Earlier this month, Michelle Obama released “This is For My Girls,” a charity tune whose proceeds benefit the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund. “It’s such a female empowerment, diva anthem,” songwriter Diane Warren, who partnered with the MAKERS Stories app to crowd source a video for the song, tells EW. (AOL MAKERS produced the track.)
But Warren had actually written the song a few years back and was waiting to find it a good home. She says Desiree Gruber, of Full Picture, contacted her and said she was working with Obama and Let Girls Learn and thought “This is For My Girls” would be a perfect fit. “She asked me if it was okay to use the song and I said, ‘Are you f—ing kidding me? It’s just such a cool thing.”
Warren then offered parts to artists to see who could contribute: Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliott, Kelly Rowland, Lea Michele, Zendaya, Janelle Monae, and Chloe x Halle. “There were other people approached,” she says. “I know Fifth Harmony were supposed to do it and they backed out the day before but that’s okay. We got Kelly Clarkson. We got Missy Elliott.” But Clarkson’s vocals almost didn’t make it into the final cut. “I sent it to Kelly Clarkson and she called me and was like, ‘I love the song. I gotta do it.’ I told her it has to literally be done today. Then something happened with the recording equipment and I begged for one more day. We were mastering it while dropping her vocals in.”
Warren says that none of the artists were ever in the same room together, but the tune still blends Elliott’s verse with Clarkson’s high notes. With lyrics like “Stand up, hold your head up/ Don’t take nothing from nobody,” it’s an anthem Warren knows has power. “It should be all over the radio,” she says. “It would be like song of the summer.”
Hear more on “This is For My Girls” from Warren in the MAKERS Stories clip, which EW is excited to premiere below.