meta-scriptHow Diane Warren Stepped Out From Behind The Curtain On Her Debut Album 'The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1' | GRAMMY.com
How Diane Warren Stepped Out From Behind The Curtain On Her Debut Album 'The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1'

Diane Warren

Photo: Mekael Dawson

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How Diane Warren Stepped Out From Behind The Curtain On Her Debut Album 'The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1'

Diane Warren has written hits for GRAMMY winners for decades, but never made an album with her own name on the sleeve. That just changed with 'The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1,' where she's flanked by some seriously famous friends.

GRAMMYs/Oct 6, 2021 - 05:53 pm

Like a bird simply being a bird or a tree being a tree, Diane Warren has an unshakeable understanding of herself—both what she is and isn't. She's not a singer. She doesn't perform live. Rather, Warren writes songs—some of the most successful songs of all time, for artists like Lady GagaAerosmith, and Cher. She harbors no illusions about doing anything else. Nor does she play up the persona of the arteest, getting precious in interviews about "the craft."

That said, what prompted this non-performer to release her first-ever studio album, The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1, with a litany of famous collaborators—ranging from Carlos Santana to John Legend to Ty Dolla $ign? While considering the pantheon of DJs in the music world, the GRAMMY winner and 15-time nominee had a lightbulb moment. "I thought, 'You know what? I'll be DJ Diane and I'll do the songwriter version of that,'" Warren tells GRAMMY.com. As such, she took a crack at a "curated body of work" of self-written songs.

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DJ Diane's gambit paid off on the first volume of The Cave Sessions, which was released August 27. (In fact, she's already pondering a Vol. 2.) The wildly diverse and genre-shifting album gets sultry ("She's Fire," with Santana and G-Eazy), ebullient ("Seaside," with Rita Ora, Sofia Reyes, and Reik), and cathartic ("Where Is Your Heart," with John Legend) in equal measure. What ties it all together is Warren's unmistakable songwriting voice—economical, universal, leading with emotion.

As for Santana, it was no problem jumping on "She's Fire" on short notice—despite not previously knowing Warren, not to mention the unconventionality of working with a rapper. To explain this, he evokes the landscapers on riding mowers in his Maui neighborhood. "Behind them, there are 12 to 20 white storks, and they look like angels following them," he tells GRAMMY.com. "I feel like that. I feel like I can mow anybody's lawn—or be in anybody's song—and just show up, and the angels will show up with me."

Ultimately, that's what The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1 sounds like: A master stepping out from behind the curtain with earned confidence—and a battalion of powerful guardians cheering her on. Read on for an in-depth interview with Diane Warren about The Cave Sessions, looking back on her decades-long career, and the one thing she'd change about the music industry.

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This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Can you lay out the foundation of how The Cave Sessions came to be?

The Cave is my writing room, and it's really disgusting. I haven't cleaned it in quite a long time. The idea of doing this record was that I saw so many DJs—Mark RonsonDJ KhaledDavid Guetta—all these guys that do that. I thought, "You know what? I'll be DJ Diane and I'll do the songwriter version of that." 

Most songwriters are in one genre; I'm all over the place—I wanted my album to reflect that. I'm still going to do the same thing I normally do where the artist does all the work, but it's a curated body of work. That's what's different.

You've never recorded an album under your name before. Why is that?

I'm a behind-the-scenes person, basically. I'm cool just writing songs for people. That's still what I'm doing on this record. The artists and producers are doing all the work; I happened to write the songs. I just thought it was a cool thing to do to show the diversity in styles in what I do and tie it all together—hopefully with great songs.

It was almost like a microcosm of my career in the various styles I work in—whether it's Latin, whether it's country, whether it's rock, whether it's hip-hop or R&B. I'm everywhere, so I wanted my record to be like that.

What was it about your early development that made you want to remain behind the curtain?

I always just wanted to be a songwriter. I wasn't one of those people where it didn't work out being an artist, or being in a band. I never was an artist, and I never was in a band.

There was no question about what you wanted to do, then.

Yeah, it was never a question of what I wanted to do. I knew from when I was a kid that this is what I aspired to be and wanted to do. I've known it for a while. It's what I do.

Tell me about your collaborators on The Cave Sessions. How did they arrive in your orbit?

