I Don't Want To Be

Album: Chariot (2003)
Charted: 38 10

Songfacts®:

  • Rock & Roll Library asked DeGraw what inspired him to write this song? He replied: "That song was heavily influenced by the identity crisis right now that exists amongst youth. It's almost like you can go into any town in the country and the kids don't necessarily have an identity of their own; it's like whatever is on television is who they are."

    "I noticed that for myself on the road traveling a lot. When I go from state to state and city to city, I see the same sort of homogenization that happens. There's this fast food chain and this soda company, and it's hard for any place to have identity and that's the same thing that's happening among the people in those towns, especially among youth. They don't have an identity of their own anymore."

    "It used to be that maybe there was a kid who lived in X neighborhood and was some sort of character which made that neighborhood unique and that was very cool and if you went to different neighborhoods there were different characters that gave the scene some local flavor. And now you go there and it is not that, it was whatever they are watching on television and it's really aggravating."
  • This became a hit after being chosen as the theme song for the TV show One Tree Hill.
  • DeGraw's father was a prison guard and his mother was a Botox specialist. That's where the opening lines to the song come from when he sings about being a "prison guard's son" and a "specialist's son."
  • DeGraw told Radio.com that he wanted to write a song to share with the world what his identity was, where he was from and what he represented. "To share my perspective in hopes that people would connect and go, 'Oh, wow. That's like me.' Or, 'Even if it isn't about me, I like where he's coming from,'" he said. "I think that is essentially the reason that the song has provided some long-term success, because it was so honest and people really just want something that they can say, 'That's real. I'm not embarrassed to like that. I feel like that is legitimate.'"

Comments: 1

  • Jeff from Casa Grande, AzThis song is very unique. It speaks to me on my journey of self discovery. Every day, or moment is a new and unique part of what will influence me( or not). I live in the moment. Reference Jean-Paul Sartre, the 20th century philosopher. I am what I have not yet become. Do not define me as I appear to be now.
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