By Kara Warner
If you think you haven’t heard of Diane Warren, you’ve definitely heard a dozen or so of her chart-topping, award-winning songs. The prolific songwriter has written songs for Celine Dion, Elton John, LeAnn Rimes, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton and most recently Cher, Justin Bieber and Beyonce. She is a double Grammy nominee this year for “You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me” from “Burlesque” and “Born to Be Somebody” from “Never Say Never” in the category of Best Song Written For Visual Media.
MTV News was lucky enough to catch up with Warren recently to talk about the stories behind her nominated songs for Cher and Justin Bieber, as well as some inside scoop about how “I Was Here” almost didn’t make it on Beyonce’s 4 album.
MTV News: Congratulations on your two Grammy nominations!
Diane Warren: Thank you. It is nice to be nominated, but I always lose [laughs]. I’ve never been up against myself and I’ve never had two songs in the same category. I’m happy to have had one. It’s pretty cool. I’ve been telling as many people as I can, “You have two choices guys!” It’s amazing, there’s almost a 50 year age difference between [Cher and Bieber]. It’s like, “Alright that’s diversity.”
MTV: So how did you end up with a song in “Burlesque”?
Warren: It’s a good story. The director hated the song, Steve Antin just didn’t want anything to do with it. He sent back emails, “I don’t want that song, it’s not right.” I ran into Cher’s best friend Laurie Rodkin at a restaurant and me being me I had my iPod on me I said, “I wrote a great song for Cher, she listened to it and loved it and asked for a CD. “I’ll be seeing Cher in Vegas,” she told me, and you never know how those things go so I didn’t expect anything to come from it. Weeks later I get an email from Lindsay Scott, her music manager. I found out Laurie had played the song for Cher, Cher heard it when she was getting ready for a show with a hair dryer on her head, she heard it through the hair dryer and said, “I want to do that song.” She had to fight for it. After they filmed it, the director still wanted to take the scene out – the one song she had by the way.
MTV: And how did you end up writing for Justin Bieber?
Warren: I was asked to do a song for the movie by Paramount and Scooter Braun [Biebs' manager] and I ran into each other at a restaurant. Restaurants are lucky for me! They said, “We need a song can you write something for me?” So I did.
MTV: What was your interaction like with Bieber?
Warren: I wasn’t in the studio when he recorded the song, but I did see him after and got to tell him “Great job.” He is very respectable. He’s a nice kid, a very talented kid.
MTV: In addition to the Grammy-nominated songs, what else are you working on?
Warren: I’m kind of all over the place. I did the Beyonce song on her album, “I Was Here,” and I’m working with her on the music for “A Star Is Born.” I think she’s going to be great in that movie.
MTV: Tell us a little bit more about working with Beyonce on “I’m Not Here”
Warren: It was really fun. I was showing her the song, it was a cool moment to hear her singing it, learning. …I have to say, [Beyonce] is awesome. She is such a nice person. I would do anything for her. I was there when she sang my song that’s on her album and seeing that process, that’s a good story too. I literally called Jay-Z and played it on the phone for him. I played it for him, he had her call me and long story short she was in the studio two days later. The album was supposed to be mastered that week, so they held it up for the song. Seeing her work ethic, she was there for three hours singing better than anybody and I said, “Okay, that’s amazing,” and she said, “No I’m just getting started. I’m going to go get dinner and come back.” It’s like, “Holy s**t.” It’s not an accident when people are that successful. It’s a) you’re talented and b) the work ethic that separates the great from the good. She’s a great.