We'll start with John Legend and "Where Is Your Heart." I just kept getting frustrated that he kept not using the song. It was such a great song and performance. I kept giving it to other artists and he wanted it back and then wouldn't use it and I'd get it back from him.

Truth be told, nobody sounded as great as John Legend on that song. A couple of other people worked it up, but I was like, "This song needs to get heard. I'm not giving up on it." Anybody who knows me knows that's how I am. I'm a pain in the ass until something's a hit, and then they're like, [Gushing voice] "We love your passion!" But this song, I just felt determined to get it heard.

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What do you appreciate about John Legend's musicality at its core?

He's a real artist. He's a great musician. He's a great singer. I had a meeting with him seven or eight years ago. I played him a couple of things that he wasn't that into, and I went, "I wrote this song, and I don't know if it's right for you." That was "Where Is Your Heart," and he literally recorded it the next day. I remember being in the room and being like, "F***, man. This is one of the best things I've ever heard." It was just him and a piano.

That's the thing: When a song's great, you don't need a lot more. It's just his emotion and what he put into that song. So it was frustrating when he kept not using it, but you know what? Now the world gets to hear it.

How did The Cave Sessions continue to grow from there?

When I was thinking about doing this project, I was like, "That song has to be on this!" And then there were a couple of other ones, and it went on and on, and it kept changing. I'm always writing new songs, so I was frustrating my team because I was like, "No, I want this one! But wait, that one's great! We'll do a Vol. II!". I kept doing songs when the album was almost turned in.

That's why I did the last song, "Sweet," with Jon Batiste and Pentatonix. The album was done, but I loved the song and thought it was an important song for the album. I loved the message of it, as the world was starting to open up. It's such a positive message, so I put that on the album.

Read More: Jon Batiste Talks New Album 'We Are,' His Brain-Breaking Itinerary & Achieving "Freedom" From Genre

A lot of these artists I didn't know. Like, I didn't know Santana, but I knew I wanted him on "She's Fire." I came up with that guitar riff—I usually don't write a guitar riff in a song—but I wrote that little thing at the end of the chorus. I kept hearing Carlos Santana in my head, playing it. I didn't know him, but I sent him the song and he loved it.

And then it was like, "Oh, well, someone's got to sing it!" A friend of mine said, "You've got to work with G-Eazy. He'd be so f***ing perfect for this song. He's known as a rapper, but I bet he could sing this. I bet he'd put some swag on it." You don't have to be a virtuoso singer to sing it; you just have to be vibey. It turned out great. He loved the song. He kind of said "yes" before he even heard it, and then when he heard it, he was really excited.

What's your background with Santana's music? To me, his guitar is a sound you hear very early on as a music fan.

Yeah! I mean, I grew up being a huge Santana fan. All his records were so great. I'm from L.A. and we love Santana here. But, again, I didn't know him. I actually reached out to Narada Michael Walden, who's a friend of mine. He gave me Carlos' manager's number, and I reached out and sent the song to Carlos. He sent me a giant thing of flowers. It was really nice.

I still haven't met him! We've only met on Zoom and text and talking on the phone. It's so funny because, with the pandemic, when everything was under lockdown, my friend Peter Stengaard—who co-produced "She's Fire" with Ish Cano—actually had a place next door to Carlos on Kauai. When I was trying to get him involved with the production, Peter goes "He's my next-door neighbor." Oh my god. How perfect is that? So he literally went next door and did the guitar part.

And then with G-Eazy, these are two totally different artists. And the fun, for me, was putting these two worlds together—that you wouldn't think would be together—and they create a different world. Like this magical combination, you know? I love the two of them on there.

Songs aside, what are your favorite moments on The Cave Sessions?

I have a lot of favorites. I'll tell you one that just blows me away every time I hear it: "Not Prepared For You" by Lauren Jauregui. That performance is spectacular. Something my songs do for people over the years is take them to the next level.

Lauren's from Fifth Harmony, where Camila Cabello and Normani are from. And Ally Brooke, who's also great. With "Not Prepared For You," I wanted it for Lauren. I was in the studio when she did that and I was like, "F***. She's so f***ing good on this song. This song will take her to the next level."

I love everything on the record, or it wouldn't be on the record, to be honest. With each song, there's a moment.

