CHRISSY ILEY ON DIANE WARREN

Mimi ON Feb 06, 2014 AT 10:48 am

by Chrissy Iley

Diane Warren

Diane Warren

Every time somebody has ever said to me I’ve got a friend you’re going to love, I’ve always hated them. So when a friend mentioned that his two most favourite people should meet and that we would love each other, I was more than a little sceptical.

He said, ‘You’re both mad, and you both love cats.’

I could never hate a person who loved cats, and so there it was. That’s how I met Diane Warren, who I already loved through her songs.

You know those moments where you meet people and you feel you already know them. It was one of those. And in fact meeting Diane Warren has become the highlight of my year. And then I met Mouse, her cat. Mouse travels with her everywhere in the Bentley that is more Mouse’s than Diane’s.

The other day I went to lunch at Cecconi’s honouring her for Unfinished Song. It’s on Celine Dion’s latest record and it’s from the movie Song For Marion in the UK, Unfinished Song in the US. The one where Terence Stamp plays a curmudgeonly old man married to a dying Vanessa Redgrave. He finds humanity and a will to live again through his wife’s choir.

Celine sang it for me when I interviewed her, telling me it was such a beautiful song and one of her favourites on the album. Celine has been lucky for Diane, garnering an Oscar nomination for Because You Loved Me.

The lunch, gorgeous vegetarian pasta and pizza, attended by many luminaries and music Oscar winners including the more than legendary Mike Stoller.

More than that, the room was filled with love and fun, which makes me think like attracts like, nice people nice people etc etc. And they are all hoping for a Globe nomination for Unfinished Song for Diane.

I have been to a million puff parties filled with people who would go to the opening of an eyelid, but this was a carefully chose supportive throng.

Warren has been called ‘the Emily Dickinson of pop’. I’m not sure why, possibly because she’s OCD and a little bit mad. But that’s a great thing for a songwriter.

She is prolific and has written country songs, R&B, pop, for artists as diverse as Courtney Love and Barbra Streisand. You can be sure that every X Factor series would have contained a Diane song. And there are so many that you can sing in your sleep – If I Could Turn Back Time, Nothing’ Gonna Stop Us Now, I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.

Usually women with great vocal range and the ability to express a huge range of emotions go for a Diane song, like Celine, Cher, Toni Braxton, Reba McEntire, that sort of thing.

She writes the music and lyrics herself almost entirely except for the time she co-wrote with Andrew Lloyd Webber for A Song For Europe. She got on well with him but she would have got on better had she known he was the owner of two Turkish swimming cats.  Mouse is a rare breed cat. She doesn’t have fur, she has very soft fluffy wool. She looks like a Cornish Rex.

Most recently Diane gave me a track she did for Arianne Grand who is releasing a track a week of Christmas songs. It must be so hard to write a Christmas tune, have melody rise above sentimentality but still be a tune that gets inside of you. Yet she’s done it.

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