I Am Woman

Album: single release only (2021)
Charted: 63 74
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Songfacts®:

  • In 1972 the Australian singer Helen Reddy famously declared "I am strong. I am invincible. I Am Woman." Her celebration of female empowerment topped the Hot 100 and became an enduring anthem for the women's liberation movement. Five decades on, Californian singer Emmy Meli released this song with the same title and a similar empowering theme.

    I am woman, I am fearless
    I am sexy, I am divine
    I'm unbeatable, I'm creative
    Honey, you can get in line


    Written by Meli for her younger self, the song is a modern take on womanhood that discards archaic ideas about femininity.
  • The song originated with a dream Meli had where a black cat was scratching at her. When the Long Beach native looked it up, it said her dream is "indicative that you're having trouble embracing your femininity and stepping into your personal power."

    "That kind of stuck with me," Meli told Variety, "and I just made these little mantras to say to myself every morning, hence the 'I am woman, I am fearless.'"
  • After freestyling some more mantras, Meli found a simple drum beat by Okano on YouTube and set the lyrics she'd penned so far to music. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter took advantage of a slow day in her day job running the snack window at a golf course to finish the lyrics. "I wanted to continue off the 'I am' wave that it was going toward because the song started with a mantra and I wanted it to end with a mantra," she said. "I wanted the whole song itself to be like an affirmation for people, because originally I wrote it to inspire myself everyday."
  • Meli posted a video of herself singing the hook on TikTok on October 19, 2021. It immediately went viral with women uploading selfies matching each adjective. Meli had absolutely no inkling the hook would garner such a huge response. "I felt the power in the simplicity of the words and statements," she told Billboard. "I never thought it would reach as many people as it did."
  • Meli recorded the final version in the studio with mixing and mastering engineer Anthony Nguyen. They supplemented Okano's drum beat with guitar, glockenspiel, and snares and released it as a single on November 20, 2021.

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