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Tell me about the information embedded in these tunes—what you were trying to say that you haven't said in songs in the past.

Well, it wasn't like I was trying to say anything in particular, to be honest. I just wanted to put together an album of great songs with great artists, like Celine [Dion]. I gave Celine something so different than normally I would give her. It wasn't the big ballad. [It was] something more soulful.

And for me, it was a chance to work with someone like Ty Dolla $ign. I worked with Luis Fonsi a long time ago, and it was great to work with him again. I've worked with Rita Ora before. I was nominated for an Oscar with a song called "Grateful" I did for her. But we hadn't done anything since then, and it was kind of fun putting together Rita, Sofia [Reyes], and Reik, who's a Latin group.

I appreciate your intense focus on what you wish to accomplish in life and art. What about your early life made you you, demeanor-wise?

I have no idea. I've just been doing this forever. I love writing songs. It's my life. It's been my life since I was about 11, and I'm older than that now. Now I'm 29—I'm just kidding. This is just what I love and what I do. I'm happy that what I do is what I love.

Every time I write a song, I'm learning something. I just wrote a song that I finished yesterday, actually, in a style I've never written in before. So, that was really fun. I'm always learning.

From your perspective, how has the music industry landscape changed in the decades you've been in this business?

I mean, I'll tell you what's consistent: It's all about the song. I think there are a lot more writers on songs now. The writing-by-committee thing—I'm so not a committee person. I think it's always the power of one person that changes the world. I don't know what 10 people do on a song, to be honest. I know what one person does on my songs, you know?

It's changed a bit, with streaming and all that. But what it all comes down to—it doesn't matter what it is—is either the song's compelling and people want it, or it's not.

Are the pressures different for you today versus when the industry was in a different place?

No. I still put myself under a lot of pressure. I can only speak from my point of view, really. The only pressure for me is pressure to better myself.

What about on the licensing and publishing side? What have you learned over the years that you can share?

I mean, I own my own publishing, which is great. If you can do that, that's always good to do it. Not everybody can, and it takes time to get to that place.

To build up your autonomy?

Yeah. It just worked for me because I'm a self-starter and a go-getter. It's not like I've ever needed a publisher to do what I do. I can't give big life lessons about that. I just know what works for me.

Diane Warren. Photo: Mekael Dawson

When you look back on your entire songbook, what stands out in your mind? Are there any tunes you're particularly proud of?

You know, I'm proud of a lot of them. "'Til It Happens For You," the song I wrote for Gaga. I'm proud of "Because You Loved Me," the one Celine did. I'm proud of all my songs. I'm proud of songs you haven't heard yet. I'm proud of "I Was Here," the song I did with Beyoncé. They're all deep songs.

But then, I love "Seaside," from my album. I'm proud of that. It's like a shot of positivity right now.

It seems like you're not jaded about the process at all.

No! But I don't let it f*** with my process at all because this is what I do and this is what I love.

What are you jaded about?

Well, I'll tell you one thing: Everything's so data-driven. That's frustrating. Because, to me, the data that matters is: Does it make your heart stop? Does it make the hairs on your arms stand up? Does it make you say, "What the f*** was that?" Does it make you sit there and say, [Breathless voice] "What?" That's the data that matters to me. But what are you going to do? That's the world that we live in.

Do you mean streaming numbers, specifically?

I'll give you an example: There's an unnamed artist and his manager works for a major record company. He did an independent release, right? I said, "Why? Your manager works for that major label." He said, "My TikTok numbers aren't high enough." That... just… f***. Because this guy's really talented and his records are really good. Yeah, that kind of s*** is frustrating.

If the Beatles or Prince came out and their TikTok numbers weren't high enough—you know what I mean? It's a strange world with all that. I don't understand that, to be honest. My brain isn't a data brain. I just try to write songs that make you feel something.

Well, you're plucking something from the ether that's spiritual and immaterial. It seems unfair to assign a cold numerical value to it.

I mean, it is a business. I get it. It's the music business.

If you could change one thing about the mechanisms of the music industry, what would it be?

I would make it less about that stuff and more about playing something because you love it. Not putting something on the radio because it has enough TikTok numbers, but because it's a great song and a great artist.

