Diane Warren questioned why Beyoncé has 24 writers on one song. She found out real fast

A collage showing a musician holding an award and another posing on a red carpet
Beyoncé, left, released her new album last week, prompting Diane Warren to wonder how so many writers could have worked on one song.
(Robert Gauthier / Jay L Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Diane Warren found herself in the crosshairs of Beyoncé’s mighty Beyhive — not to mention a heated culture war — on Monday after she questioned the number of songwriters on a track from Bey’s new “Renaissance” album.

The Hall of Fame songwriter, best known for writing iconic ballads and film songs, took to Twitter to ask: “How can there be 24 writers on a song?” with an eye-roll emoji. Then she added, “This isn’t meant as shade, I’m just curious.”

Although the Grammy winner (and repeat Oscar nominee) did not mention Beyoncé or a particular song by name, the singer’s devoted fans were quick to give Warren a lesson — especially on sampling, the art of using an excerpt from an existing recording.

Bey’s empowering track “Alien Superstar” has 24 songwriters on it, including herself, husband Jay-Z, Honey Redmond, Christopher Lawrence Penny, Luke Francis Matthew Solomon and Nova Wav duo Denisia Andrews and Brittany Coney, among others.

Additionaly, Right Said Fred artists Richard, Peter and John Fairbrass, whose song “I’m Too Sexy” seemed to influence Beyoncé’s vocal cadence on the song, are also listed as songwriters.

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Singer-songwriter and producer The-Dream — who collaborated on “Renaissance” and also featured Beyoncé on his 2013 song “Turnt “ — was among the scores of critics who weighed in on Warren’s question, offering this pointed explanation to the “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “Because You Loved Me” scribe.

“You mean how’s does our (Black) culture have so many writers,” he tweeted. “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?”

That prompted another response from Warren, 65, who wrote: “I didn’t mean that as an attack or as disrespect. I didn’t know this, thank U for making me aware of it. No need to be mean about it.” She also tweeted that it was probably the number of samples on “Alien Superstar” that led to the two dozen credits.

Still, fans still felt that Warren meant her tweets “as an attack” and argued that she was playing the victim with her responses. Others were quick to punch below the belt and compare her signature dark-haired look to that of convicted socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

The-Dream replied again, seeming to recognize Warren’s prolific oeuvre, tweeting: “Btw I know it’s not a one on one writing contest you looking for from no one over here…… you don’t want that smoke And you know I love you, but come on. Stop acting like your records haven’t been sampled.”


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Warren appeared to wrap up the discourse on her end with an apology that came about six hours after her initial tweet.

“Ok, I meant no disrespect to @Beyonce, who I’ve worked with and admire. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding,” she wrote. (Warren wrote “I Was Here,” which appeared on Beyoncé’s 2011 album, “4.”)