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“It is the business of the very few to be independent; it is a privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it…proves that he is probably not only strong, but also daring beyond measure.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
This powerful quote from Nietzsche reminds us that living an independent life is never easy. But there are several important reasons why we should strive for more independence in our lives.
The Importance of Being Independent
Here are some of the big reasons why we should aim to live independent lives as much as possible.
What You Will Learn
- The Importance of Being Independent
- 1. Wide Open Spaces, The Chicks
- 2. Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield
- 3. King of Anything, Sarah Bareilles
- 4. Stand Up, Cynthia Erivo
- 5. Redemption Song, Bob Marley and The Wailers
- 6. Confident, Demi Lovato
- 7. I Want to Break Free, Queen
- 8. Freedom, Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton
- 9. Acapella Stella, Maddy Prior & The Girls
- 10. Soar, Christina Aguilera
- 11. Follow Your Arrow, Kacey Musgraves
- 12. Just Like Fire, P!nk
- 13. Break My Stride, Matthew Wilder
- 14. It's My Life, No Doubt
- 15. Try It on My Own, Whitney Houston
- 16. Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd
- 17. Independent Women, Pt. 1, Destiny's Child
- 18. It's My Life, Bon Jovi
- 19. 9 to 5, Dolly Parton
- 20. Born Free, Kid Rock
- 21. Free, Ultra Naté
- 22. Weightless, Natasha Bedingfield
- 23. Chimes of Freedom, Bob Dylan
- 24. Fernando, Abba
- 25. Wavin' Flag, K'naan
- 26. We Shall Overcome, Pete Seeger
- 27. I'm Free, The Who
- 28. Freedom, Thorne Empire
- 29. Mother Freedom, Bread
- 30. People Got to Be Free, The Rascals
- 31. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, Nina Simone
- In Closing
If you’re looking for a way of affirming your decision to live a life of independence and self-reliance, here are 31 empowering songs about freedom that underscore how wonderful it is to live a life beholden to no one except yourself.
1. Wide Open Spaces, The Chicks
via The Chicks
“She needs wide open spaces, room to make her big mistakes. She needs new faces, she knows the high stakes.”
For some people, the first step to their independence is leaving what’s familiar. They may encounter challenges, but they will hopefully overcome and learn from them.
This song from The Chicks tells of that experience. We all need our wide open spaces to test our limits and see what we’re capable of.
2. Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield
“I break tradition, sometimes my tries are outside the lines. We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way.”
Are you still worried about other people’s opinions about how you should live your life? Perhaps listening to this song can help strengthen your resolve to no longer care about what other people think.
Embrace your authentic self, break tradition, and write your own story.
3. King of Anything, Sarah Bareilles
via Sara Bareilles
“I hate to break it to you, babe, but I'm not drowning. There's no one here to save.”
Having others tell you how to live your life is very frustrating. Sara Bareilles delivers a song that basically tells all those who have an opinion about your life to back off.
She had this to say in an interview with Rolling Stone: “It felt empowering to turn that frustration into music, especially a song that doesn't even sound angry.”
4. Stand Up, Cynthia Erivo
via Focus Features
“That's when I'm gonna stand up, take my people with me. Together we are going to a brand new home, far across the river. Can you hear freedom calling?”
This song is part of the official sound track for the movie Harriet. It honors the deeds of the legendary Harriet Tubman, who led a number of men and women to freedom.
Stand Up speaks of loss. When you’re starting to live independently, you’ll experience a lot of losses, especially the loss of the dependence that you had when you still had to rely on others for your basic needs and security.
Nevertheless, having your own freedom is worth it.
5. Redemption Song, Bob Marley and The Wailers
via Bob Marley
“Won't you help sing these songs of freedom? ‘Cause all I ever have, redemption songs.”
To be truly independent, you need to learn how to think and make decisions for yourself. You define your own truths and begin to discover if your fears are valid, or if they can be overcome.
Bob Marley encourages listeners of this song to create their own futures and not live their lives by the dictates of others.
6. Confident, Demi Lovato
via Demi Lovato
“I used to hold my freak back, now I'm letting go. I make my own choice, b***h, I run this show. So, leave the lights on. No, you can't make me behave.”
Being free and independent means not shrinking from your true potential for fear that others around you will be diminished.
In this song, Demi Lovato asserts her confidence and encourages listeners to do the same. Furthermore, the song reminds us that we can only be confident when we know how to appreciate and love ourselves.
7. I Want to Break Free, Queen
via Queen Official
“God knows, got to make it on my own. So, baby, can't you see I've got to break free!”
It’s only a matter of time before someone who has been stifled will want to break free.
