20 Songs About Identity

Identity is a very profound concept that holds so many meanings but cannot be easily expressed. As individuals going through everyday life, we encounter situations and scenarios that manifest our personal characteristics,  personality traits, beliefs, and appearance. The question has boggled the creative minds as much as any of us and several musicians have pondered over the issue and penned songs on the same. 

Want to have a moment of reflection? Give yourself a break and listen to these songs about identity. Who knows after the session you might be surprised at what you have discovered about yourself!

1. “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw

This soulful rock song is a piece that encourages everyone to have a strong sense of individuality. The songwriter points to the fact that people often get labeled because of their family background or other influences.

Though these connections cannot be completely removed, they should not limit how a person identifies themselves. The singer wants you to carve your own identity and reminds you that the best way to do so is to be yourself.

Gavin DeGraw - I Don't Want To BeGavin DeGraw – I Don’t Want To Be

2. “Still Here” by JB The First Lady

This upbeat hip hop number is from the talented indigenous artist named Jerilyn Snuxyaltwa Webster also known as JB The First Lady. The song aims to lend support to minorities and reminds them self acceptance is empowering. There is no shame in knowing your roots and one must be proud of their origins because it will shape who you are.

JB The First Lady - Still HereJB The First Lady – Still Here

3. “Who We Are” by Red

This rock song talks about seeing yourself as valuable and always having a positive outlook. It reminds us that we will face a lot of battles in life but we have to be confident about overcoming them instead of being overpowered by obstacles or conquered by adversaries. It serves as a reminder to be courageous in expressing who we are because true strength lies within.

Red - Who We Are [Lyrics] HQRed – Who We Are [Lyrics] HQ

4. “Black Like Me” by Mickey Guyton

This lovely piano ballad depicts the sad truth of racial inequality. It describes the difficulties people of color have to deal with not only physically but emotionally as well. Despite the heavy theme of the song, it concludes in a positive light that one should still be proud of who one is. And there is always hope that things will get better so no one should give up.

Mickey Guyton - Black Like Me (Official Audio)Mickey Guyton – Black Like Me (Official Audio)

5. “Mistaken Identity” by Kim Carnes

This adult contemporary song tackles the concept of being able to move on and proudly proclaim it. The narrative of the tune tells the story of a man wanting to make amends with his former lover but the in question has grown out of this failed relationship.

She refuses to wait around for her ex or believe his lies and has very much moved on. The song reminds all lovers to know their worth in a relationship and not waste time on someone who does not value their presence. It encourages them to break the shackles of that identity and be better people.

Kim Carnes - Mistaken Identity - 1981Kim Carnes – Mistaken Identity – 1981

6. “Free to Be Me” by Francesca Battistelli

This feel-good song talks about an ordinary person’s journey towards self-discovery. The scenarios depict a woman’s quest of trying to find out who she is.

Eventually, the protagonist realizes that it is okay to be just herself with all her faults and imperfections. There is no better choice but to live out her purpose and enjoy the freedom of accepting herself. 

Francesca Battistelli - Free To Be Me (Official Music Video)Francesca Battistelli – Free To Be Me (Official Music Video)

7. “Stranger In Town” by Toto

This new song is inspired by a movie where there was a case of mistaken identity. In the narrative of the song, an escaped convict is mistaken as a messiah by some people.

In a way, the song talks about the identity crisis that some people face owing to instances in life. This song was one of Toto’s most successful releases which received critical acclaim and numerous awards.

Toto - Stranger in TownToto – Stranger in Town

8. “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club

This song recants the difficulties one faces when they are not true to themselves or their significant other. The stress of trying to suppress who you are in public and private can lead to unwanted misunderstandings.

The tune itself is upbeat and the music video is quite dynamic, however, the message it conveys is quite deep. The melody reminds everyone that whatever we do, karma can hit us based on our actions. The song is a lyrical version of the lesson, ‘you reap what you sow’.

Culture Club - Karma Chameleon (Official Music Video)Culture Club – Karma Chameleon (Official Music Video)

9. “Who You Are” by Pearl Jam

This alternative rock song is a comfort to all who are trying to find a place in this world. The tune assures the listener that wherever and whatever situation they are there is a unique part to play.

The gives a feeling of security and belongingness to listers. The overall structure of the song was also praised for the awesome drums and guitar works. It truly added to the color of the character of the song.

Who You AreWho You Are

10. “In My Life” by The Beatles

This mellow pop-rock masterpiece is considered to be one of the best songs of all time. This number has a lot of emotion and nostalgia attached to it and it forces us to reflect on our actions and reactions in life.

