The Supernova Songwriter

Brigitte Sire

Scooter Braun, Diane Warren & Donald De Line

With several dozen trophies lining Warren's Hollywood office, you'd think she'd be jaded about awards, especially given the more quantifiable kudos of having been partly responsible for sales of more than a half-billion albums in a three-decade career (40 million of Michael Bolton's alone) on the back of some 100 Top 10 hits. But one of the best-selling songwriters of all time still is thrilled to have two compositions up for Grammys this year -- "Born to Be Somebody" from the Justin Bieber concert doc Never Say Never and Cher's "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from Burlesque -- even if they are competing against each other. So what has Warren, 55, so jazzed on this go-round? The age difference between the singers, she says: "Fifty years!" Not that the spread had much impact on her process. While she couldn't imagine Cher performing Bieber's ballad or Bieber taking on the brassiness of "Last," Warren's first impulse is to find the "emotional truth" and build from there. Says Braun, 30, Bieber's manager: "We get letters from kids all the time, but one in particular was from a girl who said 'Born to Be Somebody' stopped her from killing herself; Diane's words made her believe in herself." Burlesque producer De Line, who declines to give his age, concurs: "You know you're going to get a great pop song with a beautiful melody, but Diane also finds the heart of the moment." For Warren, heart is what's missing in much of today's music -- except for one particular artist. "Look at Adele," she says. "She's sold millions. Why? She's got a great voice, but she's real and people can connect with her -- something no amount of production or hype can do."

Photographed by Brigitte Sire on Jan. 20 at Warren's Realsongs office in Hollywood