Music Legend Diane Warren Said She Didn’t Mean To Shade Beyoncé After Questioning How Many People It Takes To Write A Song

"This isn't meant as shade, I'm just curious."

Diane Warren, the award-winning songwriter behind a massive list of hits, tweeted on Monday what looked like a dig at Beyoncé's song "Alien Superstar" from the new album Renaissance.

"How can there be 24 writers on a song?" Warren, who's written for artists from Aerosmith and Celine Dion to Beyoncé herself, tweeted with a confused emoji.

How can there be 24 writers on a song?🙄

Twitter: @Diane_Warren

Warren followed up her tweet with more, saying, "This isn't meant as shade, I'm just curious," then "Ok, it's prob samples that add up the ammount of writerrs."

This isn't meant as shade, I'm just curious

Twitter: @Diane_Warren

Ok, it's prob samples that add up the ammount of writerrs

Twitter: @Diane_Warren

Warren ultimately apologized for what she described as a misunderstanding, saying, "Ok, I meant no disrespect to @Beyonce, who I've worked with and admire. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding."

Beyonce's Renaissance does credit a lot of songwriters on each song, partly because of the samples and interpolations used to create the lush, dense sound that nods to Black and queer music history. And Beyoncé is among the pop artists famous for turning to songwriting camps that proponents say emphasize collaboration in the creative process. "Alien Superstar" has 24 songwriters credited, including samples from the 2008 song "Moonraker" by John Michael Holiday, who performs as Foremost Poets, and the 1973 speech "Black Theater" by Barbara Ann Teer.

People on Twitter were quick to call out Warren for her take, and it also started a conversation about how Black and hip-hop artists collaborate with others.

Folks say musicians have too many writers on their songs, but samples, quotes, references, and influences are important in all aspects of art. Collaboration is a skill that many can't flex. It's a white, capitalistic, patriarchal idea that brilliance solely happens in isolation.

Twitter: @RaquelWillis_

@Diane_Warren You mean how’s does our (Black) culture have so many writers, well it started because we couldn’t afford certain things starting out,so we started sampling and it became an Artform, a major part of the Black Culture (hip hop) in America.Had that era not happen who knows. U good?

Twitter: @TheKingDream

I know it’s in your culture to just take things and pretend that you created them, but when you actually credit all contributors you may end up with 24 writers on a song

Twitter: @MyHandsRatedE

Diane Warren is so intellectually dishonest and I hate how commonplace and accepted that kind of approach has become. If you have 24 authors on your works cited for a college essay were they all in the library working at once? Obviously not. Crediting samples is pretty intuitive.

Twitter: @Ianfluence

Though Warren has preferred to work alone on her songs like "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," "Un-Break My Heart," and "If I Could Turn Back Time," she wasn't bluffing when she said she admires Beyoncé as an artist. Just a couple of days ago, Warren tweeted that "I Was Here," which she wrote and Beyoncé released in 2011, was one of her favorites.

In 2021, Warren told Rolling Stone what it was like working with Beyoncé on that song. Once Beyoncé heard it, she immediately went into the studio to record it, and Warren said she thought it sounded perfect. But Beyoncé wanted to record it again to make it even better.

"And that’s a difference, by the way, between a great artist and a not-great artist," Warren told Rolling Stone. "I mean, that’s why she’s gonna be around forever.”

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