Diane Warren's BiographyDiane Warren is considered to be the most prolific and successful contemporary songwriter of our time. A quick glance at her list of Top 10 Hits reveals a range of musical genres and styles so diverse it’s difficult to believe the songs could have come from the same person. And yet they did – and continue to pour forth from this songwriter somehow endlessly, climbing to the top of the charts.
Diane’s songwriting talent began developing decades ago as a youngster growing up in the San Fernando Valley. “I grew up on Top 40 radio; it’s what I was exposed to and what attracted me,” she offers. “I loved listening to my older sisters’ records, people like Buddy Holly and the Beatles. But believe it or not, I was more fascinated by the songwriters: Carole King, Leiber and Stoller, Burt Bacharach. Those were my idols,” she recalls.
Her parents however, were divided over her choice of career. Diane’s mother voiced clear opposition, pointing out the tremendous odds against her in such a competitive field, while her father recognized her potential and offered constant encouragement and support. In fact, it was her insurance salesman father who bestowed his unexpressed artistic yearnings upon his young daughter. At the age of 10, he bought Diane her first guitar. By her early teens, he was taking her to meetings with Los Angeles music publishers. But it would be a while before the rest of the world would hear Diane’s music.
A decade or so later, Warren’s talent and persistence finally paid off. In 1983 she began working as a staff writer for Jack White, a producer with singer, Laura Branigan. White asked Warren to prepare English lyrics for a French song. 24 hours later, she turned in “Solitaire,” which became a Top 10 hit for Branigan in 1983. Three years later, Warren penned “Rhythm of the Night” for DeBarge, which hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. To date she has had over 100 songs chart.
Since beginning her career, Warren has written for such legends of song as Elton John, Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Roberta Flack, Celine Dion and Roy Orbison. Recently, artists such as *NSYNC, Gloria Estefan, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Reba McEntire, Whitney Houston, Enrique Iglesias, Aerosmith, Ricky Martin, Sugababes, Daniel Bedingfield, Faith Hill, Mary J. Blige, LeAnn Rimes, and Uncle Kracker have graced the charts with her songs. Warren herself agrees that she has tapped this universality of message in her songwriting. “I just love writing a great ballad, something so essential that it reaches across genres. You could almost say the best songs are `genre-transcendent,’ they translate well into a variety of styles sung by different artists.”
Indeed, Warren’s songs have transcended genre. Her #1 Adult Contemporary hit “If You Asked Me To” has been recorded not only by Celine Dion, but also by R&B diva Patti LaBelle. Her song “Don’t Turn Around” has been recorded by eight different artists—from Tina Turner to Aswad to Ace of Base. Her #1 Pop hit “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” performed by Aerosmith for the movie ARMAGEDDON not only received an Oscar nomination, but simultaneously hit #1 on the Billboard Country charts with a version sung by Mark Chesnutt. Additionally, Diane’s song “How Do I Live,” recorded by both Trisha Yearwood and LeAnn Rimes was not only a #1 hit that won Yearwood the GRAMMY for Best Country Vocal Performance, but also carries the distinction of being the longest running song in the history of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and Billboard’s Country Single Sales chart.
Diane’s songs are featured in more than 100 motion pictures. Diane has had a #1 international hit with “Can’t Fight the Moonlight,” performed by LeAnn Rimes, which was featured in the film COYOTE UGLY. It was re-released in the US a year later and still sent Top 10. In fact, Diane penned a total of four songs, which are featured in this film. Diane continues to diversify. She wrote her first television theme for ENTERPRISE, which was also the first theme song for the STAR TREK series. She joined forces with the band, The Cult, who recorded “Painted On My Heart” for the film GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS. A new version of “Rhythm Of The Night” was showcased in Baz Luhrmann’s MOULIN ROUGE. PEARL HARBOR featured the #1 hit “There You’ll Be” performed by Faith Hill. With an uncanny ability to create the perfect song for any scene, whether it calls for a love ballad or rock anthem or up-tempo groove, it’s no wonder that Diane continues to receive accolades.
