About Gloria

at first I was afraid, I was petrified

26th May 2010

Words: Ben Seymour

Photos: Ben Seymour

I will survive

Gaynor herself had a reason to sing a song about survival. She suffered a major fall on stage which left her with a broken back and spent six months in the hospital recovering. She was recording this song in a back brace.

I began to have a spiritual awakening and decided that I wanted to have more purpose to my singing than people just having a good time… That’s why I chose ‘I Will Survive’ and I wanted to continue as often as possible to give them songs that would have positive impact on their lives.

This became the definitive song of Gaynor’s career, and she named her autobiography after it. It’s been covered over 200 times (and in different languages). The song was inducted into the Library of Congress for its enduring cultural significance—an honour only awarded to 25 songs in history.

From the beginning I recognised it was a timeless lyric that everyone could relate to, so I don’t get tired of singing it. I’m always freshening it up; changing the beat, the lyrics, modernising the arrangement – I’ve even stuck a hip-hop section in the middle of it. I become 295% grade A ham when I do this song because people still love it.