“This Is Me” by Keala Settle
This song was written for a specific movie entitled “The Greatest Showman” (2017). Said film is based on the life of P. T. Barnum (1810-1891), who is most famous for being the founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Stated otherwise, the movie is about a circus. And as such the role that Keala Settle plays in the film is that of a bearded lady, i.e. an individual with a freakish appearance so to speak – someone who would be ostracized by the mainstream society. And it is from this perspective that she is relaying “This Is Me”.
A Song for the Ostracized
As such in the first verse, she details the way certain people have treated her. And to put things bluntly, they have assaulted her self-esteem. In other words, they have encouraged her to “hideaway” due to her appearance. And in acknowledging how cruel people can sometimes be, they have also gone about embedding within her the belief that ‘no one will ever love’ her for who she actually is.
Now again, they are making these assertions specifically due to this character’s unorthodox physical appearance. But the way the song is presented is in a more-general sense, as in the singer representing all outcasts, if you will. And in that regard, it is intended to serve as an anthem for people who suffer from overt ostracization.
Moreover, wherever the verses themselves may center more on the social persecution they face, the true message of the track is the narrator’s insistence to stand strong despite such opposition. This is what is meant by the title of the song, that she has come to truly accept and embrace who she is. Or if you really want to go there, we can say that “This Is Me” is based on that old ‘stick and stones’ adage we all became familiar with in childhood. Yes, the singer and those who standout like her deal with a considerable degree of verbal BS which leave them emotionally “bruised”.
However, she has committed herself to ‘drowning out’ such negativity and making a commitment to be comfortable in her own skin. Indeed we see at the conclusion of the chorus for instance that she is ‘making no apologies’ if her presence alone causes certain individuals to become uncomfortable. And she also uses powerful language like “marching on” and ‘sending a flood’ to describe her stance against such societal opposition.
So conclusively we have no choice but to applaud the singer. Being constantly dissed by others will inevitably take a toll on a person’s self-esteem. But she has come to realize that her uniqueness, despite what is being said by such individuals, is no reason for her to be ashamed. And furthermore she has resolved to live life to the fullest, despite being made to feel awkward in certain situations.
Release Date of “This Is Me”
“This Is Me” was released on 27 October 2017 by Atlantic Records. It was done so as a promotional single from “The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”.
Appearance in “The Greatest Showman”
This song is featured in an actual scene in “The Greatest Showman” itself. In that film, Keala portrays the role of a character named Lettie Lutz (the bearded lady). And the song is sung in a scene where she and other unconventional circus characters (referred to as “the Oddities”) are not allowed to enter a certain high-class party.
A Great Success
“This Is Me” proved to be a very-successful. For instance, it took home a Golden Globe Award in 2018 for Best Original Song. Also worth mentioning is that it earned a nomination in that same category at the 2018 Academy Awards. However, it lost to Coco’s “Remember Me“. That being said, Keala Settle actually performed the song at that ceremony.
In addition “This Is Me” was also nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award and 2018 Critics’ Choice Movie Award.
“This Is Me” was also well-received chart-wise. For instance, it topped music charts in Japan and Hong Kong. It also made an appearance on the Hot 100 and rose to number 3 (its maximum peak) in the United Kingdom. And in all, it charted in over a dozen nations, which culminated in it being certified multi-Platinum in the US, UK and Australia.
Additionally in 2017 this song was covered by pop singer Kesha, to moderate success, on the remix album “The Greatest Showman: Reimagined”.
Did Keala Settle write “This Is Me”?
No. “This Is Me” was written by the musical duo of Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, whom specialize in music for theater. They also co-produced “This Is Me” under the collective name Pasek & Paul. And the other producers of the track as Adam Gubman and Greg Wells.
Pasek & Paul actually began working on this song while on an airplane, on their way to meet the makers of “The Greatest Showman”.