Music holds an incredible power to uplift and ignite a fire within. Finding the perfect song to identify with can help you through the good, bad and crazy times in life. Some songs target exactly what you are going through and others serve as life anthems. Check out our favorite empowering songs every woman needs to hear:
- I Ain’t No Damsel in Distress and I don’t need to be rescued
Ani DiFranco’s Not a Pretty Girl speaks common misconceptions about women. Like much of her music, this 1995 song is very poetic and sets debunks the feminists-are-bitter myth, with the line “I am not an angry girl.” Ani shows that value extends way beyond her appearance and that “helpless” will never be a part of her vocabulary.
2. Who Run The World? Girls!
Beyoncé champions girl power in her 2011 single Run the World (Girls). The supercharged anthem celebrates the independent spirit of a woman and her influence on society. It also acknowledges the role men have in “respecting” the powerful role of a woman. Beyoncé took her feminist stance to an epic level during her closing performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards when she sampled a speech by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ’you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you will threaten the man.’” At the end of the speech, behind the stage on the big screen, appeared the word “FEMINIST” in all caps, as Beyoncé took the stage to conclude her performance.
3. You’re Beautiful In Every Single Way
In 2002, Christina Aguilera recorded Beautiful on her fourth studio album in response to overcoming an abusive childhood. Acclaimed record producer Linda Perry wrote the song as a self-empowerment anthem. As Christina shows, a person is no less beautiful or perfect, despite mistakes made or abuse survived. A woman’s worth resides deep within her soul and is something that should be celebrated. Each woman has the internal fortitude to rise and overcome from any difficulty she may face. The song’s lyrics promote a focus on inner beauty to counter self-esteem and insecurity issues. Beauty is not defined by external attributes such as hair style or body type.
4. I Defy Every Label
Janelle Monae’s and Erykah Badu’s 2013 hit song, Q.U.E.E.N., encourages listeners to boldly confront any stereotypes that may hinder their hope, dreams, and future success. In the song’s bold lyrics, “categorize me” is a rhetorical challenge which is quickly followed by “I defy every label;” it dares anyone to try to stop a woman’s indelible spirit.
5. A Girl Can Do What She Wants To Do
Bad Reputation by Joan Jett heralds the right of a woman to do whatever she wants without concern for criticisms of others or misogynistic labels. When a man does something risky, he will likely be celebrated; misogyny occurs when a woman does the same thing and is harshly criticized and told that she is “out of her league,” or “bitchy” if she voices her opinion, or a “slut” if she does something provocative. In the late 1970s, Joan Jett and her all-girl band The Runaways were pioneers within the glam rock movement in America. Joan Jett launched her solo career with the Bad Reputation single and album in the same name. She defied the idea that women don’t need to create gritty rock-n-roll and play instruments like electric guitars. The song’s unapologetic lyrics widely appeal to everyone who celebrates female empowerment and equality. Joan has been called the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll and the Godmother of Punk, and is undeniably one of the baddest female rock stars of all time.
6. I Am The Champion, And You’re Gonna Hear Me Roar
Katy Perry wrote Roar in 2013 as a testament to her ability to fully express herself, in life and in music. As extroverted as she may seem in most of her music, Katy felt the need to create the empowerment anthem to as a reminder to continue to push in the right direction when it comes to expression. To fans everywhere working to find their voice and be true to themselves, the song takes on the battle cry of, “I am woman, hear me roar.”
7. Hold Your Head Up Girl and You’ll Go Far
Lady Gaga’s message through Born This Way encourages women to love themselves, no matter who they are, what they look like, what they believe, and whatever hardship they may endure. Confidence in oneself breeds hope; where there is hope and a dream, achievements and success are not far away. Self-esteem is crucial to a healthy mindset. Be an agent of hope and encourage others in your life. You never know, you may help her to cross the finish line to one of your most challenging life goals. Born This Way concludes with the French mantra “mi amore vole fe yah” (love needs faith); in other words, love conquers all if you have enough faith in yourself.
8. You can call me Queen Bee
Lorde is a brilliant wordsmith and song writer, and she delivers a poignant social message in the 2013 hit song Royals, which condemns the hype of materialism and celebrity culture. Like other songs with twisting metaphors and mysterious imagery, deciphering the exact meaning of the song can be a challenge for even Lorde’s greatest fans. “You can call me queen be” is a standout lyric. In the midst of sending a socially-driven statement, Lorde flips the narrative with the line, “we crave a different kind of buzz.” People of any social status can take away a message of encouragement. Whether you own luxe “Cadillacs” or you struggle to pay your car payment, you are still “queen bee” of your life and ruler of your destiny.
9. Girls Who Dream With Everything They Have
Martina McBride recorded This One’s for the Girls in 2003 as a female empowerment song for girls of all ages. Whether you are 1 or 99, Martina encourages us to dream big and have an amazing life as we pursue our aspirations on this incredible journey called life. A girl doesn’t have to be anything more than her genuine self, with a set of real problems, as she allows her unbridled faith to not only create a good life, but to soar to new heights.
10. I’m Gonna Be The Best Me
Mary J. Blige wrote and recorded Doubt through her London Sessions project as a comeback album. Mary has always been an iconic artist with her buttery smooth voice and soulful renditions, but adding Doubt to her music catalog enabled her to create a defining moment as an artist. Clearly autobiographic, the lyrics bring to light some of the struggles and doubts she experienced throughout her illustrious career. She exposes the difficult sacrifices it took to pave the way to her success. Mary reminds us that getting everything we want doesn’t necessarily come easy and, no matter what we go through, all our trials will be worth it in the end.
