Rise (Katy Perry) Lyrics Meaning [Explained]

Katy Perry’s “Rise” captured the hearts of millions during the 2016 Summer Olympics as a powerful anthem of unity, strength, and victory. Released as a standalone single, the song aimed to inspire people across the globe, particularly in the wake of the Nice terrorist attack.

In this analysis, we will delve into the meaning behind “Rise” and how its message resonated with the spirit of the Olympic Games.

Lyrics Interpretation

Before we delve into the story behind this song, let’s take a closer look at each verse of the lyrics.

Verse 1

I won’t just survive

Oh, you will see me thrive

Can’t write my story

I’m beyond the archetype

The opening lines of the song immediately set the tone for the theme of resilience. Perry declares that she won’t just “survive” but will “thrive,” showing a strong determination to not only get through difficult times but to excel in spite of them. The mention of being “beyond the archetype” reinforces the idea that she refuses to be defined by any preconceived notions or stereotypes, carving her own path instead.


I won’t just conform

No matter how you shake my core

‘Cause my roots—they run deep, oh

In the pre-chorus, Perry emphasizes her individuality and strength by refusing to “conform” and stating that her “roots run deep.” This metaphor suggests a strong foundation that enables her to withstand any challenges or attempts to change her beliefs and values.


Oh, ye of so little faith

Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it

Victory is in my veins

I know it, I know it

And I will not negotiate

I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it

I will transform

The chorus highlights the importance of self-belief and confidence in one’s ability to overcome adversity. Perry calls out to those who may doubt her, asserting that “victory is in [her] veins” and she won’t negotiate or compromise her beliefs. The declaration to “transform” further emphasizes her determination to rise above any obstacles in her path.

Verse 2

When, when the fire’s at my feet again

And the vultures all start circling

They’re whispering, “You’re out of time,”

But still I rise

Perry uses vivid imagery in this verse to describe the challenges she faces. The “fire at [her] feet” symbolizes the pressure and difficulties she encounters, while the “vultures” represent those who might try to take advantage of her vulnerability or doubt her ability to succeed. Despite these hardships, she insists that she will “still rise” and continue to move forward.


This is no mistake, no accident

When you think the final nail is in

Think again

Don’t be surprised

I will still rise

The bridge reaffirms Perry’s resilience, emphasizing that her ability to overcome adversity is not a mistake or an accident. She encourages listeners not to underestimate her, as even when it seems like all hope is lost, she will “still rise.”

Verse 3

I must stay conscious

Through the madness and chaos

So I call on my angels

They say

In the final verse, Perry acknowledges the need to stay focused and aware amid the chaos and challenges she faces. She calls upon her “angels,” which could represent her support system or inner strength, to help her stay grounded and maintain her resolve.


Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it

Oh, oh, oh, oh

You know it, you know it

Still rise

Just fight it, just fight it

Don’t be surprised

I will

still rise

The outro serves as a powerful reminder of the central message in “Rise.” Perry repeats the phrases “don’t doubt it” and “you know it,” emphasizing the importance of self-belief and confidence in overcoming adversity. She encourages the listener to “fight” and “rise” above any challenges they may face, reinforcing the song’s theme of resilience and determination.

True Meaning Behind “Rise”

Perry shared that “Rise” had been brewing inside her for years before its release, and she felt compelled to send a message of unity to the world. The song was chosen by NBC Sports to be prominently featured during the US television coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics, showcasing the strength and fearlessness of Olympic athletes as they gathered in Rio. This association further emphasized the song’s message of rising above adversity and achieving victory.

The Anthem of Determination

Co-written with Savan Kotecha, Max Martin, and Ali Payami, “Rise” is a mid-tempo electronic song that embodies the spirit of competition and victory. According to Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic, the song is a “languid anthem of determination” that uses powerful metaphors to inspire listeners to push through their struggles and come out on top. The song’s strong imagery evokes icons like Katniss Everdeen, Maya Angelou, and Jesus, further solidifying its status as a powerful anthem.

The Impact on the Olympic Games

The 2016 Summer Olympics provided the perfect stage for “Rise” to be showcased, as the song’s message of unity and determination spoke directly to the athletes and the inspirational themes of the games. As the world watched the competition unfold, Perry’s powerful anthem served as a constant reminder of the strength, resilience, and unity that defines the Olympic spirit.

Music Video and Live Performances

Katy Perry’s song “Rise” has been making waves since its release in July 2016, with a powerful promotional video directed by Joseph Lee that features past Olympic moments and famous athletes. Rolling Stone’s Daniel Kreps praised the video as a “riveting montage”, while Billboard’s Gil Kaufman called it “inspirational” and having “superstar power”.

Perry then released teasers for the official music video, which was directed by Paul Gore and released on August 4. The video shows Perry parachuting into a body of water in the middle of a desert, filmed in Snow Canyon State Park and Sand Hollow State Park in Utah. Idolator’s Mike Wass gave the video a positive review, saying the execution was flawless.

But Perry’s “Rise” wasn’t just a hit online – she also performed the song live at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and again in October 2019 at Silence The Voice. Perry’s performances showed her incredible vocal range and stage presence, making “Rise” an anthem of resilience and hope.


Katy Perry’s “Rise” remains a powerful anthem of unity, strength, and victory, inspiring listeners to rise above adversity and achieve their goals.

Its prominent role during the 2016 Summer Olympics brought the song’s message to millions of viewers, reinforcing the themes of unity and determination that define the Olympic spirit.

With its captivating lyrics, powerful metaphors, and energizing musical structure, “Rise” continues to resonate with people across the globe as a reminder of our collective strength and resilience.

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