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2024 GRAMMYs: Miley Cyrus Wins The GRAMMY For Record Of The Year for "Flowers"
Miley Cyrus at the 2024 GRAMMYs

Photo: Valerie Macon / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

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2024 GRAMMYs: Miley Cyrus Wins The GRAMMY For Record Of The Year for "Flowers"

2024 GRAMMYs: Miley Cyrus Wins The GRAMMY for Record Of The Year for "Flowers"

GRAMMYs/Feb 5, 2024 - 04:44 am

Miley Cyrus has won Record of the Year at the 2024 GRAMMYs for her hit “Flowers.”

Accepting the award with her production team, Cyrus was irreverent and self-effacing, especially after having already won her first ever Golden Gramophone for Best Pop Solo Performance earlier in the evening.

“This award is amazing, but I really hope it doesn’t change anything, because my life was beautiful yesterday,” Cyrus said.

The pop singer beat out Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, Jon Batiste, Dua Lipa, SZA, Olivia Rodrigo, and Billie Eilish for the award, which was presented by Mark Ronson and his mother-in-law, the actress Meryl Streep. “Flowers” was a massive commercial hit, debuting at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 and spending eight consecutive weeks in the top spot.

As she finished her speech, during which she thanked her collaborators, their partners, and her fans, Cyrus said “I don’t think I’ve forgotten anyone, but I might’ve forgotten underwear.”

Keep checking this space for more updates from Music’s Biggest Night!

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2024 GRAMMYs To Pay Tribute to Tony Bennett, Sinead O'Connor, Clarence Avant & Tina Turner With In Memoriam Segment
(Clockwise from top-left:) Annie Lennox, Fantasia Barrino, Jon Batiste, Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin, Stevie Wonder.

Photo: Courtesy of artists

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2024 GRAMMYs To Pay Tribute to Tony Bennett, Sinead O'Connor, Clarence Avant & Tina Turner With In Memoriam Segment

The GRAMMY Awards segment will feature performances by Stevie Wonder in tribute to Tony Bennett; Jon Batiste honoring Clarence Avant; Annie Lennox for Sinead O'Connor; and Fantasia Barrino remembering Tina Turner, airing live on Sunday Feb. 4.

GRAMMYs/Feb 2, 2024 - 10:34 pm

The 2024 GRAMMYs will feature a special In Memoriam segment to honor the lives of some of the incredible individuals that the music world lost this year with performances by GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists. 

Stevie Wonder will take the stage to pay homage to the legendary Tony Bennett, celebrating Bennett's remarkable contributions to music and devotion to the Great American Songbook.

Annie Lennox will perform in tribute to Irish icon Sinead O’Connor. Joining her for this heartfelt homage will be Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman

Jon Batiste is set to honor Clarence Avant, the "Godfather of Black Music," with a performance dedicated to the influential figure's impact on music and culture. Lenny Kravitz, one of this year's Global Impact Award recipients, will also play a significant role in this segment, both participating and introducing the tribute, linking two generations of music icons.

In a tribute to the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner, Fantasia Barrino will perform, capturing the spirit and energy of Turner's music. Oprah Winfrey will also be part of this segment, introducing the performance, and adding a layer of gravitas to the tribute to one of music's most powerful voices.

In addition to the In Memoriam segment, the 2024 GRAMMYs will feature breathtaking performances from the leading artists in music today. Performers at the 2024 GRAMMYs include Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, Burna Boy, Dua Lipa, Joni Mitchell, Luke Combs, Olivia Rodrigo, SZA, Travis Scott, and U2

Several confirmed GRAMMY performers will make GRAMMY history at the 2024 GRAMMYs this weekend: Mitchell will make her GRAMMY performance debut, while U2 will deliver the first-ever broadcast performance from Sphere in Las Vegas. Click here to see the full list of performers and presenters at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Trevor Noah, the two-time GRAMMY-nominated comedian, actor, author, podcast host, and former "The Daily Show" host, returns to host the 2024 GRAMMYs for the fourth consecutive year; he is currently nominated at the 2024 GRAMMYs in the Best Comedy Album Category for his 2022 Netflix comedy special, I Wish You Would

Learn More: 2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

2024 GRAMMYs: Explore More & Meet The Nominees

The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, will broadcast live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Prior to the Telecast, the 2024 GRAMMYs Premiere Ceremony will broadcast live from the Peacock Theater at 12:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on live.GRAMMY.com

On GRAMMY Sunday, fans can access exclusive behind-the-scenes GRAMMY Awards content, including performances, acceptance speeches, interviews from the GRAMMY Live red-carpet special, and more via the Recording Academy's digital experience on live.GRAMMY.com

The 66th GRAMMY Awards are produced by Fulwell 73 Productions for the Recording Academy for the fourth consecutive year. Ben Winston, Raj Kapoor and Jesse Collins are executive producers. 

