Singer and actress Lady Gaga has had one hell of a month. First she won a Golden Globe for her performance in American Horror Story and then she was nominated for an Oscar for her song, "Til it Happens to You" from The Hunting Ground. Except now, her co-writing of that song is being called into question, by somebody who knows something about it.
The academy award Best Original Song goes to the writers, not the performers of the song in question. While Lady Gaga performed the tune, she’s also credited as co-writer of the song, along with prolific songwriter Diane Warren, who’s been nominated for this award eight previous times. However, Linda Perry of the band 4 Non Blondes is questioning the co-writing credit for Gaga. Perry took to Twitter, summarized by Uproxx, to compliment Warren for the nomination, but only gave Gaga her props for the performance.
Perry says that she heard the original demo tape of "Til it Happens to You," being performed by a different artist who was originally going to do the song for the film. At that point, it appears, only Warren was credited as the songwriter. After Lady Gaga came on board to perform "Til It Happens to You," it did change, but only slightly.
While saying that she doesn’t have anything against Lady Gaga, Perry doesn’t consider the change of the single line to be worthy of a songwriting credit. There’s no hard rules as to what constitutes "songwriting" as far as who gets the credit so the fact is that even if Gaga is only responsible for the single line, that still constitutes songwriting for the purposes of the award. Perry however, thinks there might be more to it.
Why did Gaga get credit? Maybe because Diane wanted to ensure her support in promoting the song. Gaga is a very smart business women she knew a song written by Diane Warren [would] be up for an Oscar.
To be clear, Linda Perry explains that she isn’t criticizing Lady Gaga or Diane Warren, even if these are the reasons that Gaga is listed on the credits. She understands the realities of music promotion and movie promotion and is viewing the situation pragmatically. It’s clear that her emphasis on Warren as the songwriter has more to do with an appreciation of her, rather than any ax to grind with Lady Gaga.
Regardless, the credit has been established and will go to whoever wins the award for Best Original Song. Lady Gaga and Diane Warren have solid competition including the most recent James Bond theme when the award is given out next month.