Diane Warren, Ali Tamposi and Starrah Visit ‘Deep Hidden Meaning with Nile Rodgers’

In celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8), Nile Rodgers is welcoming three inspiring female songwriters to be a part of his Apple Music 1 series Deep Hidden Meaning Radio with Nile Rodgers—Diane Warren, Ali Tamposi and Starrah.

Videos by American Songwriter

As part of a global program, Apple Music is celebrating female leaders in their field; breaking records, topping charts, and inspiring others through their work, positive change, and influence within pop culture and beyond.

“On this month’s episode, my conversations with Diane Warren, Ali Tamposi and Starrah, three of the most powerful women in songwriting, were at times lots of fun, and at other times were very grounding and profound,” Rodgers tells American Songwriter. “We take a look back at some of the challenging times from our past and the individual states of mind when we wrote some of our biggest songs. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.” 

On the show, Warren talks about her No. 1 hits, shares how she secretly sang on one of Cher’s records and gets deep into Aerosmith’s 1998 hit “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.”

Warren on “If I Could Turn Back Time” and imitating Cher:

Nile Rodgers: “I had no idea you wrote “If I Could Turn Back Time.” No idea.” 

Diane Warren: “[sings with Cher voice] If I could turn back time, if I could find a way… “I do a good Cher imitation. I’ve actually sang lead and she didn’t even know. I did a Milli Vanilli on a Cher record once. She wouldn’t do an ad-lib and I went in and went [sings] “Wo-oh!” She doesn’t even know it’s not her. Cheri Vanilli”

Warren on Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”

Nile Rodgers: “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” did you write that independent of getting the film gig [Independence Day]?

Diane Warren: No, I wrote it for the movie but I had the title. There was an interview with Barbra Streisand and James Brolin where he was saying that when he falls asleep he misses Barbra Streisand. I can’t relate to it, I don’t want someone to stay awake and watch me breathe and all that, but I thought it was a really cool idea so I wrote down the title ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ and I didn’t write it. But when I saw Armageddon, I saw the ending and I met with Jerry Bruckheimer and I knew what they needed and I’m like, ‘It’s the end of the world, an astroid hitting the earth, what better time to write ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing?’ So I wrote it not thinking Aerosmith at all, because I never in a million years would think they would do my song. I thought it would be a female singer, whoever at that time, like a Celine, someone like that. I love Celine, there’s nothing against her, but how boring it is to hear a girl sing that, like it sounds kinda whiny. But when you hear Steven Tyler with his tattoos and this rock guy singing that, he’s so vulnerable so every woman whose boyfriend and husband doesn’t show his feelings, so he’s singing to all of them, you know? So, it became this whole different thing with Steven singing it that it wouldn’t have been for a female artist. 

Nile Rodgers: Interesting. Man, he kills it.

Diane Warren: I think that’s one of the best records ever, that should have been Record of the Year. Matt Serletic produced that. That was a great record, the string arrangement at the beginning and Steven’s vocal was insane. And that’s the biggest hit of their lives. 

Nile talks with Ali Tamposi about the stories behind the songs she wrote, including “Let Me Love You” (DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber) and “Wolves” (Selena Gomez and Marshmello) and how getting sober was the key to her success.

Ali Tamposi: Eventually, once I started to figure out how to use my brain again, I was able to just tap into all this stuff I was running from. And I feel like there’s just an endless well of pain and emotions and all sorts of things that I was masking, that I continuously draw from for inspiration. And it’s something with that acoustic guitar and the riffs that I get high off of them and I’m able to express myself so much better through melody, through writing the lyrics. Words, I think fail me for sure in conversation, I’m not able to tap into that same space but when the chords are right and when there’s that riff, it just flows and I can get the feelings out so much easier, so it’s been such a therapeutic process. A lot of those lyrics in ‘Let Me Love You,’ you can interpret them in so many different ways and for me it was that self-love thing that just really got me through. It’s been a journey and it’s 5 years. But then I look at my life for the last 5 years—the success—and my life now is a result of really getting through the muck and the nitty gritty and being honest and being sober. 

Nile continued the show chatting with Starrah, who opened up about her songwriting, how she prefers to stay home than network at parties, and how she wrote Rihanna’s hit “Needed Me.”

Starrah on Rihanna’s “Needed Me”

Starrah: I had just gone through a break-up. And one of the things in my mind was, obviously, this person needed me for something. I couldn’t really figure out what that was but it just made me write the song like, you needed me, and I had to think about all the reasons why this person needed me and in a way where they had to make me feel like I was disposable to a certain degree. And so that’s where my mind went to writing the song ‘Needed Me.’ And then for the melodies and stuff, the beat, DJ Mustard and Twice As Nice had just a loop [sings] and then they added the drums and stuff. I went to another room and we could not get the sound right for some reason we were in this closet. We were at a house and you know it’s hard to get the sonics right when you’re at a house and it’s not specifically made for making music. But we were literally in a closet and I kept trying to get this melody out [hums melody]. It wasn’t coming out, it wasn’t recording through the thing, so I had to keep remembering it for an hour. And it stayed there but for that I wanted to do something swirly that nobody had ever done before. I’d never heard anybody swirl a melody around like that. So, I just wanted to do it. I like to challenge myself in ways like that. When I make music I want to hear something I’ve never heard before. That’s really where it goes, I just try to make melodies that if I heard it, I’d say, ‘I wish I wrote that song.’

Tune in and listen to the full episode for free on Saturday (March 6) at 8am (L.A.) / 11am (N.Y.) / 4pm (London) at apple.co/_DHMRadio. In honor of International Women’s Day, the episode will be available Friday (March 5) on-demand to Apple Music subscribers.

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