Written by Disney dream team Alan Menken (composer) and Howard Ashman (lyricist), this Broadway-style ballad is a center piece of The Little Mermaid. Ariel, played by Jodi Benson, rejects all of her material possessions and longs to experience life above water with humans "walking around on those - what do you call 'em? Oh - feet!"
This song was nearly cut from the film when it didn't test well with child audiences who caused a ruckus during the unfinished sequence, convincing studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg to eliminate the scene. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker pleaded with him to allow animator Glen Keane to finish the scene, likening the situation to the iconic "Over The Rainbow
" almost getting cut from The Wizard of Oz
. He relented and the second screening to a hushed group of children sealed the deal.
Jodi Benson wanted to feel like she was really singing in an underwater cavern, so she requested the lights be dimmed in the studio while she recorded this song.
Despite the song title, Ariel doesn't actually sing about being part of "your" world but part of "that" world.
Sierra Boggess performs this song as Ariel in the Broadway adaptation of the movie.
This song was infused with a Country flavor when Faith Hill covered it for the 1996 album The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney.
Carly Rae Jepsen also covered this song, and contributed a music video, for The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition DVD set in 2013.
"The best part of the music video part was when my stylist called and asked me, 'Do you know what your fin size is?' I'm like, 'Is that a normal question?!'" she told Access Hollywood.
This set the standard for future Disney songs that would connect the audience with the characters' dreams, known as the "I Want" moment. Menken explained to Entertainment Weekly: "There had never really been an 'I want' number before in a Disney film. Subsequently everybody at Disney would ask, 'Where's our 'I want' moment?!' But it's that important moment where you engage the audience in the quest of the central character so you know what you're rooting for. We jokingly used to call this one 'Somewhere That's Wet,' like 'Somewhere That's Green' [from Little Shop of Horrors] but underwater."
The song also inspired the tone for the rest of the music in the film. He continued: "My favorite part is that motif [that sounds like] water flowing, which beautifully set up the tone and became the central theme. We knew the whole score was going to a Caribbean place, so we toyed with the idea of reggae [for the rest], but we landed on calypso because it's poppier and more interesting. Sebastian is more of a Trinidadian crab than Jamaican, certainly more of a Harry Belafonte type."