working today. Diane Warren created music for Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Cher and countless others. My personal favorites are “Nothing is is Going to Stop Us” from Mannequin, “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from Burlesque, and “Why Did You Do That?” from A Star is Born (2019).
She has written music for film, television, and for individual artists albums. During our conversation we talked about how her music often feels like a character in the films. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” will surely bring a tear to most people as they think about Bruce Willis going down with the ship in Armageddon. I know many folks think about LeAnne Rimes hopping up on the bar in Coyote Ugly and singing “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.” The power of these musical moments have become iconic moments in popular culture.
Warren’s career spans five decades in the music industry during which she has achieved 11 Oscar nominations, 5 Golden Golden Nominations (1 win), 12 Grammy nominations (1 win), and a Primetime Emmy win. She shows no sign of slowing down.
Awards Daily: Your career started actually started with writing songs for film. What has it been like to work on music in films over the years?
Diane Warren: My first big hit was with “Rhythm of the Night” for Debarge. This is my fifth decade writing and writing for music in a film, and it feels surreal. I always feel blessed that I get to do this on a daily basis. I am blessed to create music for film, and television, and while it was never my intention to continue creating songs for film, the experiences I have had over the years have been utterly fantastic.
AD: Breakthrough is about faith, hope, and love. How did you translate this with the song, and the way it works within the film?
DW: Exactly, and what is wrong with a little faith, hope and love? I am not super religious. I wanted this song to speak to the positivity that can come from hope and faith. We live in a time where we need miracles more than ever, especially with what is happening to the planet. Breakthrough is a movie about faith. What is wrong with having faith? I have had faith in my talent, and that has gotten me to where I am today.
The story centers around a mother of the young boy who had faith, and her faith brought the boy back to life. This woman and the community did not give up. The film and its message really inspired my song, and the message of faith and hope transcend everything. Chrissy Metz sang this at the ACLU and for the 50th annual anniversary of Stonewall. This song represents the way we need to stand together as people. That is the beauty of the song’s message.
AD: What was it like working with Chrissy Metz?
I thought of a lot of artists. I was not aware Chrissy Metz could sing. Many know Chrissy Metz for her role in This is Us. She went in the studio and worked with my team. I left and I came back and it was fucking awesome. She sang the shit out of the song. She put so much emotion, soul and authenticity in the song. I was not going to give that song to anybody else.
This is such a Cinderella story for Chrissy. Four years ago, she had 81 cents in her pocket, and now she is singing at the Oscars. I wrote a few songs for her new album, and it has been an honor and privilege to get to work with her.
AD: How do you think the success of this song happened or this film made it to the Oscars?
DW: This is a Cinderella story for the movie. The song got traction. People love the song. It was the little train that could. The movie is about miracles. All of these miracles happen, I met the boy at the premiere, and it validated everything I felt while writing this song. We need miracles more than ever, they can inspire, and I love that this song was recognized by my peers.
AD: I spoke with Charles Fox and Paul Williams earlier in the season, and they singled out your talent and kindness in the industry. How does it feel to have these folks single you out with your contributions to film
DW: Charles did an event for his song, and played all these TV themes he has written and it was so much fun to hear and listen to all the songs he has written over the years. Paul Williams is the funniest man and so talented. It feels like a tremendous honor to have both of these people who are icons in music sing my praises. I have met so many tremendous people through this, and it feels like such a huge honor. I have these folks on a giant pedestal, and they mean the world to me.
AD: What does it feel like to have the respect of your peers year after year?
DW: Being nominated is amazing, and that is a win. Would I like to really win? It would be nice, but the nominations do mean so much since it’s with my peers. I do not take any of this for granted. I was probably more excited for this nomination.
AD: You are one of the hardest working people in music. What is on the horizon for you ?
DW: I have a couple great songs coming this year, so stay tuned. I am very excited about this song winning this year, and I genuinely would be thrilled.