The narrative will take you down memory lane and make you think about the people that were a part of your life in the past and how they are still important to you in the present.

In My Life (Remastered 2009)In My Life (Remastered 2009)

11. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga

This lively pop song will undoubtedly raise your energy levels once it plays. It talks about being proud of who you are and reminds everyone not to be ashamed of expressing themselves. There are a lot of norms where people try to fit themselves in and end up being miserable.

Lady Gaga wants you to know that it is ok to accept and embrace yourself the way you were born. Be true to yourself, she reminds everyone, because that’s the only way to be happy. 

Lady Gaga - Born This Way (Official Music Video)Lady Gaga – Born This Way (Official Music Video)

12. “People Are Strange” by The Doors

This rock song talks about people’s perceptions. The narrative involves a person who notices that people treat him differently because of his strange appearance.

The protagonist notes the numerous times he felt isolated by the strange looks people threw at him. Though the message of the song is sad, it is a good reminder to people to stop being judgemental because we can hurt others with our attitude without even realizing it. 

The Doors - People Are StrangeThe Doors – People Are Strange

13. “I Call Your Name” by The Beatles

This melody may have an upbeat presentation but when you listen intently, you realize it is essentially a song about sadness. The narrative talks about a separation between lovers where one party wants a second chance and desperately calls out to his object of affection. However, the other party ignores their pleas and does not even respond when the singer calls out their name.

I Call Your Name (Remastered 2009)I Call Your Name (Remastered 2009)

14. “Choices and Rights” by Johnny Crescendo

This song is dedicated to all individuals who are battling disabilities. The singer Johnny Crescendo emphasizes the need for giving choices and rights to differently-abled people.

He is very clear that he does not want special treatment or special rights and the fight is for equal dignity and respect. He wants to send the message that they may be disabled but they are perfectly capable to decide for themselves. All they ask is for people to listen.

Choices and Rights (Original)Choices and Rights (Original)

15. “Jillette Johnson” by Cameron

This song talks about a person’s individuality in a situation where it is being questioned by the people surrounding them. The protagonist observes that even if one is comfortable in their skin, others will still judge.

Those who do not fit into the declared norms are often considered outcasts and their preference are not accepted. This is a realistic scenario of everyday life where people who are brave enough to reveal their true selves end up facing rejection from society. 

Jillette Johnson - CameronJillette Johnson – Cameron

16. “Ain’t That Peculiar” by Marvin Gaye

This soulful number portrays a man deeply attracted to his romantic partner. Even though his lover had already hurt him, the narrator refuses to see it as reason enough to end things.

He finds it peculiar that despite everything that has happened, he wants to have another shot. That is probably what true love is, overlooking the wrongs and continuing to believe in your better half.

Ain't That Peculiar-Marvin GayeAin’t That Peculiar-Marvin Gaye

17. “I Am A Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel

This folk-rock song tackles the feelings of being isolated. The protagonist in the song identifies himself as an unfeeling rock and an island that can stand on its own.

The lyrics are quite sad since the narrator seems to have shut himself out. The lyrics of this song serve as a reminder to be sensitive to the people around them because, despite their outlook, they be manifesting signs that they need help.

Simon & Garfunkel - I Am A RockSimon & Garfunkel – I Am A Rock

18. “Pretty” by Lauren Alaina

This country melody discusses how women put a lot of effort to make themselves pretty. Though looking beautiful is not exactly a bad thing, a person should also put in equal effort to improving their personality. The song points to the fact that a person’s virtues are a better measurement of their identity and more attention should be directed to it.

Lauren Alaina - Pretty (Lyric Video)Lauren Alaina – Pretty (Lyric Video)

19. “Sit Still Look Pretty” by Daya

This pop tune talks about not bending to stereotypes that are often associated with women. The song states that a lady can still be pretty and confident without conforming to expectations placed on her by society.

It is all about being comfortable with your true identity. The lyrics imply that you need to stay true and natural to be the best version of yourself. And who can deny the truth of that statement? 

Daya - Sit Still, Look PrettyDaya – Sit Still, Look Pretty

20. “What Is Life” by George Harrison

This rock song pondered on one of the greatest questions of life, “What is Life?”. The melody talks about how we associate life with love and its importance in everyday life. The beautiful wordings of this song urge us to focus on the individual’s personality and the effect of the people we value and its impact on life in general.

George Harrison - What Is LifeGeorge Harrison – What Is Life

Congratulations on managing to reach the last song on the list. Which song about identity resonated with you? Did it remind you about a fond memory? Did you think about a difficulty you have triumphed over? A conflict you are trying to conquer now? Whatever your reasons, being in sync with your identity will give freedom and a fulfilling feeling like no other.