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Monday
Oct222018

Middleburg Celebrates Diane Warren with the "Impact Award"

by Nathaniel R

Warren speaking about her work at the Middleburg Film FestivalEach year at the Middleburg Film Festival, TFE's favorite event is a live concert honoring a film composer. This year Sheila C Johnson, the co-founder of BET who created the Middleburg Festival opted to do things a bit differently. Though there was a composer honored at a smaller event (29 year-old rising talent Kris Bowers who scored both the likely Oscar smash Green Book and the critically acclaimed indie Monsters and Men this year) the main concert and "Impact Award" was reserved for hit-machine songwriter Diane Warren.

This year Warren co-wrote the much memed "Why'd You Do That?" from A Star is Born but her Oscar bid for 2018 will surely be the theme song from the documentary hit RBG, "I'll Fight"

More after the jump including a couple of song snippets...

The concert began with a short reel of her most celebrated work and it's pretty astonishing to see them all grouped back to back. She's won a Golden Globe ("You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from Burlesque), a Critics Choice Award ("Music of My Heart" from Music of the Heart) and Emmy ("Til It Happens to You" from Hunting Ground), a Grammy ("Because You Loved Me" from Up Close and Personal), numerous ASCAP and Billboard awards and written 28 singles which have hit the top 10 on Billboard charts including hit songs from movies like "Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now" (from Mannequin), and "Rhythm of the Night" (from The Last Dragon), and 9 singles which have gone to number #1 including mega hits from Toni Braxton "Un-Break My Heart" and Aerosmith's "I Dont Wanna Miss a Thing" (from Armaggedon)

After the intro the event alternated between musical numbers performed by a band from New Jersey and short discussions between moderator John Horn and Diane Warren herself who was very funny, continually quipping and not taking herself too seriously. The most touching story was about "Because You Loved Me" which was used romantically in its movie context but she actually wrote as a tribute to her dad. Another story was about writing "There You'll Be," her Oscar-nominated song from Pearl Harbor in which the producer Jerry Bruckheimer kept making her rewrite it because he didn't like it at all. He still hated it on the umpteenth rewrite but then Michael Bay got involved demanding to know why he didn't like it. When Bruckheimer couldn't explain why, Bay overruled him and in it went into the movie.

Most curious among the revelations was her admission that she never starts a song from a lyric idea, but from the song title itself which just pops into her head or from a melody. Since she's done so many movie songs producers usually just give her the screenplay (rather than seeing footage) and she reads it through a few times until a song comes to her.

Diane Warren performing "I'll Fight" with

She reluctantly performed her new song "I'll Fight" towards the end of the tribute concert. After an hour of self-deprecating jokes about her own sub-par singing voice, she sounded just fine though it's also clear she writes for singers who are natural belters, which she herself is not. I've included some of her performance below for you to hear and at the midway point it shifts into the produced single sung by Jennifer Hudson (so you can image what the Oscar performance might be like - haha) 

Warren is among the 15 most frequently nominated composers in Oscar's Best Original Song history and the only one of those 15 to have never won. When will it be her year? 

I'll Fight Mix (Live / JHud Version)

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Reader Comments (6)

It's this year because Why Did You Do That? is going ALL THE WAY.

October 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

Thanks for this.

Diane Warren should have won an Oscar for 'You Haven't Seen the Last Of Me' but wasn't even nominated, even though it was a weak year for the category - odd.

(I think she should also have won for her songs from Mannequin and Armageddon!)

High time she won.

October 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Good Job ... finally!

October 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

Worst songwriter working today.

October 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Void99, I get disliking Warren's songs, but worst songwriter worker today?

You must not listen to much Top 40 radio...

October 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMSP

The only Star Is Born meme I've seen is the Bradley Cooper says somthing from the Limo and Gaga smiles one. Am I missing more?

October 24, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterblor

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