For the song “Because You Loved Me,” sung by Celine Dion in the film UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, Diane received a GRAMMY award as well as nominations for an Academy Award and Golden Globe. Her song “Music Of My Heart,” sung by *NSYNC and Gloria Estefan for the film MUSIC OF THE HEART, was nominated for both a GRAMMY and Academy Award. The song also won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture. Also nominated for an Academy Award was the song, “Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now” for the film MANNEQUIN. To date, Diane’s songs have been nominated for four Golden Globes, six Academy Awards, and nine GRAMMYs. Most currently, Diane wrote, “I Decide”, performed by Lindsay Lohan for PRINCESS DIARIES 2 and “One In This World” performed by Hailey Duff for the film CINDERELLA STORY starring Hilary Duff.
Record producer David Foster, who frequently produces with Warren, points out that it is her tenacity and focus that explain her unprecedented success. “Without a doubt she’s the hardest-working songwriter I’ve ever known…she just sits there, day after day,” he notes, adding “she’s truly an island, and somehow she taps into the masses. The fact that she can do it by herself is extra special. She doesn’t seem to need to rely on anybody else.”
Diane’s massive success as a songwriter has offered her the opportunity to support a number of charitable causes. She founded the David S. Warren Weekly Entertainment Series, as well as, The Flora Warren Art Center at the Jewish Home for the Aging, a program she established in memory of her mother and father. She is a board member of The Dream Foundation and has been an active supporter of this organization since inception. She is an honorary committee member of PETA and is a key donor to many animal rescue groups including the Pet Adoption Fund, Pet Orphans Fund, the Wildlife Waystation, The 10th Life Foundation and The Lange Foundation. Several years ago ASCAP and VH1 joined forces as part of VH1’s “Save The Music” campaign to launch The Diane Warren “Music Of My Heart”/ASCAP Foundation Music Education Project. This project was implemented by the ASCAP Foundation and funded by The Diane Warren Foundation and provides folios, sheet music, band arrangements and “method books” to more than 1,000 middle schools across the country.
Diane has been named ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year six times (five times for Pop and most recently for Country) and Billboard’s Songwriter of the Year four times (once as Hot Country songwriter, twice as Hot Singles Songwriter, and once as the number one songwriter for Pop and R&B). Her publishing company, Realsongs, was named one of the top five music-publishing corporations and is the most successful female-owned and operated business in the music industry. Warren good-naturedly protests, “Why mention that it’s female-owned? It’s one of the most successful, period!” Diane also recently received a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, once again marking her place among the greatest songwriters of our time.
Music mogul, Clive Davis, testifies to her integrity and prolific versatility. Davis, who has relied on Warren for artists such as Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, Monica, Kelly Clarkson and most recently, Uncle Kracker, has a standing appointment with the songwriter when he visits Los Angeles each month. “Diane is able to combine tremendous feel for melody with lyrics that deal with genuine emotions, and she is able to do it time after time,” Davis notes.
Singer Steven Tyler also has high praise for Warren’s tenacity, asserting, “Diane is a renegade songwriting maverick who has outlived them all. When forced to play the game of corporate pinball, she is the only one who continues to beat the previous high score (and the losers can’t help but chime in on the chorus). She’s a catcher of dreams that come in rainbows of colors and endless emotions that stick in the hearts of those who hear them.”
An entire evening on the top-rated TV show, American Idol was dedicated to her and her music. The following evening, the show’s talent performed the song, “Shine”, which Diane had written specifically for American Idol.
Jerry Bruckheimer says, “She will move with whatever happens in the music world. I think she is on the top of her game. She listens to every song that’s out there. Where she goes, the public goes.”
Perhaps that is one key to understanding Diane’s phenomenal success: the woman and her music are one and the same, no compromise.