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Who’s Helen Reddy? Emmy Meli’s “ashamed” that at first, she didn’t know about the other “I Am Woman”

M Emmymeli Claireschmitt 020222
Claire Schmitt

After breaking out on TikTok, Emmy Meli’s song “I Am Woman” is climbing the radio chart. Back in 1972, there was a number one hit called “I Am Woman” by the late Australian singer Helen Reddy. It became an anthem for the women’s movement and has earned a permanent place in pop culture — it even inspired Katy Perry‘s hit “Roar.” So, was Emmy equally inspired by Reddy’s song? Well, no.

“I’m actually ashamed to say that at first, I didn’t know what people were talking about,” Emmy admits to ABC Audio. “I had no idea that that was a song, and then once I went back and listened to it, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I feel like I might have heard this song before, like, maybe in a movie.’ Or it sounded familiar, for sure.”

The point is that when Emmy wrote “I Am Woman,” which has a similar message of female empowerment, she really wasn’t aware that there was another song with that title and theme…until people started pointing it out.

“At first, people were like ‘Nice cover of the song by Helen Reddy,’ and I was like, ‘Wait, who’s Helen Reddy?'” she laughs. “And I felt kind of dumb, because I love oldies and I love older music, and I grew up listening to lots of ’50s and ’60s music and funk and Motown and a lot of older artists.”

“I kind of was like, ‘How did I not know who Helen Reddy is?”’ she laughs. “I was embarrassed that I didn’t know!”

A few days ago, Emmy released a video for “I Am Woman” billed as Emmy Meli & Friends. It features women of all races, from all walks of life, illustrating the song’s message.

(Video contains uncensored profanity.)

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