‘You Raise Me Up’ by Josh Groban was a cover of the 2002 version by Secret Garden. What was Groban’s reason for covering the song, is it about anyone in particular?
Groban has never commented on the subject of his rendition of the song ‘You Raise Me Up’. Speculation suggests it could be directed in some way towards Groban’s faith.
Although he barely ever speaks of his religious views, Groban has mentioned that his family has both a Jewish connection on his father’s side and a Christian connection with his mother’s. Whether or not the song is about either of these topics is known only to Groban, as he has never directly stated anything about the song or his religious views.
The Origin of ‘You Raise Me Up’
Groban’s ‘You Raise Me Up’ was a cover of the far lesser-known original by Rolf Løvland, a Norwegian composer. The version by Løvland was performed by the duo he formed one half of, Secret Garden.
Alongside him in this duo was the Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry. The two wouldn’t see much commercial success with the original release of the song, but it did spark off an endless amount of covers and remixes by artists from every genre and style imaginable.
Before it became ‘You Raise Me Up’, the song got to begin its life as an instrumental piece composed by Løvland, titled “Silent Story”. To complete the transformation into the song later covered by Groban, he enlisted the help of an author and songwriter that he admired, Brendan Graham.
The original purpose of the song, according to Løvland, was for his mother’s funeral, though Løvland has stated that he believes the powerful feelings conjured by the song remain up to the interpretation of the listener.
There was eventually some dispute later about the true origins, with artist Jóhann Helgason comparing the song to his popular Icelandic song “Söknuður”. Though the case was later thrown out, there were many acknowledgments made about the similarities between the two.
The Most Covered Song
‘You Raise Me Up’, despite its limited chart success, found itself born again when put into the hands of Groban. Working together with David Foster, who had his eye on Groban as a hot new prospect that had the potential and capability to do the song justice, Groban got to work on the cover.
The cover immediately outstripped the original in terms of popularity, earning it a top spot on the Billboard adult contemporary chart, as well as a respectable position on the Billboard Top 100.
His version has proven to be so popular that many people aren’t even aware that the song is a cover, having no knowledge of the original version, speaking volumes about how valuable the addition of Groban’s unique style was to the song.
He wouldn’t be the only artist to strike it lucky with the increasingly popular song, as UK boyband Westlife also released their own take, managing to not only crack the top 10 of the UK charts but managing to seize control of the #1 spot.
The song has been out for quite some time now and the piece has only become further and further open to interpretation as time has gone on, the tone and feel of the song that each individual artist brings to the table entirely transforming the potential meaning.
Some listeners feel like it is a love song, others a funeral song, and also those with religious ties personally find a lot of meaning in the song for its uplifting, gospel-like quality. Although it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility, it’s possible that the religious theme struck a chord with Groban.
Due to the fact that both of his parents were religious and also that there is a hefty amount of religious subtext or outright implication in his lyrics, it wouldn’t necessarily be too much of a stretch to imagine that it was this aspect of the song that appealed to the singer.
Unfortunately, it will remain in the land of speculation, seeing as how the singer is notoriously private with both his religious and his political views, never finding it necessary to mention either.
At least he was able to confirm what the song was not about.