11. Keep on Moving, Keep Climbing
In 2009, young Miley Cyrus recorded The Climb for the Disney movie “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” At this moment, Miley launched from Disney princess of a successful TV series and character and voice actor for one-off movies, to leading lady of her own film. Miley knows a thing or two about success and the inner strength it takes to get there. There is no such thing as instant success. She emphasizes the journey it takes, the mountains that we will face, and the resilience everyone has to endure the “uphill battle” to get to the “other side.” Through the song’s lyrics, Miley shows her incredibly resilience in the face of adversity by singing: “there’s always gonna be another mountain; I’m always gonna wanna make it move.”
12. I Might Only Have One Match But I Can Make an Explosion
Rachel Platten’s Fight Song describes her journey to write a hit song and break into the music business. After crumbling up a million pieces of paper, she finally penned an undeniable hit–one that expresses the fight she faced along the way. With lines, “and I don’t really care if nobody else believes, ’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me” and “I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion,” Rachel’s fighter-spirit has become an anthem for cancer survivors and listeners everywhere who have been trodden down by life’s struggles. Once you start believing in yourself, you have the ability to see how just a one spark of hope can bring forth a world of possibilities and goodness into your life.
13. With Gentle Hands and A Heart of A Fighter, I’m A Survivor
In Reba McEntire’s I’m a Survivor, she shares the many ways that she has survived, from the vulnerability of “a baby girl without a chance” to a hardworking “single mom who works two jobs.” We possess the nurturing “gentle hands and a heart of a fighter” that it takes to survive and thrive, no matter what tough times come our way. I’m a Survivor was added to Reba’s Greatest Hits Vol. III album and later became the theme song for the hit sitcom “Reba” on CW network which ran from 2001 to 2007.
14. Shine Bright Like A Diamond
Sia Furler, hit singer/songwriter of Chandelier and Elastic Heart, wrote the Rihanna hit Diamonds if 14 minutes. Many of Sia’s songs have empowering themes, but she chose to write Diamonds about romantic love. Even though, “we were beautiful like diamonds in the sky” signifies the beauty of love, the single lyric “shine bright like a diamond” can represent the quality which resonates in everyone. The human spirit, capacity to love, and ability to bring forth great things into the world captures the metaphor of a brilliant diamond with a stunning cut and clarity. Like someone who shines bright, a diamond is known for its beauty, uniqueness, durability, and enduring value–a value which intensifies with age.
15. I Wanna See You Be Brave
Sarah Bareilles wrote and recorded Brave to encourage a gay friend to come out to his family. The LGBT community takes an incredible amount of support from the song, yet the song’s empowering lyrics, “say what you wanna say and let the words fall out,” serves to encourage us all to find our voices. We need the courage to stand up for who we are even if we fear it will shock the world around us. Being true to ourselves is paramount to living happy and free. This empowerment anthem highlights the process it takes to be courageous. The lyric, “show me how big your brave is” represents how liberating it is to conquer our fears and show the world who we really are.
16. You’ve Got Every Right To a Beautiful Life
Selena Gomez & The Scene remind fans that they have, “every right to a beautiful life” in their 2011 hit song Who Says. Selena encourages girls to dismiss their insecurities and truly understand that they are beautiful, perfect, and deserving of an amazing life. Even when a problem seems to snuff out every glimmer of hope, it doesn’t have to destroy you. See it as a temporary roadblock, to not just getting the life of your dreams, but the having a quality of life which surpasses your wildest imagination.
17. I Wanna Make A Difference, Change Other People’s Lives
Unbreakable Smile by Tori Kelly perfectly mirrors her desire to remain genuine and grounded as her music gains popularity. Manager Scooter Braun describes Tori as, “one of the greatest voices you’ll ever hear.” With a voice as powerful as Tori’s, fame is inevitable, along with the trappings that come with it. In the song Unbreakable Smile, Tori vows not to compromise her values to achieve fame. Like Tori, people can avoid the pitfalls of expending all their energy chasing only the perks in life. In the spirit of generosity, we have the ability to positively affect others–to truly “make a difference, change other people’s lives, give hope, even for a moment.”
JOIN US + GET ALL ACCESS
We celebrate the strong and powerful women in our lives. We are worthy of dreaming and working hard, and thus happiness and respect. We will persevere through challenges, and we will achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
- 17 Empowering Song Lyrics Every Woman Needs to Hear - May 31, 2017
- 13 Signs You’re Disrespecting Yourself - May 1, 2017
- 4 Steps I Consistently Take to be the Best Me - January 3, 2017
- Just Love Yourself Already, Would Ya?! Here’s 22 Quotes on Why - September 16, 2016
- Adulting: What I Wish I’d Known Before Renting My First Apartment - September 3, 2016
- Tackle Stress with What You Eat - August 5, 2016
- Wanna Get Risky? 8 Ways to Enjoy the Fringe Benefits - July 23, 2016
- This High-Earning Poker Pro Tells Us Why It’s Awesome to Be Underestimated - July 18, 2016
- The Day I Snapped Out of It & Started Professional Blogging - July 8, 2016
- Wake Up Your Innovation Goddess - July 6, 2016