"If I Rise" is from the Danny Boyle directed film 127 Hours, which tells the real-life story of Aron Ralston, a climber who became trapped by a boulder. The score was composed by A. R. Rahman, who previously collaborated with Boyle on Slumdog Millionaire. Rahman wrote this song's music whilst it's lyrics were penned by Dido and her brother Rollo Armstrong, who is a founding member of the electronic music group Faithless. The song was performed by Dido along with Rahman, and features in the climax scene of the film.
Dido gave her thoughts about the project on her record label's website "I was working with A. R. Rahman on something else at his studio and he asked me if I'd like to collaborate on this song, for his soundtrack of the film. I had read the book of the film (very inspiring) and am a big Danny Boyle fan who loves working with A. R. Rahman, so I was really up for it. We wrote 'If I Rise together,' and we both sing on it. I've seen the film now, and it's very intense and moving. The pivotal scene is definitely hard to watch, but it's amazingly shot and you really feel it."
The chorus portion of the song is sung by The Gleehive Children's Choir, Mumbai.
The music video has Dido and Rahman singing the track, whilst Rahman plays a harpejji, which was the major instrument used in the song. A few scenes from 127 Hours are also used in the promo.
The harpejji is a 24-stringed instrument, which plays like a keyboard, but with the tone of a guitar. Tim Meek completed the first working prototype in 2003 and after further improvements, he incorporated Marcodi Musical Products LLC with Jason Melani to market the instrument in 2007. The following year, a model was given to Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess and he became the first musician to use the harpejji in concerts.