Diane Warren didn’t want Chrissy Metz to sing her ‘Breakthrough’ tune at first — and then the star ‘sang the f— out of it’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Diane Warren has been collaborating with Chrissy Metz on the actress’ upcoming album, but their working relationship didn’t exactly get off on the most auspicious foot. The legendary songwriter penned “I’m Standing with You” from Metz’s film “Breakthrough.” The “This Is Us” star sings the tune, but Warren initially didn’t want Metz near it.

“I did not want Chrissy at all to sing the song because I thought, ‘Oh, man, another actress wants to sing,’” Warren quipped at Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts: Music panel, moderated by this author (watch above). “And I’ve never seen her show, I’ve never seen ‘This Is Us.’ I was like, ‘Can we get Carrie Underwood?’ who’s under Universal Nashville. ‘Can we get whatever’ — I went through their whole roster. And they were like, ‘No, it has to be Chrissy. Can you just try her?’ I was like, ‘Ugh, all right.’”

Metz came in for a recording session with one of Warren’s producers, but Warren didn’t stick around to watch because “I’m a really bad liar.” When she returned two hours later, “I was like, ‘What? She’s great.’ She blew me away. She had so much feeling and emotion in her vocal. And tone — her tone’s just beautiful. She just sang the f— out of it and she sang the sh– out of it,” Warren laughed. “You’re lucky when that happens; you get both those things.”

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Warren immediately told Metz, “No one’s getting this song. This is yours.”

The ballad plays over the end credits of the film, which is based on the true story of a boy, John Smith (Marcel Ruiz), who fell through ice and miraculously awoke from a coma when he wasn’t expected to live. Warren was inspired by a scene late in the movie when John’s pastor (Topher Grace) asks all of his supporters to rise.

“It’s this very emotional moment with the firemen and his friends. I was like sobbing at that point,” Warren shared. “The next day, I came to work and I just started singing the chorus of ‘I’m Standing with You,’ and I blocked out that scene and it made me cry. And I thought the song could work amazingly for the movie, but then it’s powerful outside the movie too. The times we’re living in are so divided that you could have a song that says whatever you go through, I’m standing with you. It’s a cool thing right now.”

The track could bring Warren her 11th Oscar nomination and the third in a row. But she’s not thinking too much about finally winning. “I would love to be nominated again. I’m leaning into the Susan Lucci of it all,” she joked. “Someone was saying, ‘You’re Susan Lucci,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, but she won.’ And I go, “How many times?” thinking it was like 11 or something. It’s 19. ‘F—.’”

Video by Andrew Merrill

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