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers will have access to stream live via the live feed of their local CBS affiliate on the service, as well as on demand in the United States. Paramount+ Essential subscribers will not have the option to stream live but will have access to on-demand the day after the special airs in the U.S. only.

Stay tuned for more updates as we approach Music's Biggest Night!

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The Official 2024 GRAMMYs Playlist is Here: Listen To Songs By SZA, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift, Jon Batiste, & More
(L-R, clockwise from top left): Burna Boy, Rauw Alejandro, SZA, Jelly Roll, Taylor Swift, boygenius, Miley Cyrus

Photos (L-R, clockwise from top left): Joseph Okpako/WireImage, Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy, Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post via Getty Images, Taylor Hill/WireImage, Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic, Vijat Mohindra/NBC via Getty Images

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The Official 2024 GRAMMYs Playlist is Here: Listen To Songs By SZA, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift, Jon Batiste, & More

Before the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 4, explore 80 GRAMMY-nominated tracks by artists that span genres from pop, rap, spoken word, and beyond.

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2024 - 10:21 pm

The air is thick with anticipation less than a week ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs. Before the stars gather for Music's Biggest Night, spend some time getting to know the music that made the 66th GRAMMY Awards.

The Official 2024 GRAMMYs Playlist features 80 GRAMMY-nominated tracks that are up for a golden gramophone on Sun. Feb 4. It spans all categories and genres, starting with Olivia Rodrigo's "vampire" from her album GUTS, which helped her earn Record and Song Of The Year as well as  Album Of The Year nods, respectively. 

The 80-piece playlist also includes Jon Batiste's "Butterfly," nominated for Song Of The Year; "Angry" from the Rolling Stones, nominated for Best Rock Song; and Best New Artist nominee Victoria Monét, among many others. Collectively, the featured artists represent the range of musical talent and wealth of experience — and they’ll all make the 2024 GRAMMYs a night to remember.

The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, will air live from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 4 (8 -11:30 p.m. LIVE ET/5-8:30 p.m. LIVE PT) on the CBS Television Network and will stream on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).

Listen to the Official 2024 GRAMMYs Playlist on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music below, and stay tuned to GRAMMY.com for more updates as we approach Music's Biggest Night!

Inside 'American Symphony': 5 Revelations About The Jon Batiste Documentary
(L-R) Matthew Heineman, Jon Batiste, Lauren Domino

Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Netflix

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Inside 'American Symphony': 5 Revelations About The Jon Batiste Documentary

'American Symphony,' a new Netflix documentary about five-time GRAMMY winner Jon Batiste and his wife, author Suleika Jaouad, is an uncommonly intimate and incisive work. At a screening, Batiste and the filmmakers revealed how it came together.

GRAMMYs/Dec 5, 2023 - 07:12 pm

Director Matthew Heineman planted his flag with gritty, warts-and-all documentaries about warfare, drug cartels and the devastating impact of the pandemic. As such, the proposition for American Symphony — a beloved musician's journey to his Carnegie Hall debut — might seem like lighter fare.

But as Heineman expertly draws out, this is a whole other kind of battlefield.

From its first scenes, it's abundantly clear this is not just about Batiste's titular, boundary-bulldozing work from 2022. That story is twinned with a different kind of symphony — the one between human beings, loving one another through unimaginable duress. As Batiste labored over this expansive, freighted production, his wife, Between Two Kingdoms memoirist Suleika Jaouad, reckoned with the return of her leukemia. 

From Batiste's palpable panic to an (unshown) bed filled with blood, American Symphony is unafraid to stare this tribulation in the eyes, as it follows Batiste's inimitable creative process. Even as it builds to its crescendo, Heineman keeps it bracingly human-level — and the result is a triumph.

