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"Till it Happens to You:" Diane Warren's Oscar-Nominated Collaboration with Lady Gaga

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Regina Weinreich

2016-02-19-1455917710-4961825-DianeWarrenLadyGaga © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-19-1455917710-4961825-DianeWarrenLadyGaga
The Hunting Ground, a powerful documentary from filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, shines a light on the widespread phenomenon of rape on college campuses. The film's music supervisor Bonnie Greenberg called Diane Warren to write the music. The prolific and popular songwriter with 7 Oscar nods immediately said yes. Now, with "Till it Happens to You," that makes 8 nominations for Original Song. In a recent phone interview, I asked her about this song, and collaborating with Lady Gaga.
You responded immediately to working on The Hunting Ground. Was the subject particular to you?
I got molested--not raped--when I was 12. You feel like you had something to do with it and you didn't. This says so much about our culture: if you report rape, you are raped twice, asked, what did you do to cause this? I wanted to do a song for this movie: at the beginning you hear about sexual assault on campuses. The girls are vulnerable when you hear the song in the middle. They get pissed off. By the end, when you hear it again, they are activists marching and changing laws.
How did you get Lady Gaga, and what was it like working with her?
I called her. I thought, I'm going to take the chance. She was sobbing, and said, "I don't know if I can handle this, reliving my experience." I have a lot of faith. I flew to New York. I thought if she says no, I'll just spend a nice few days in the city. She said yes, and we went into a studio and she changed whatever she had to change. She was great. She took the song to where I never saw it going. She's a trained classical musician, the real deal, and her performance is amazing: by the end of the song, Gaga is a warrior with a machine gun. She said, "I'm not someone you'll want to meet in an alley." Now we're working together, writing songs for her new album.
Has rape awareness and prevention become a cause for you?
I am primarily an animal activist. I have a cat named Mouse, a parrot named Buttwings, and a gecko named Pickle. That's my family.
How would winning an Oscar change your life?
I'd love not to be an Oscar loser anymore, but especially for this song. The song already changed my life. It made me talk about being molested. The message is helping people. I get tons of notes every day, especially after Catherine Hardwicke's video on Youtube. It has 26 million views. The song is resonant for sexual assault, and resonant for anything difficult: maybe something traumatic happened; this song can help. It gives an empowering voice to something people are too afraid to talk about. And the song is giving back to colleges. There's an a capella competition at the White House, with groups all sending in their versions of "Till it Happens to You."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.

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