Diane Warren, one of the most prolific writers of hit songs ever in the music industry, admittedly has an active imagination. In the late 1990s, she wrote “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” for Aerosmith. It was the rock band’s first song to go to No. 1 — but make no mistake, Warren doesn’t live by the song’s lovey-dovey lyrics. “You know, when I wrote ‘I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing’ — I’m probably not going to ‘stay awake just to hear you breathing.’ I don’t want you in my bed, because I like sleeping by myself,” Warren told NPR in a recent interview. Much the same can be said for the cornucopia of hit love songs she’s written throughout the years. But for her collaboration with Lady Gaga last year, personal experience was an all-too-real aspect of the creative process. With Gaga, Warren co-wrote “Til It Happens To You,” a song that accompanied The Hunting Ground, a documentary about campus rape and was released last September. “I was molested,” Warren said in the interview. “I never told my mom — well, I told her later in life. My mom goes, ‘Why didn’t you tell your dad?’ I don’t know. I felt weird. Maybe you feel it’s a little bit your fault or something … I was, like, 12 years old. What did I know?”
As a writer, Warren doesn’t face the brunt of harassment and rape culture that performers like Lady Gaga endure. But she reached out to Gaga about working on the song because the subject matter was especially meaningful for her — she shares an experience with Gaga from early on in her career. Gaga has spoken about once being assaulted by a music producer, and when Warren was trying to establish herself in the music business, the songwriter recalled, she attended a meeting with a sound engineer who, in the middle of the meeting, took out his penis and masturbated in front of her. She said the assault she endured as a 12-year-old still impacts her life today.
Read the full story at NPR.