The lyrics of this classic song from Queen have been interpreted in many different ways.
Some people believe it’s about one’s desire to break free from oppression. It is also interpreted as a song about coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community.
Regardless of what interpretation you prefer, it feels great to sing “I want to break free!” at the top of your lungs.
8. Freedom, Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton
“I am looking for freedom… And to find it cost me everything I have.”
Freedom and independence have consequences. Sometimes, in your quest to be completely free and self-reliant, you burn bridges that might have led back to safety and the security of being dependent on others.
This song encourages listeners to keep on moving forward, even when things are tough. They must keep walking the road to freedom.
It may have already cost them everything, but freedom is the ultimate prize.
9. Acapella Stella, Maddy Prior & The Girls
“Acapella Stella, she does everything. Baking her own bread and making silver rings. Doesn't need a band although she loves to sing. She sings beautiful by herself.”
This song, sung in a cappella, is a celebration of self-reliance. It talks of a woman who is capable of making her own food and jewelry.
She is talented and—as implied by the lyrics—enjoys solitude.
Sounds like someone who is truly independent, doesn’t it?
10. Soar, Christina Aguilera
“Don't be scared to fly alone, find a path that is your own. Love will open every door. It's in your hands, the world is yours.”
Sometimes, going after your dreams can be a very lonely journey. Your friends and family may not share your vision.
Nevertheless, as this song tells you, you must not be scared to go alone.
11. Follow Your Arrow, Kacey Musgraves
“Just follow your arrow wherever it points.”
Speaking of other people’s opinions about your life, this song gives several examples of things people say about our decisions and actions. The song counsels that you should just do whatever makes you happy and follow our own path.
12. Just Like Fire, P!nk
“Just like fire, burning out the way, if I can light the world up for just one day. Watch this madness, colorful charade. No one can be just like me anyway. Just like magic, I'll be flying free.”
Pink is known for songs with strong and deeply moving messages. They are usually about self-discovery, independence, and finding your own path.
Just Like Fire is a powerful song about recognizing your own worth, no matter what images others are trying to paint of you.
13. Break My Stride, Matthew Wilder
via Matthew Wilder
“Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down. Oh no, I got to keep on movin'.”
Here’s a song that inspires you to keep moving forward.
Your past may not be ideal. In fact, it may be full of bad decisions. And you may have been fully dependent on the wrong people. But you can put all that behind you and just keep on moving to your new dreams and ambitions.
14. It's My Life, No Doubt
“Oh, it's my life, don't you forget. Oh, it's my life, it never ends.”
This is a cover of Talk Talk’s single of the same title. It reminds those who question your decisions that it’s your life and you can do what you want.
15. Try It on My Own, Whitney Houston
via Whitney Houston
“And I am not afraid to try it on my own. I don't care if I'm right or wrong. I'll live my life the way I feel. No matter what, I'll keep it real, you know time for me to do it on my own.”
We’ve already discussed how some of us are prevented from exercising our independence because of other people’s influence on our lives. Whitney Houston sings of freeing herself from these influences and finally doing what she really wants to do, regardless if she fails.
16. Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd
“If I stay here with you, girl, things just couldn't be the same. ‘Cause I'm as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change.”
Sometimes we need freedom from stifling relationships. This song is about extricating yourself from being with someone who might be controlling, or who wants to change you.
It’s choosing to be who you are instead of changing for other people's sake.
17. Independent Women, Pt. 1, Destiny's Child
via Destiny's Child
“The shoes on my feet, I've bought it. The house I live in, I've bought it. The car I'm drivin', I've bought it. I depend on me, I depend on me.”
Being financially independent is the main theme of this song. It empowers women to make it on their own, and not be dependent on anyone else for the money they spend on things they want.
18. It's My Life, Bon Jovi
via Bon Jovi
“It's my life, and it's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm alive.”
This song has become an anthem for independence. To belt out the chorus is like pushing back against all the naysayers who don’t believe you can make it on your own.
19. 9 to 5, Dolly Parton
via Dolly Parton
“Well you got dreams and you know they matter. Be your own boss, climb your own ladder. That moment's getting closer by the day.”
For many people, having a job is one way of achieving independence. It might not be a glamorous job, but it gives them financial freedom.
This song tells you to keep working hard and never stop following your dreams. One day, you’ll get there. (Here are other songs on working hard in life.)
20. Born Free, Kid Rock
via Kid Rock
“And I don't want no one to cry, but tell 'em if I don't survive I was born free, I was born free!”
Not many people are born in places where they don’t have to fight for freedom. Being born free is a blessing and comes with great responsibility.
This song celebrates that freedom, and reminds us how precious it is.
