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REAL SONGS - THE DIANE WARREN STORY
Six weeks from Friday, 5 September, 1900-1930

Diane Warren
Listen Again to this show
The programmes will be available to hear again for seven days after transmission via the BBC Radio Player.
It has been estimated that every five minutes, somewhere in the world, someone is listening to one of her songs. A three-time Grammy winner, a five-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year winner, and a two-time BMI Songwriter of the Year winner, Warren still shares a common songwriter trait: relative public anonymity. You know the singers that sing her songs, you can no doubt hum bars to many of her songs, but you've probably never heard of her.

In this new series, featuring an exclusive interview with the reclusive songwriter, Diane Warren tells her remarkable story, a genuine rags-to-riches tale, which reveals much about the song-writing process and the secrets of her remarkable success.

Definitely a "pop songwriter" in the sense of her use of fluent melodies, ballad tempos, and universal themes, Warren's music has been covered by just about every kind of singer - the result of a treasured skill honed by her 20-year-old, 12 hour/six-day-a-week writing schedule that has led to song catalogue of over a 1000 compositions.

The series includes an exclusive interview with Cher and specially recorded contributions from: LeAnn Rimes, David Foster, Leiber and Stoller, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McIntyre, Jerry Bruckheimer, Gloria Estefan, Clive Davis, Lionel Richie, Hal David, and Faith Hill, among others.

Programme One: 5 September
Born Diane Eve Warren in 1956 in Van Nuys, CA, (a drab suburb in the San Fernando Valley, lurking just over the hill from the bright lights of Hollywood), her father was an insurance salesman and writer/painter who nurtured her girlhood dreams of becoming a hit songwriter. He bought her a 12-string Martin guitar and a back yard metal shed that was Warren's private "rehearsal space." Her father escorted her to music publishers, where she'd be rejected time after time. To gain entry into the insular music business, Warren took a job with a music industry messenger service thinking that this would open important doors for her. The plan proved misjudged when she was fired two weeks later.

Finally, in 1983, she got a break when she became a staff writer for Laura Branigan's producer, Jack White. He asked her to write some English lyrics to a French song. The next day she'd come up with "Solitaire" which became a Top 10 hit for Branigan. Four years later, Warren created her own publishing company, Realsongs, and hasn't looked back since. This opening programme considers Diane Warren's early musical influences.

Programme Two: 12 September
Diane Warren always wanted to be a songwriter and ultimately had to will herself past hordes of rejections to sell her first song. Since beginning her career, she has written for such legends of song as Elton John, Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Roberta Flack and Roy Orbison. Recently, artists such as *NSYNC, Gloria Estefan, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Reba McEntire, Whitney Houston, Enrique Iglesias, Aerosmith, Ricky Martin, Faith Hill, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige and LeAnn Rimes 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." This programme dares to ask if there is a formula to Warren's work?

Programme three: 19 September
You might think that Diane Warren, one of the world's most successful songwriters, was something of an expert in love affairs. After all, she has written over 1,000 songs during her career, nearly all of them relating in some way to love, the loss of love, the scarcity of love, the tragedy of unrequited love or the difficulty of working out what the hell to do with love once it arrives. Diane hasn't been in a steady relationship for years. And in her most recent attempt ended in disaster: after a couple of weeks of uncharacteristically successful dating, her wannabe boyfriend took her by the hand and asked, tentatively, "Where are we now?". Her characteristically unromantic reply was: "Santa Monica". By her own admission, Warren is "underdeveloped" when it comes to the whole romance thing. This programme considers this contradiction.

Programme four: 26 September
Over the years Warren has expanded her publishing business by writing more and more songs for movies - her music has featured in over 100 films. These songs are particularly lucrative because they provide Realsongs (her company) with so-called "sync" fees - money is given upfront in exchange for permission to use the song. Whereas royalties from sales and performance are often fixed, "sync" fees are negotiable and can be very large: selling to film producers is a way of maximising a song's earning potential.

Of Warren's four most lucrative songs - "I Don't want to Miss a Thing" (Armageddon), "How Do I Live" (Con Air), "Because You Loved Me" (Up Close and Personal) and "Unbreak My Heart" - three were featured in movies. This programme evaluates Diane Warren: business woman and movie music mogul.

Programme five: 3 October
Diane Warren's songs have covered almost every musical genre - she has had American number one hits in pop, rock, R&B and reggae. In 1996 she won a Grammy for "Because You Loved Me" sung by Celine Dion. In 2000 she won Songwriter of the Year at the ASCAP Country Music Awards and, more recently, she won a gospel award for "I Will Be Here For You" sung by Michael W. Smith. Acquiring a Diane Warren song is the closest thing you can get to acquiring a sure-fire hit. "She's the most important songwriter in the world," says Peter Reichardt, chairman and CEO of EMI Music Publishing UK.

"It's extraordinary that one woman could have written all these songs - and a lot of her songs are not just good album tracks, or good singles, they are career- changing songs. Her song for LeAnn Rimes - "How Do I Live" - took her from being a country artist to being a pop star ..." This programme examines how Warren's songs have given a much needed career boost to some of today's biggest artists.

Programme six: 10 October (last in the series)
Diane Warren's music publishing firm, Realsongs, was named one of the top five music-publishing companies by Billboard magazine. Although Warren does not want to employ other writers at Realsongs ("I started this company by accident - it's not about owning another writer's work, it's about having a place for my songs"), she is keen to find additional ways to increase her business. The company is now delving into her vast catalogue for songs that she has forgotten; hoping they can unearth yet another hit. They are encouraging other artists to cover her biggest hits once more and Diane has finally agreed to allow advertisers to use her songs in commercials.

As the company's executive vice-president, Julie Horton, declares, "We need to find new ways of exploiting the repertoire". This concluding programme considers the future for Diane Warren's music. Contributors in this programme include The Sugarbabes, the Pet Shop Boys and Simon Cowell.

LINKS

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