“I Am Woman”: Emmy Meli turns her “little mantras” into a TikTok trend, a movement and a radio hit

Last year, singer/songwriter Emmy Meli wrote some “little mantras” for herself, put them to music and posted it on TikTok. Now she’s got a hit on her hands…and she’s started a whole movement.

Emmy wrote the affirmations that she turned into her empowerment anthem “I Am Woman” — not a cover of Helen Reddy‘s 1972 hit “I Am Woman” — by picking “qualities about me that I thought were unique, that I wanted to pay some more attention to,” she tells ABC Audio. After adding a melody and a beat, she decided to share it online.

“I thought, ‘Hey, this is a really cool message, and I think there are probably women out there who need to hear this too,"” she explains. “And I posted it on a Tuesday night and then got up on Wednesday…and…my friends were texting me, ‘Emily! Emily! Open Tik Tok, look at what’s happening!"”

People started using the song in TikToks to illustrate the lyrics’ messages, like “I’m unbeatable” and “I’m creative.” Soon, Emmy realized what an impact it was having.

“It wasn’t just, ‘Oh, here are some photos of me that I feel beautiful in,"” she notes. “It was people sharing their art…It was female athletes. It was mothers sharing their stories. It was sexual assault survivors sharing their stories. And it was way more than just a random TikTok trend.”

Even celebrities got involved: Ashley Graham, Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabrielle Union are just some of the stars who used “I Am Woman” in TikToks. So which one was she most excited about?

“At first, Ashley Graham,” says Emmy. “I was like, ‘O.K. no way!’ because I’ve looked up to her for a long time.”

She laughs, “And then Jada Pinkett Smith — like, that’s just surreal…So, honestly, all of them!”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.