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Best Inspirational Songs: 10 Tracks For Daily Motivation
Warner Music
List & Guides

Best Inspirational Songs: 10 Tracks For Daily Motivation

Soundtracking our journey toward personal growth, the best inspirational songs have the power to inspire, uplift and motivate.

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As we go about our everyday lives, music often helps us take stock and make bids for self-improvement. Whether you’re embarking on a fresh start or you’re seeking a daily dose of encouragement, the best inspirational songs are often powerful and transformative, enabling each and every one of us to become our best selves. From dance-pop anthems of resilience to aspirational soft-rock ballads, an endless source of motivation awaits those who want to ignite their inner fire. Here are the best inspirational songs, each one holding the promise that every day holds the potential for positive change.

Best Inspirational Songs: 10 Tracks For Daily Motivation

10: Gym Class Heroes: The Fighter (featuring Ryan Tedder) (2011)

Described by Gym Class Heroes frontman Travie McCoy as “a very motivational, inspirational kind of song”, The Fighter is a rap-rock collaboration with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder that peaked at No.25 on the US Hot 100 in 2011. With a music video following the training regime of American Olympic gymnast John Orozco, it ranks among the best inspirational songs for reminding us that perseverance is everything. “It was kind of a proverbial kick in our own butts,” frontman McCoy told Billboard magazine. “Hopefully it’ll inspire kids to stay consistent at what it is they love to do.”

9: Andra Day: Rise Up (2015)

Written in response to the experiences of a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer, Andra Day’s Rise Up paraphrases the words of the poet Maya Angelou (Still I Rise) to craft an uplifting R&B ballad that conveys the power of self-resolve (“I’ll rise up/Rise like the day/I’ll rise up/In spite of the ache”). “Rise Up started as a sort of prayer,” Day told Time magazine. “I thought about what I needed to hear to be able to get back on my feet.” Later embraced by Black Lives Matter activists as one of the best protest songs of the modern era, Rise Up still inspires listeners by echoing the ongoing struggle for a more just and inclusive society.

8: Jewel: Hands (1998)

Inspired by her experience of poverty as a teenager, in particular a moment when she almost stole a dress from a shopping mall, Jewel’s Hands is a thought-provoking piano ballad about staying true to our moral compass and listening to our conscience. Speaking to MTV’s Total Request Live in 2001, Jewel said she wrote the song as if she was addressing a child, aiming to give younger people “enough inspiration to actually not just ignore everything, but have an action”. As one of the best inspirational songs of its era, Hands peaked at No.6 on the US Hot 100 and achieved further popularity following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, its timeless message of inner strength and the importance of kindness resonating around the world (“If I could tell the world just one thing/It would be that we’re all OK”).

7: Jess Glynne: Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself (2015)

Peaking at No.1 in the UK its release in August 2015, Jess Glynne’s Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself is a feel-good dance-pop anthem perfect for summoning self-belief even in the face of heartache. “I had my heart broken and I was in a dark place. It was even harder because my dreams were coming true and I had to put a smile on my face every day and power through,” Glynne told MTV News. “This is the message of the song: to not let sadness defeat you.” If you’re looking for the best inspirational songs and ever need a pick-me-up, Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself is undoubtedly it.

6: Paula Cole: I Don’t Want To Wait (1997)

Famous for being used as the theme tune for the US TV show Dawson’s Creek, the 1997 single I Don’t Want To Wait is an emotionally charged soft-rock ballad written by songwriter Paula Cole about her late grandfather who fought in World War II. “It’s about not wanting to repeat certain family patterns,” Cole told American Songwriter magazine. “My grandfather never heard it, but my father was able to listen to the song before he lost his father and that was important to me.” By poignantly addressing her family history and concluding that living life in the present moment is the best way to honour those who came before us, I Don’t Want To Wait is one of the best inspirational songs for offering words of encouragement we should all pay heed to (“I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over/I want to know right now what will it be”).

5: Kelly Clarkson: Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) (2012)

Inspired by a quote from the 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Kelly Clarkson’s 2012 hit Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) isn’t just one of the best breakup songs of all time, but it also doubles up as a motivational message of female empowerment and independence. With Clarkson singing about emerging from past relationships with her confidence intact, Stronger’s upbeat sense of optimism makes for an infectious entry among the best inspirational songs (“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger/Stand a little taller/Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone”).

4: Alanis Morissette: You Learn (1995)

Canadian American singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette’s 1995 single You Learn, from her breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill, is full of sage-like advice we’d do well to carry with us, even going so far as to tell us to embrace our flaws as well as our strengths (“I recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone/I certainly do/I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time/Feel free”). In an interview with MTV, Morissette highlighted why You Learn is one of the best inspirational songs by reflecting upon the life lessons it wishes to impart. “A lot of times when I’m immersed in something really difficult, I don’t realise that there’s a lesson in there somewhere,” the singer said, “and that it’s only in retrospect that I’ll realise why I went through it.” No matter what life throws at us, we should all strive to do the same in our own lives.

3: Starship: Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (1987)

Originally released as part of the soundtrack for the 1987 romantic comedy movie Mannequin, starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, by We Built This City hitmakers Starship, is about being fearless in the face of what the future brings, and feeling like you’re unstoppable (“And we can build this dream together/Standing strong forever/Nothing’s gonna stop us now”). Popular on sports terraces, the US and UK No.1 hit is often sung to manifest our hopes and dreams into becoming a reality. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now is an inspirational song on a lot of levels, whether it’s romance or whether it’s a sporting event, whatever you want to take it to,” Starship vocalist Mickey Thomas acknowledged in an interview with the Professor Of Rock YouTube channel.

2: Des’ree: You Gotta Be (1994)

There’s plenty of wisdom to be found in Des’Ree’s 1994 hit, You Gotta Be. Peaking at No.5 on the US Hot 100, this R&B ballad is full of timeless affirmations that everyone should live by (“Listen as your day unfolds/Challenge what the future holds/Try and keep your head up to the sky”). “I’ve always been blindly optimistic, and that helped me rise from my melancholia,” the singer told Entertainment Weekly. Securing the track’s place among the best inspirational songs, each line in You Gotta Be is like a little haiku, frequently expressing zen-like sentiments that can help every listener get through even the toughest of times.

1: David Guetta: Titanium (featuring Sia) (2011)

A collaboration between French house DJ David Guetta and Australian pop maverick Sia, Titanium is a dance-pop anthem that’s so blissfully euphoric it’s practically therapeutic. By reaching out beyond the dancefloor to give us the steely resolve we need to get through the day, there’s something magnificently restorative about the way the song reminds us to be confident and impervious (“I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose/Fire away, fire away/Ricochet, you take your aim/Fire away, fire away/You shoot me down, but I won’t fall/I am titanium”). With its unique confidence-boosting abilities, Titanium never fails to remind us to ignore the criticisms coming our way and go about our lives with our heads held high, and that’s why it tops our list of the best inspirational songs.

Need more inspiration? Check out the best feel-good songs.

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