Diane Warren’s songwriting job for Tell It Like a Woman was simple: create a hymn for female empowerment.
“We tend to beat ourselves up a lot,” the veteran tune scribe said during a panel at Deadline’s Sound & Screen event. “Every now and then you have to just give yourself some f*cking applause, give yourself some love, give yourself some respect. Give it to yourself before you give it to someone else.”
Tell It Like a Woman is comprised of seven segments directed by female directors from different parts of the world. Genres include drama, comedy, docudrama and animation. “They are pretty powerful stories,” said Warren. “I wanted to write a song that could fit in all these various movies, which is basically just about empowerment. These are stories about strong women. I wanted the song to reflect that.”
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It took her about five days just to write the lyrics for her song “Applause,” which was sung by Sofia Carson in the movie, because she wanted to get them just right.
The intertwining segments of Tell It Like a Woman include Unspoken, directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi and starring Margherita Buy; Lagonegro, directed by Lucia Puenzo and starring Eva Longoria; Elbows Deep, directed by Catherine Hardwicke and starring Cara Delevingne, Marcia Gay Harden and Jasmine Luv; Sharing a Ride, directed by Leena Yadav and starring Jacqueline Fernandez and Anjali Lama; A Week In My Life, directed by Mipo O and starring Anne Watanabe; and Pepcy & Kim, directed by Taraji P. Henson and starring Jennifer Hudson and Pauletta Washington. The project is the result of a collaboration with We Do It Together, a nonprofit film production company that advocates for gender equality and was founded by producer Chiara Tilesi. Producers are Tilesi, Andrea Iervolino, Lucas Akoskin and Monika Bacardi.
After talking about her process, Warren was asked about the Academy’s Governors Award she’s set to receive later this month. Her plan is to set the honorary Oscar on her piano where she can look at it every day.
“It took me 34 years,” said Warren, a 13-time nominee, who insisted that winning the Academy Award won’t impact her songwriting going forward. “I do what I do because I love it. That being said, it’s f*cking cool to have an Oscar.”
Check back Monday for the panel video.