“Roar” by Katy Perry
Following a heart-breaking divorce in 2012, Perry was caught in a dark place and wanted her fourth album, “Prism” to be one where she “explores her darker side.” Unfortunately, or fortunately rather, the album became filled with empowering hits. And the first single to kick it all off is “Roar”.
The Lyrics of “Roar”
Starting the first verse as an insecure person, Perry voices out on how she has let her significant other take control over her freedom. She was afraid to create arguments and therefore, agreed to everything they said. This act of weakness carried on for a while until she couldn’t take it in anymore. This resulted in her reaching her end of tolerance.
Pre-Chorus and Chorus
Having been held down long enough, the narrator now has plucked up strength and courage to rise for herself. Perry, like a fighter that’s been knocked down, gets back up and brushes “off the dust”. With this new empowering feeling and eyes wide open, she’s gonna keep fighting for her rights.
Interpolating Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” (which was the theme song for 1982 boxing film “Rocky III”), Perry is now filled with willpower, strength and courage. She vows that her roar is going to be “louder than a lion”, showcasing just how strong and independent she has become now. She’s definitely not going to take any sh*t from anyone.
The track continues with more boxing references! Perry pays homage to one of Muhammed Ali’s famous quotes, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Ali won his first heavyweight title after beating his larger opponent, Sonny Liston with his quick blows. This translates to Perry portraying she, too, can take on anyone bigger than her.
She continues with another powerful line saying, “I went from zero, to my own hero.” This could be in reference to being dropped by Columbia Records in 2016. That downfall didn’t stop her from pursuing music. In fact, she’s one of the most successful female pop artists to date.
What Katy Perry has said about “Roar”
Perry explains that the track acts to empower one to stand up for themselves. She also goes on to say that at times, we ourselves are our “biggest bully” as we stand in our own way. “Roar” ultimately is about not letting anyone, even yourself, stand in your way of success and relationships.
When was “Roar” Released?
“Roar”, released on 10th August 2013 was the first single off Perry’s sixth album. This album, which is titled “Prism”, was launched about 2 months later, on 18th October 2013 by Capitol Records.
Who wrote “Roar”?
Katy Perry was one of the writers for this very empowering anthem. The following A-list songwriters are also credited as co-writers of “Roar”:
- Canadian record producer and songwriter Cirkut. He has collaborated with Becky G, Ava Max, Nicki Minaj and many others.
- American singer-songwriter Bonnie McKee. She is known to collaborate with Perry on a number of hits such as “Teenage Dream”, “Part of Me” and “Wide Awake”.
- American record producer and songwriter Dr. Luke. He has also worked with artists such as Pink, Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson.
- Swedish record producer and songwriter Max Martin. Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and The Weeknd are just some big names he’s worked with over the years.
At the 2014 Grammy Awards, “Roar” was nominated for two awards. They were “Song of the Year” and “Best Pop Solo Performance”. Both awards were lost to Lorde’s “Royals”.
In the UK, “Roar” has so far sold over a million units. On top of that success, in August of 2013, the RIAA certified it 10x Multi-Platinum after it sold no less than 10 million copies in America.
This track enjoyed worldwide success, reaching number 1 in over a dozen nations.
In addition, “Roar” was also a Top-10 hit in countries as diverse as Russia, South Africa, and Venezuela.
“Roar” has been covered widely. It is actually one of Katy Perry’s most covered songs. These are just a handful of some of the most prominent covers:
- 10-year-old Mariangeli Collado uploaded her version on 7th October 2013 on YouTube.
- On 10th October 2013, Scott Bradlee (ft. Annie Goodchild) posted their Motown rendition of “Roar”.
- Jason Chen uploaded his version on 12th September 2013.
- Andy Lange, Chester See and Andrew Garcia posted their a cappella cover on 13th September 2013.
- On 15th September 2013, cover band Boyce Avenue shared vocals with Bea Miller for their cover.
- Alex Goot and Sam Tsui collaborated for their rendition uploaded on 18th September 2013
Notable Usage in Media
Below are some popular TV shows and movies in which “Roar” has featured:
- 2022 American drama TV miniseries, “WeCrashed” featured “Roar” in multiple episodes. In actual fact, WeWork founder Adam Neumann (played by Jared Leto) was “obsessed” with the song and would often blast it in the office.
- American musical TV series, “Glee” Season 5, episode 4. The episode evolved around members having to choose if they would be “A Katy or A Gaga”.
- American superhero TV series, “The Boys” Season 1, Episode 6. The series starred the likes of Karl Urban, Jack Quaid and Antony Starr.
- 2017 American action-comedy film “Baywatch”. “Roar” was part of the film’s soundtrack, that starred Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario and David Hasselhoff.
- 2014 American crime-comedy movie “Horrible Bosses 2”.
Controversy Surrounding “Roar”
Katy has been accused of plagiarizing the melody of “Roar”. The melody in question sounds very similar to Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” (which also came out in 2013).
Katy’s “Prism” Album
On October 18 of 2013, Capitol Records released Perry’s fourth studio offering “Prism”. This pop album was promoted by five catchy singles.
The first single, “Roar”, preceded the official release of this album.
“Unconditionally”, the second single of this project, was also issued a few days prior to the official release of “Prism”. It was released on October 16. The third single, “Dark Horse“, came out on December 18 of 2013.
In 2014, Perry and her team issued the final two singles from this collection. They are:
- “Birthday” (April 21)
- “This Is How We Do” (July 31)
Commercially, “Prism” had an almost similar performance as its predecessor “Teenage Dream”, which is considered the singer’s most-outstanding studio project. And to note, “Teenage Dream” produced as many as five chart-topping singles including its title track.
Like its predecessor, “Prism” topped multiple charts across the world including official albums charts in the US and the UK. In addition, this record claimed the top spot in the following nations:
- New Zealand
It was also a top-five hit on main albums charts in countries ranging from Germany to France to Norway.
Strong sales have earned this project multiple Platinum certifications from various recording industries. For example, in the US, the album has been awarded 5-times Platinum certification by the RIAA.
On top of being commercially successful, “Prism” also earned multiple prestigious accolades including being nominated for 2015’s “Best Pop Vocal Album” at the Grammys. It lost out to Sam Smith’s debut studio project, “In the Lonely Hour”. Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz” and Ed Sheeran’s “X” were also shortlisted for said accolade.
hi i am a big fan
Hi I did not know what the song meant even though it is one of my favorites until I saw this AND there were other facts too!
I didn’t know the meaning behind the song. Now that I do, it’s like she wrote the song to me. Unbelievable!