Welcome to the first edition of Echo-pella for 2023! We all know what it’s like to be afraid of being different, shunned by peers or loved ones just for being yourself, that feeling which seizes your heart whenever you get looks or draw attention (the not very nice kind).
There isn’t much to do about those stares you receive or the hushed whispers, but what you can do is change how you feel about it. Turn those acts of attention into those you really embrace to be a part of yourselves. Be proud of who you’re meant to be.
Here, we present a list of songs that hopefully motivate you to not lose that spark. Get those earphones on and eyes off the ground, let the music flow through you!
6) Defying Gravity
“And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!”
As the closing song that wraps up Act I for Wicked, Defying Gravity is show-stopping and definitely packs a powerful punch so that it lingers until the beginning of Act II. It definitely deserves being called the signature song of the entire musical.
Starting out as bickering between Elphaba (Idina Menzel) and Glinda (Kristin Chenoweth), the song transitions into Elphaba singing about how she wants to live free without being shackled to an unjust life, to defy the rules society and others set for her. She is sick of being ostracised by her appearance instead of her bright and innovative thinking.
Through this song, Elphaba embraces her status as an outsider, choosing to not only rebel against the people of Oz, but also beat them at their own game: become the greatest witch of all time.
And argh, Idina Menzel’s high note at the end is just— I have no words. Absolutely beautiful.
5) Born to Be Brave
from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
“Bosses and queens, stand up on your throne
Know who you are, this is your kingdom
Legends at heart, individuals
Go make your mark, be original.”
‘Born to Be Brave’ is one of the original tracks from the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Original Soundtrack). Mostly performed by Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) and Kourtney (Dara Reneé), the song is backed up by the rest of the cast members during the chorus.
Catchy and uplifting, the song encompasses an amazing message which inspires us to be who we are and chase our dreams. If you choose to embody the confidence inside, there will always be someone out there who will stand by you with their whole heart. Don’t let the opinion of others ever halt you from reaching for the stars!
Remember: You don’t need a person to shine or be yourself, it’s up to you to find your castle in the sky because we’re all born to be brave.
4) Edge of Great
from Julie and the Phantoms
“Don’t gotta hide it
Let your colours blind their eyes
Be who you are, no compromise.”
Julie and the Phantoms, the Netflix series that basically took the Internet by storm in 2020. Not only giving us an incredibly talented cast, they obviously gave us music that stayed stuck in our heads for weeks. If you’re wondering, I’m still devastated over the fact Season Two got cancelled. Nevertheless, the soundtrack for this series is just incredible.
‘Edge of Great’ sung by Julie (Madison Reyes) and the Phantoms, Luke (Charlie Gillespie), Alex (Owen Patrick Joyner) and Reggie (Jeremy Shada), is brought in when Julie hosts a party at her house in her garage. There are tons of people who show up, anticipating her performance.
First played softly as a piano ballad, the song switches up to a guitar-powered chorus when the Phantoms materialise as “holograms.” Madison’s voice just rocks through the entirety of the song, along with Charlie and his guitar riff solo during the final pre-chorus.
Our mistakes don’t define us, instead they lead us into the direction we’re destined to take. Times may get tough, but it is all right to lean upon someone for strength and support until we find our own way again.
Like Julie sings, we are all just one dream away from being who we’re meant to be, just a step further and we plunge into greatness.
3) Recipe for Me
by Thomas Sanders
“There are rewrites, losses, gains, and rearrangements
I’m so much more uncertain than I thought I would be
But I can see there’s no wrong way to be me
Now I see there’s no wrong way to be me.”
After rising to fame from the now since deactivated app, Vine, Thomas Sanders has built a marvellous career from his Youtube channel. Most well-known for his Youtube Web series called “Sanders Sides,” he combines the love for theatre, music and acting into his channel content. He also writes his own original music along with his friends.
The song consists of the recipe that makes us, all the components and inner things which make us who we are. Thomas uses these words to paint the message we are all accepted to be whoever we are meant to be. As individual and unique people, there are so many things that are the same too as others too. None of us are ever truly alone.
We’re dreamers, story-tellers and so much more. We vary from one another because humans cannot be entirely the same. In our ways, we are being ourselves, no rulebook or recipe to follow.
We constantly change and grow to be different over time. Things may seem scary or unfamiliar, but trust the process, there’s no need to fear because there are so many ways to be who we are.
2) The Real (Heung Ver.)
“This is what we call style.”
Have you ever wondered what makes someone cool?
Serving as one of the two title tracks for ATEEZ’s 8th mini-album, Zero: Fever Epilogue, The Real (Heung Ver.) is a revamped version of their song, ‘The Real’ which was performed at the finale of Kingdom: Legendary War. However, this version features Korean traditional instruments more prominently throughout the entire track as well as some longer elaborate parts.
In regards to the question above, ATEEZ answers that confidence and feeling proud while being humble and kind is what makes a person perceived as cool. There is no fixed style or box we fit into, no way or path is better than the other. Our journeys and decisions are worthy in their own ways.
To put it simply, there’s no pressure to change ourselves to fit any other standards other than our own. What we do best while remaining polite and benevolent is truly what makes us stand out more than the rest. And that is truly what individuality is all about.
1) Back To School
by Sam Tsui
“Last year was tough again
She’d never been any good at blending in
By now she’s used to the way they stare
The girl who don’t belong anywhere.”
2020 was the year Sam Tsui decided to release a song each month for his year-long project, an album called “Yearbook.” This was his entry for August, revolving around the idea of going back to school with the anxiety and awkwardness of not fitting in.
Penned by himself and husband Casey Breves, Sam writes the vivid story of a girl who has nerves of going back to school and sticking out. He takes inspiration from his own experiences being bullied growing up, the fear and courage of facing it all.
Ultimately, the song reminds us that even if we are weird or the odd ones out, it is all a part of our identity. You will eventually find your place and discover yourself, surrounded by those who love you for who you are.
You’ve got this!
With that, I hope these 6 songs help you feel proud of your identity, how you present yourself or maybe just made your day. Again, there is no right or wrong in being who you are, whether you quicken your pace or take your time, never lose yourself trying to be someone you’re not.
Ready to feel inspired to be you? Well, head over to our Spotify playlist linked below to truly immerse yourself!
Written by: Zhen Li