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Diane Warren

Idioma disponible: inglés
Diane Warren's songbook defined the sound of adult contemporary and adult-oriented R&B of the late 1980s and the '90s. Warren's success extended well into the 2020s when she launched her own performing career with Diane Warren: The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1, a 2021 record that arrived nearly 40 years after Laura Branigan brought the songwriter's "Solitaire" into the Top Ten in 1982. It was the 1985 DeBarge smash "The Rhythm of the Night" that established Warren as a powerhouse songwriter, while Starship's 1987 number one "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" gave her the first of 13 Academy Award nominations. Nevertheless, this was all prelude to a decade where she dominated mainstream pop with immaculately sculpted love tunes and overblown power ballads, signatures that were evident whether her compositions were recorded by pop divas, hard rockers, soul singers, or country vocalists. Warren's '90s hot streak kicked off with "If You Asked Me To," a 1992 single for Celine Dion, a singer who also brought "Because You Loved Me" to number one in 1996, helping the songwriter snag her second Oscar nomination and her lone Grammy win for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television. That same year, Toni Braxton brought the sultry "Un-Break My Heart" to number one and LeAnn Rimes took "How Do I Live" to number two. Two years later, Warren had another double success when Brandy's "Have You Ever?" and Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" both went to number one. The Gloria Estefan & NSYNC duet "Music of My Heart" earned an Oscar nomination in 1999, bringing to a close a decade where Warren's achievements were so grand that she remained at the center of mainstream pop for dozens of years to come. Born on September 7, 1956, in Van Nuys, California, Diane Warren was raised in a musical household with her two older sisters. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, she loved listening to Top 40 radio. She picked up the guitar at the age of ten and began to dabble with songwriting when she was 11, pursuing the craft more seriously as a teenager. Her father encouraged her creativity, helping to arrange meetings between her and Los Angeles music publishers. Warren first placed a song on a record in 1979, when Ann Lewis recorded "Just Another Night" on her Pink Pussycat album, although it took another three years before Warren started to gain some headway. Stevie Woods released "One Love to Live" as a single in 1982, the same year Laura Branigan cut "If You Loved Me" on her Branigan album. Both singers would cut Warren songs again in 1983, but it was Branigan who gave the songwriter her first hit when she brought "Solitaire" to number seven in 1983 Branigan recorded four Warren compositions on 1984's Self Control, including "Ti Amo," which peaked at 22 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. Around this time, Warren also wrote songs for such R&B singers as Maurice White, Stephanie Mills, Patti Austin, and Commodores, and that happened to be the style that gave the songwriter her next big hit. In 1985, DeBarge's "Rhythm of the Night," taken from the soundtrack to The Last Dragon, became a smash, reaching number one R&B and number three pop. In its wake, she penned "Deeper Love," the Meli'sa Morgan song featured on The Golden Child soundtrack, and co-wrote (with Albert Hammond, who was one of her regular collaborators) "Lonely Is the Night," a 1986 adult contemporary hit for Air Supply,. With a couple of significant hits under her belt, Warren founded her publishing company Realsongs in 1986 and moved into a studio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, where she established a creative workspace she called "The Cave" where she would write in the ensuing decades, usually working alongside producer Peter Stengaard. In 1986, she also wrote songs for Melissa Manchester, El DeBarge, Peabo Bryson, and Mickey Thomas, but her next big hits didn't arrive until 1987. That year, Belinda Carlisle went to number two with "I Get Weak," Heart had a Top Ten with "Who Will You Run To," and Starship took "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" to number one. "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" another Hammond co-write, earned Warren her first nomination for Best Original Song from the Academy Awards. Chicago had two big hits with Warren songs in 1988 -- the ballad "I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love" went to three, while the anthemic "Look Away" went to number one on both the pop and adult contemporary charts -- highlighting a year when she also placed songs on albums by Cheap Trick, the Pointer Sisters, Bonnie Tyler, and Bon Jovi. Milli Vanilli took "Blame It on the Rain" to number one pop in 1989 and it wasn't the only Warren song to reach the pole position that year. Taylor Dayne's "Love Will Lead You Back" got there, as did Bad English's "When I See You Smile." These three hits were the tip of the iceberg that also saw Warren compositions reach the Top Ten: Michael Bolton's "How Can We Be Lovers?" and "When I'm Back on My Feet Again," Dayne's "I'll Be Your Shelter," and Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" and "Just Like Jesse James." She nearly chalked up a ninth Top Ten hit in 1989 but Cocker just missed that peak when "When the Night Comes" topped out at 11. After a relatively quiet 1990 -- Warren had lots of credits but few Top 40 hits -- Heart's "I Didn't Want to Need You" went to 23, Michael McDonald's "Take It to Heart" went to four on the adult contemporary chart; "Caught in Your Web (Swear to Your Heart)," a Russell Hitchcock recording for the Arachnophobia soundtrack, was another AC Top Ten -- Warren saw Michael Bolton bringing "Time, Love & Tenderness" to seven and "Missing You Now" to 12 in 1991, the same year Cher had a number 17 hit with "Love and Understanding." Warren had Top Ten hits with Expose ("I'll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me") and Shanice ("Saving Forever for You") in 1992, the same year Celine Dion took "If You Asked Me To" to number four. She co-wrote the Ace of Base hit "Don't Turn Around" with Albert Hammond in 1993, but that was the only big hit she had either that year or in 1994, even though her compositions were recorded by Dayne, Bolton, Color Me Badd, Babyface & Lisa Stansfield, and Jon Secada. She returned to the charts in 1995 with the Meat Loaf and Patti Russo duet "I'd Lie for You (And That's the Truth)" but her next golden year was 1996, when Celine Dion took "Because You Loved Me," a song composed for the Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer romance Up Close and Personal, to number one, earning Warren her second Oscar nomination for Best Original Song and winning her lone Grammy (Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television). That year, she also saw Monica turn the Space Jam contribution "For You I Will" into a Top Ten hit, while Aaliyah brought "The One I Gave My Heart To" to number nine and Toni Braxton took "Un-Break My Heart" to the top of both the pop and adult contemporary charts. "Because You Love Me" helped elevate Warren's public profile. She was already celebrated within the industry but that track's success, along with LeAnn Rimes' 1997 smash "How Do I Live," taken from the Con Air soundtrack -- the songwriter's third song to get an Oscar nomination -- made Warren a more recognizable name to the average audience. This stature is confirmed by two projects: in 1998 Johnny Mathis recorded a collection of her songs called Because You Loved Me: Songs of Diane Warren, just a year after Realsongs and EMI released A Passion for Music, a six-CD promotional box set retrospective of her music. Warren was already adding to that impressive songbook, scoring two big number one hits in 1998 with Brandy's "Have You Ever?" and Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing;" the latter was Warren's fourth to be nominated for Best Original Song. In 1999, Christina Aguilera brought "I Turn to You" to three, while Gloria Estefan and *NSYNC duetted on the title track to Wes Craven's music melodrama Music of the Heart, earning Warren her second Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. "Can't Fight the Moonlight," Rimes' stirring hit from the Coyote Ugly soundtrack, went to 11 in 2000, followed by Faith Hill taking "There You'll Be," a song from the Pearl Harbor soundtrack that earned a Best Original Song nomination, to number ten pop and number one adult contemporary in 2001. That year, Warren received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Warren worked without pause in the 2000s, writing for pop singers, old rockers, adult contemporary crooners, and country vocalists alike. While she was still an in-demand writer throughout the industry, with a special emphasis on soundtrack work, she stopped having chart hits after 2001; the closest she came is when Laura Pausini's "Seen," taken from The Life Ahead soundtrack, went to 19 on the Adult Contemporary charts in 2020. "Seen" arrived toward the end of a remarkable streak for Warren, when she received a Best Original Song nomination from the Academy Awards every year between 2014 and 2021 (with the exception of 2016). Despite this flurry of nominations, Warren didn't take home a trophy until the Academy Awards gave her the Governer's Award, an honorary Oscar, in 2022. She was the first songwriter to earn such an award in its 50-year history. Diane Warren launched her long-overdue solo career in 2021 with Diane Warren: The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1, a record that took its name from her longtime writing studio and featured a diverse cast of vocalists including Maren Morris, Jimmie Allen, Darius Rucker, Paloma Faith, Ty Dolla $ign, G-Eazy, Jon Batiste, Pentatonix, Rita Ora, and Celine Dion.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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