A week after American Symphony hit Netflix, Heineman and Batiste sat down with the film's co-producer, Lauren Domino, and moderator Joe McGovern of "The Wrap," at Brooklyn Academy of Music for a post-screening spin through the documentation process. Here are five revelations from the discussion.

Working With Jaouad's Health Was Beyond Delicate

First, it must be said: by Batiste's telling, Jaouad is "doing great" today — in fact, she had to miss the event, as she had just headed to Costa Rica. (In a sweet moment at night's end, Heineman pointed his phone at the audience for a mass shout-out: "We love you, Suleika!")

But when the author was in the throes of her rediagnosis, nothing was certain — and given the pandemic was still in full swing, every precaution had to be taken. "After the bone marrow transplant, she didn't have an immune system," Heineman said. "If she got a cold, she could have died."

As such, "It was very complicated from a producing point of view to navigate the puzzle of Jon's insane life, and then trying to find our way into the hospital, and then back out again, and back in again."

But they pulled it off, in the most concise way possible — which, given the unbelievable amount of footage they got, is something of a miracle.

1,500 Hours Were Filmed For American Symphony

As this writer came across Batiste in various situations, over the last couple of years — including in Las Vegas around the 2022 GRAMMYs, and the American Symphony premiere — a camera crew conspicuously trailed him everywhere he went.

Clearly, it was for something down the pike. And that something accrued an unbelievable 1,500 hours of footage — about 62 straight days. This could have resulted in a nine-hour bonanza, like The Beatles: Get Back. Or even an entire television series.

But to Heineman's credit, he resisted going maximal, and opted for a fundamentally quiet story. In fact, in the lynchpin scene of the film, no words are said at all.

About That Scene…

American Symphony arguably hinges on this scene: Batiste sits alone onstage, at the piano, before a smallish audience. He dedicates his next piece to Jaouad. And then he sits silently for 95 seconds; his microexpressions, breath and hands are poetry. Finally, the notes come.

"It's so easy in documentaries… forcing an essay, or an idea, through dialogue, through words, through voiceover, or through talking heads, or whatever," Heineman said. "[I wanted to] hold that space to allow you all to interpret that moment in your own way."

As Batiste clarified, the concert in question was a totally extemporaneous affair, where Batiste played whatever his antenna picked up.

"There'd be moments where I would even sometimes get up from the piano and leave until something came," he recalls. "And it felt like at that moment, there was a prayer that really needed to be specified and spoken out."

When The Power Went Out At Carnegie, Adrenaline Shot Through The Roof

Another of the most powerful scenes in American Symphony is during the titular performance itself — and, naturally, it's also of Batiste playing piano.

Although it was inconspicuous to the audience during the symphony's world premiere, panic had set in at one point: the power had gone out onstage, rendering the microphones and electronics dead.

Right then, he pauses and spins a melody out of the air, reflecting and refracting sad and sweet footage of their couplehood, which plays out onscreen.

"If you could see my blood pressure spike in the control room," Domino said. Of co-producer Joedan Okun: "We're sitting next to each other, and we're like, 'This is what we have anxiety dreams about, and now it's happening.' This guy is used to shooting in war zones. Jon is a genius, and they're just cool as cucumbers."

Suffice to say, when it turned out their 13 cameras didn't kill the power, the relief was unimaginable. And as Okun correctly observed in the moment, "This is a cinematic wonder."

The Ending Was Almost Much Different

True to Heineman's facility for smiting darlings in the editing stage, he was unafraid to completely change the ending at the eleventh hour — even though that version was, by all accounts, tremendous.

"Jon did his encore, which is what happened in real life… this beautiful rendition of the national anthem," Heineman said. "But it just felt like we weren't paying attention to the rest of the film that we had just made, and we didn't feel the two of them together."

"So, I guess I wanted to have my cake and eat it too," he continued. "To have the culmination of American Symphony, but also the symphony of life that we witnessed over the past year, come together with the two of them walking forward."

Right then, against a velveteen, winter sky, Batiste and Jaouad walk together into the future. Regarding both symphonies, personal and musical, together as one: Bravo.

Here's What Went Down At The World Premiere Of Jon Batiste's American Symphony At Carnegie Hall