Diane Warren Q&A: ‘The Hunting Ground’ songwriter
“If I win an Emmy I’ll be an EG. There’s EGOTs and EGOs, I’ll be an EG,” jokes songwriter Diane Warren, referring to the awards grand slam: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Warren previously won a Grammy in 1996 for writing “Because You Loved Me,” and now she’s nominated for her first Emmy, for the song “Til it Happens to You” from the CNN documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Watch our complete video chat with Warren above.
“Til it Happens to You” actually makes history this year as the first song ever nominated for an Oscar, Grammy and Emmy. That’s because “The Hunting Ground” is one of many documentaries to receive an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run followed by an Emmy-qualifying TV premiere, giving Warren another chance at awards gold. As the tunesmith puts it, “The song is the gift that keeps on giving.”
But it came as a surprise to many that Lady Gaga, who performs the song and was credited as a songwriter at the Oscars and Grammys, wasn’t nominated at the Emmys alongside Warren. “I had more of a percentage on [the cue sheet, which establishes artists’ contributions and determines Emmy eligibility],” Warren explains, “but without Gaga the song wouldn’t have been what it is, and this record wouldn’t have been what it is. The record is genius, and she added some great stuff to it. [The Emmys] have their own rules and regulations, but to me it’s equally her song, and I hope she’s there — if it wins I want to go up with her.”
The song is not only meaningful to Warren for its awards impact. It has also given voice to people who have endured sexual assault, and to others who have experienced trauma as well. “Sexual assault, not just on campus but in general, wasn’t talked about. I had my own situation, and I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t tell anybody. It even gave me the strength to talk about it, so I’m proud of the fact that it’s made people feel less alone.”