Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Part of Your World

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
December 13, 1989

Musical theatre

Walt Disney

August 16, 1989


Alan Menken, Howard Ashman

"Part of Your World" is a popular song written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman from the 1989 Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid. Originally recorded by American actress and singer Jodi Benson in her film role as Ariel, "Part of Your World" is a Broadway-style ballad in which the film's heroine, a mermaid, expresses her desire to become human.


"Part of Your World" was written at the behest of Ashman, who felt that it was necessary for Ariel to have a song in which she shares with the audience her hopes and dreams, similar to a traditional Broadway musical. The song has been mostly positively received by critics, who praised Ashman and Menken's songwriting abilities as well as Benson's vocal performance. Despite being the film's theme song and critically lauded, "Part of Your World" did not receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, while The Little Mermaid's "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl" did.


Believing that, in a musical, it is necessary for the heroine (Ariel) to at some point sing about her goals and what she hopes to achieve in life, Ashman wrote the lyrics for "Part of Your World", which he referred to as the film's "I Want" song. After reviewing Ashman's lyrics, co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker suggested some rewrites, as Ashman had included terms that would be unfamiliar to someone who gets their "information [about the human world] from a seagull." Ashman complied, replacing some of his previous lyrics with more off-beat terminology.

While recording "Part of Your World", Jodi Benson requested that the studio's lights be dimmed to give her the feeling of being underwater. Ashman stood at Benson's side, giving her suggestions to benefit her performance. Benson admits to have borrowed a lot of her performance from Ashman's live renditions and demos of the song. When she heard the finished song, she was shocked to hear some of the less-perfect passes, wrong notes, and little parts within the song that were spoken that she recorded had made it into the final cut, but Menken and Ashman assured her it was exactly what they wanted- they wanted the recording to feel as real as possible.

When working on this song, Ashman and Menken often referred it in jest as "Somewhere That's Wet", as a reference to it being like an underwater version of song "Somewhere That's Green" from their first musical together Little Shop of Horrors.

During production of The Little Mermaid, "Part of Your World" was nearly cut from the film when it seemingly tested poorly with an audience of school children, who became rowdy during the scene. This caused Jeffrey Katzenberg to feel that the song slowed down the film and needed to be cut, an idea that was resisted by Ashman, Musker, Clements, and Keane. Both Musker and Clements cited the similar situation of the popular song "Over the Rainbow" nearly being cut from MGM's The Wizard of Oz when appealing to Katzenberg. Ashman and Keane pushed for the song to remain until the film was in a more finalized state. During a second test screening, the scene, now colorized and further developed, tested well with a separate child audience, and the musical number was kept.

According to Menken, "Part of Your World" was one of the songs applauded at a public screening of The Little Mermaid.


Written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman, "Part of Your World" is a down-tempo ballad written in the style of a Broadway musical number. Described by lyricist Howard Ashman as an "I Want" song, "Part of Your World" describes in detail Ariel's desire to become part of the human world. Written in the key of F major in signature common time at a "moderately bright" pace, Benson's soprano vocal range spans exactly one octave, from the musical notes of C4 to C5. When retooling the song for the Broadway adaptation starring Sierra Boggess, the key was changed a whole step up from F major to G major when in auditions Alan Menken told Boggess to sing it one step higher so that her voice would sound more youthful.

Other languages

When the movie was first released in 1989, between 1989 and 1991 it was dubbed in about 20 other languages. After the success of the film, about ten years later, in 1998, more dubbings in other languages were released, and some versions were re-dubbed to be improved (sometimes with the same performers replaying their roles, sometimes with new casts). Over the years, more dubbings have been released.

Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø dubbed Ariel in three languages: Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.

Italian singer Simona Patitucci was rewarded as best European Ariel in 2001, while Russian singer Svetlana Svetikova was rewarded as best foreign version worldwide.

Critical reception

"Part of Your World" has received predominantly positive reviews from critics. Janet Maslin of The New York Times called "Part of Your World" a "musical bull's-eye". Maslin also described the song as a desired musical number for any Broadway musical. Scott Holleran of Box Office Mojo called the song a "triumphant tune", while praising Benson's vocal performance, which he described as breath-taking. Sputnikmusic wrote similarly of Benson's performance, describing it as both "breath-taking" and "brilliant". Filmtracks described "Part of Your World" as a "gorgeous ballad", accrediting it with "setting the table" for subsequent songs performed by Disney heroines, such as Beauty and the Beast's "Belle". Filmtracks also praised Benson's vocal performance, describing it as "tender enough to be believable in the role while also accurately resonating at the necessary high ranges."

Live and stage versions

"Part of Your World" is featured in the Broadway musical adaptation of The Little Mermaid, which opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on January 10, 2008 and closed on August 30, 2009. The song, originally performed by Jodi Benson, was first performed on Broadway by actress Sierra Boggess, who originated the stage role of Ariel. Boggess was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her performance.

Notable cover versions

  • Jessica Simpson covered this song for DisneyMania in 2002. It would later be heard on the 2006 Plantinum Soundtrack of the film.
  • In 2005, the song appeared in Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II, which featured The Little Mermaid as one of the many Disney movies in the game. Other songs from the movie were featured.
  • In 2008, Blind Ferret Entertainment recorded a version of the song for the fan-based animation feature Looking for Group, with alternative lyrics.
  • "Part of Your World" is instrumentally heard in the Disney movie Enchanted.
  • Lara Akal covered the solo at Carnegie Hall in July 2016 at the My Carnegie Moment event in promotion for the Paramount Pictures film Florence Foster Jenkins.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen covered the song and released a music video for the Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD and also album The Little Mermaid: Greatest Hits release in 2013. The music video for the song first premiered on Disney Channel. Jepsen's version entered on the Gaon Music Chart at number 5.
  • Jessie J covered this song for the We Love Disney compilation album in October 2015. The album charted at number 8 on the US Billboard Top 200.
  • Japanese singer May J. covered the song on her cover album May J. Sings Disney, released November 2015.
  • German soprano opera singer Diana Damrau covered the song in German (as "Ein Mensch zu sein") on her album Forever in 2013.
  • References

    Part of Your World Wikipedia

    Similar Topics