In 1990 Gloria Estefan and her family were involved in a major motor accident when the Estefans' tour bus was hit by a semi-truck and crashed into a tractor trailer in Pennsylvania. Her husband and son received minor injuries but Gloria was critically injured with a broken vertebra. She took a year to recover and this song was written by her about her recovery.
The title was inspired by a phrase her husband had written on a piece of paper as a helicopter transported her for delicate surgery to repair her broken back. Gloria explained to Billboard: "My husband had been in one of the helicopters traveling from one hospital to the other. It was really dark and gray, and he was traumatized. He got this ray of light that hit him in the face, and he got the idea for 'Coming out of the Dark.'"
It was the first song that Gloria performed and also the first single she released after her near-fatal accident. She debuted the song at the American Music Awards, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on January 29, 1991.
Included in the backing choir are Jon Secada (who co-wrote the song) and R&B singer Betty Wright.
Gloria was careful not to turn Into the Light into a pity party. "I hate pity," she told the Los Angeles Daily News. "I'm very self-reliant and independent, and I'm used to that role. I don't like people feeling sorry for me. So I wrote 'Coming Out of the Dark' to let the people around me know how important they are to me. But that was as far as I wanted to go with the accident. I didn't want this to become 'the album on the accident.' What am I going to sing - 'Oh, this bus hit me'?"
The 2015 biographical Broadway musical On Your Feet!, which tells the Estefans' story through some of Gloria's biggest hits, ends with a re-creation of the singer's 1991 AMA performance of this song. Ana Villafane, who plays Gloria, even dons a replica of the backless blue dress she wore that night.
Of the song, Gloria told Entertainment Weekly: "We wanted to share that we're a family like everybody else. Things happen, you go through stuff, and you come out stronger."