Legendary songwriter Diane Warren talked about her intimate songwriting process, her humble origins and more on The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Magic Hour” video series, premiering Friday (Nov. 9).
“You don’t have to be in love to write a good love song,” Warren admits in the interview. “I’m proof of that. You just need to have a good imagination.”
Warren has written songs for several films and countless prominent artists, including Cher, Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and many more. With a career spanning more than three decades, she originally rose to prominence after writing DeBarge’s 1985 hit “Rhythm of the Night.” Her talents eventually caught the attention of legendary producer Clive Davis, whom she would end up working with most.
When asked to pick some of her favorite of her own songs, she admitted that her more politically charged recent songs — “Stand Up for Something,” “Till It Happens to You” and “I’ll Fight” — stand out because they have impacted so many lives and become a part of larger political movements. For example, “Till It Happens to You” from the documentary The Hunting Ground, performed by Lady Gaga, quickly turned into an anthem empowering victims of sexual assault, while Andra Day and Common’s “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall became the signature song for the Stand Up to Cancer charity.
She also revealed that “I’ll Fight,” sung by Jennifer Hudson, was written for the Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary RBG because “she quietly kicks the shit out of everybody for us — that’s why that song is so perfect for her.”
“This is a new thing for me that these songs have amazing lives,” she said in reference to songwriting and finding inspiration. “It’s really cool to see your songs empower, effect change or inspire, moving people and touching people, making them feel something, making them want to dance, making them want to cry. Nothing makes me happier.”
Watch Warren’s full Magic Hour interview here.