A hitmaker without any trophies to show for it, Diane Warren recalls her time with Selena while gearing up for another run at Oscar

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© Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY

DAN BUFFA, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

“Feeling more love and support than I ever have in my life.”

Those were Diane Warren’s words a few weeks ago after coming up short on Oscar night. They say “deserve” has nothing to do with it, but people would argue that Warren’s case defies the old adage that effort doesn’t determine excellence. For her, creating is more gratifying than winning–especially since one always remains in your control.

She does hold the record that is often unpopular; being nominated for the most Academy Awards for Best Song (12 times!) without winning. Just don’t mistake the lack of shiny paperweights in the study as means to stop producing material. At the tender yet rustic age of 64, she’s still in the news and lighting the torch for people.

But it’s her connection with the famous singer with the saddest story – Selena — that is making headlines this week. Netflix released “Selena: The Series” in two parts, with the latter featuring the Mexican-American performer’s pitstop with Warren. The Jewish vocal artist wrote her a hit song, one that wasn’t even intended for Selena.

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In an Instagram post, Warren recalled her time with the singer 25 years ago, when they worked in the studio together. For her, it was another instance where she was unlocking the keys to the kingdom for someone else. After all, she has written nine No. 1 songs and 32 different songs that landed in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A career that spans close to 40 years, kicking off back in 1983. Unlike most singers-artists who don’t often link their creations to strangers or collaborators as often-Warren has contributed to countless films, various projects, and many artists.

Less than a month after losing out on Oscar attempt  No. 12 — a songwriting credit on “Io Si (Seen)” for “The Life Ahead”–Warren already has her sights set on next year’s ceremony. She wrote a song, which was sung by Reba McEntire, for the Mila Kunis film, “Four Good Days.” While the film wasn’t exactly adored by critics, the song at the end did provide an emotional catharsis for a film that revolved around substance abuse and rebirth. Speaking with Yahoo, Warren talked about finding hope in the writing of the song, something that was in short supply after a pandemic.

But the most endearing thing about Warren is her reluctance to enter “sore loser” town. All these years later, she doesn’t hold a hint of regret or sadness about not seeing her words celebrated on a stage once a year. Her brilliance lies in the entire spectrum of song creation. A love that exists in an empty piece of paper that is bound to find a voice out there to enhance. When it comes to finding the right artist to sing one of her songs, Warren compared the search to finding the right actor for a role in a movie.

“You can’t just go with anybody. You have to go with somebody who fits that movie, and fits that song,” Warren told Yahoo. “Someone like Reba, you got both.”

McEntire, possibly like Selena two and a half decades ago, presented that strong, resilient voice that made the words stand tall. For Diane Warren, that’ll always be worth more than winning a trophy.