Random J playlist: Written by Diane Warren

Random J playlist: Written by Diane Warren | Random J Pop

I hopped on Spotify and typed in 'Diane Warren', expecting a This is Diane Warren playlist. Bitch, did I find it though? I was shocked. A big ol' songwriting OG like Diane Warren and Spotify have NO playlist for a bitch!?

The nerve.

If you don't know who Diane Warren is, then you may wonder what the big deal is. She is a Grammy, Emmy and Golden globe award winning, Songwriters hall of fame inductee, with nine number 1 singles to her name. But this don't mean shit unless you know what got her these honours.

You may have NO idea which songs Diane has written, but I can assure you that you've heard some of them. Cher's "If I could turn back time"? "I don't wanna miss a thing" by Aerosmith? "Can't fight the moonlight" from Coyote ugly? Yes bitch. She wrote them all...and THEN some.

But what's so remarkable about Diane Warren's career is that it spans generations. Back in the olden days she had written for Aretha, Whitney, Barba Streisand, Cher. A bitch even wrote for Selena. Jump forward a few decades and she's got songwriting credits for Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey in her pocket. Diane is one of the few songwriters who has managed to cut through each generation of music since the day they started writing songs and remained wholly relevant and booked.

Diane's staying power in the industry is a true test of the saying 'You're only as good as your last song', because she's written so many great songs in her wake which are widely acknowledged.

It's become a trend (albeit an oft unintentional one) for songwriters to work so extensively with one artist that their career is completely defined by their work with them. Like how William Orbit became synonymous with Madonna after one album and then just became known for that. How Dallas Austin became synonymous with TLC and then just became known for that. PC music being defined purely through their work with Charli XCX. Walter Afanasieff having the title of 'that guy who used to work with Mariah Carey'. These aren't bad artists to be known for by association. But when the association is solely what defines your own work and how people see you, then it's a problem. But Diane has avoided the trappings of this by keeping her credits varied and her brush strokes broad, even in the face of writing a bunch of songs for a given artist. She's known for primarily a particular style of song, but it's a style that she has defined unto herself. They are a part of her brand. It's something that she cultivated herself and not by proxy of an artist she wrote for popularising it.

Diane's credit list is predominantly women, which is no surprise, as it's usually the same for male songwriters too. But she does write for men too. She's written multiple times for and with Michael Bolton. She's written for Meatloaf. Even Snoop Dogg. Yes. S.N.Double-O.P. D.O.Double-Gizzee. One of the biggest hits of her career was for Aerosmith. And she'd even written for Justin Bieber back before his voice broke and he had that emo sweep thing going on. The universality of her songs is what makes them classics and why A&R's and artists want them, irrespective of gender. As Diane's songs for the most part are quite gender neutral anyway.

As somebody who has started to think about time, leaving something behind and broadness of appeal; Diane staying power in the industry and still having love for what she does teaches a very valuable lesson, which is to know your own currency. Diane knows what she's worth and that her songs are good, and she knows that others know it too. In order to be in any industry for so long you need to have a high level in belief in yourself and your craft. Nobody is asking Diane Warren for a song because she seems nice. They're going to her because they know she's a great songwriter who can pen hits. It's a lesson we can all learn from. Knowing the value of what we do, believing in it and harnessing.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

🎧 Listen on Spotify: Written by Diane Warren