Kara DioGuardi

Songwriter is one of the decade's top tunesmiths

Move over, Diane Warren, Kara DioGuardi is on a roll. When she shared BMI’s songwriter of the year honors in May, it only solidified her rep as one of the decade’s top tunesmiths.

Few pop stars have failed to benefit from her Midas touch: In addition to recent hits for Kelly Clarkson, Bo Bice, Santana and the Wreckers, her name has been connected to chartbusters by Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Pussycat Dolls, Ashlee Simpson, Hilary Duff, Britney Spears and Celine Dion, to name a few.

Although she’s often compared to Warren — the ’80s and ’90s hit machine best known as a solo writer — DioGuardi doesn’t disguise her collaborative nature.

“I have written songs by myself,” DioGuardi explains, “and I find it to be very arduous, and I don’t like it. I like that interaction. … It’s a built-in support system if you’re a really good collaborator. They can fill in your weaknesses, and they can also help you home in on your strengths. ”

DioGuardi is devoting increasing energy to Arthouse Entertainment, the company she runs with her manager, publishing vet Stephen Finfer. Operated out of her modest Hollywood home, the firm co-publishes or administers songs by rising writers-producers like Greg Wells, Fredwreck, Zukhan Bey, Jeff Cohen and Mitch Allan.

Hardly bedazzled by her own success, DioGuardi takes a pragmatic view of her future: “Ultimately I want to go to the business side of things. … There comes a time when you’re just not relevant anymore. You have to face that. When I’m fortysomething years old, I can bet you any amount of money that what the street is calling for is going to be different.”

Vocation: Songwriter, co-owner of publishing entity Arthouse Entertainment.

Recent breakthrough: “Co-writing Faith Hill’s ‘Lost.’ It was really exciting because it was with one of my writers, Mitch Allan. It’s the first country song I’ve ever had recorded.”

Role model: “My grandmother, because she was very selfless and had a way of being unconditionally there for people. … The memory of her helps me balance my life.”

Career mantra: “Keep it moving. Keep going, don’t get caught up in the downward spiral of self-doubt.”

What’s next: “I’ve been scoring a little bit. I may be developing a musical for TV. We have some TV shows in the works and a screenplay we’re working on, and building our company, working the writers.”

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