21. Free, Ultra Naté
via Strictly Rhythm
“Cause you're free to do what you want to do. You've got to live your life. Do what you want to do.”
Here’s a song that tells us to do what we want to do because we are free. There is no limit to what we can achieve. We just need to believe that.
22. Weightless, Natasha Bedingfield
“The sky is the limit and I just wanna flow. Free as a spirit on a journey of hope. Cut the strings and let me go. I'm weightless, I'm weightless.”
Another song by Natasha Bedingfield makes our list. This single was first released in 2010 as one of the tracks in her Strip Me album.
The song is about the freedom we feel in acknowledging our self-worth. When we stop allowing others to define who we are, we can soar to our highest potential.
via Bob Dylan
“Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught. Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended. As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look. Spellbound an' swallowed 'till the toiling ended. Toiling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed. For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse. An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe. An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.”
Bob Dylan is often hailed as one of the greatest American songwriters and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. He is also lauded as the creator of several protest songs. In fact, this single is often interpreted in political terms. However, other listeners take it to be a message about appreciating and honoring the freedom we enjoy as a nation.
“There was something in the air that night. The stars were bright, Fernando. They were shining there for you and me, for liberty, Fernando. Though I never thought that we could lose, there's no regret. If I had to do the same again, I would, my friend, Fernando.”
This song is about a couple of veterans reminiscing about the past, when they were young freedom fighters. Although they lost in their fight for freedom, their passion never waned. Even in their old age, they’re still willing to fight again for liberty if given the chance.
via K'naan Warsame
“When I get older, I will be stronger. They'll call me freedom, just like a wavin' flag.”
A waving flag often symbolizes patriotism. In this song, K’naan sings about the struggles of people who are displaced by armed conflict. It is a song full of hope for those who are far from their homes. One day, they’ll be stronger as a people and be able to return to their homes and reclaim the freedom that has been taken from them.
“Oh, deep in my heart I do believe. We shall overcome, someday.”
This is not a song meant to incite a revolution. Instead, it is supposed to strengthen and give hope to those fighting for their rights.
Tracing its roots to the time when slaves sang a version of this song as a promise of deliverance, it assures listeners that one day everything will be put to right.
“I'm free. I'm free. And freedom tastes of reality. I'm free. I'm free. And I'm waiting for you to follow me.”
Part of The Who’s album Tommy, this is a song of hope. When removed from a life filled with illusions, what would a person do when they’ve finally regained their freedom?
via Thorne Empire
“Only when you swim against the current, you know what it takes to be free. The days are collected in a long chain. Breathe in, breathe out. Move forward, feel the push back. Here behind bars, illusion is life. My freedom is a radio station. I am free like a bird in the sky. I'm free. I am alive.”
Here’s another song that mentions illusion. However, in this track, illusion is the way to gain freedom when one is behind bars.
via Bread – Topic
“Freedom, keep tryin'. People stay alive and people keep dyin' for freedom. So don't lose it. You gotta understand, you just can't abuse it. Freedom, keep movin'. Never gonna stop 'till everybody's groovin' on love for one another. Callin' some friend and callin' some brother. Hey, tomorrow you're not so far away. Mother freedom, we'll know you someday.”
This song was first released in the heyday of political protests in America. During that time, there were several events that threatened the freedom of American citizens. The song is a reminder as well a plea for listeners to never take their freedom for granted. It encourages everyone to make an effort to secure their freedom and share it with others.
“All the world over, so easy to see. People everywhere just wanna be free. I can't understand it. So simple to me. People everywhere just got to be free.”
In philosophy, we are taught that “freedom is an intrinsic and essential property of the person.” This song declares this simple truth. It reminds us that everybody, no matter where they are in the world, just wants to be free.
via Nina Simone
“I wish I knew how it would feel to be free. I wish I could break all the chains holding me. I wish I could say all the things that I should say. Say 'em loud, say 'em clear. For the whole world to hear.”
This song is a powerful anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. It describes the struggles and hopes of those living in a restrictive society, whose personal freedom is limited because of their skin color, economic standing, or social background.
There you have it—31 songs about freedom and living an independent life. Do you have a favorite?
Living independently may be hard going. You may be forced to rely on your own resources and abilities. However, reaping the benefits, such as improved self-esteem, better money-management skills, and increased creativity, is truly worth it.
Go and live your own story.
If you're looking for more, here are some of our favorite songs about leaving home.
Meanwhile, here are some articles that you might want to check out about life, being solitary, and happiness:
Finally, if you want to use these songs to make a lasting change to your life, then check out these 100 LIFE GOALS that can help you wake up each morning with a sense of enthusiasm about making progress toward what's important..