I'm Coming Out

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"I'm Coming Out"
Diana Ross - I'm Coming Out single cover.jpg
One of the cover arts for German vinyl singles
Single by Diana Ross
from the album Diana
  • "Give Up"
  • "Friend to Friend"
  • "Never Say I Don't Love You"
  • "My Old Piano"
ReleasedAugust 22, 1980 (1980-08-22)
RecordedDecember 1979
GenreDisco, funk, soul
Length5:24 (album version)
3:59 (radio edit)
  • Nile Rodgers
  • Bernard Edwards
Diana Ross singles chronology
"Upside Down"
"I'm Coming Out"
"My Old Piano"
Audio sample
Alternative releases
French 7-inch vinyl single
French 7-inch vinyl single

"I'm Coming Out" is a song recorded by American singer Diana Ross. It was written by and produced by Chic members Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, and released on August 22, 1980 as the second single from Ross' self-titled tenth album Diana (1980).


In 1979, Ross commissioned Chic founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards to create material for a new album after taking her daughters to see the band in concert, following the success of Ross's final Ashford & Simpson-composed and produced LP, The Boss. Rodgers got the idea for "I'm Coming Out" after noticing three different drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a New York club called the GG Barnum Room. The lyrics hold an additional meaning to Ross, as she was leaving Motown Records and "coming out" from under Berry Gordy's thumb.[1] According to the BBC4 documentary "How to Make It in the Music Business", Ross loved the record until she put it in front of Frankie Crocker, who pointed out that 'I'm Coming Out' is what homosexuals use to announce their homosexuality; she ran back to the studio in tears and demanded to know why Rodgers wanted to ruin her career.[2]


The song was another hit from the album, peaking at number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks in November 1980.[3] It is also notable for being the first song usually performed at Ross' performances and concerts since 1980.

LGBT significance[edit]

"I'm Coming Out" has been regarded as an anthem for the LGBT community. The phrase "coming out" to describe one's self-disclosure of sexual orientation or gender identity had been present in the gay subculture since the early 20th century[4]. It has also been understood as "coming out of the closet" or coming out from hiding. The song is thus interpreted as a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender identity and the encouragement of self-disclosure.

Trombone solo[edit]

Rodgers convinced his neighbor, producer Meco Monardo, to contract the horns for the album in return for a commitment by Rodgers to co-produce Monardo's then-upcoming album of music from The Empire Strikes Back. Monardo, a former first-call session player who had a string of hits in the late 1970s with disco versions of film music, also played trombone on the album and is featured in a solo towards the end of "I'm Coming Out":

Nile recorded all the tracks and vocals and called me and my horn section for a 3-hour date. We had a great time, as the songs were fabulous—especially "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out". We sounded great—Nile was pleased and as I was packing up, he asked me to stay and play a jazz trombone solo on one of the tracks. I said, "Nile, there are a lot of hit records with jazz saxophone solos—even some with jazz trumpet solos, but not one with a trombone"!! He said. "That's exactly why I want you to do it"!![5]

Trombone solos have been rare on Top 40 songs in the post-big band era and especially so since the 1960s. Notable exceptions include brief solos by James Pankow on a handful of early Chicago hits and Clifford Adams' brief solo on Kool & the Gang's 1983 hit "Joanna".

Weeks went by when I heard through the grapevine that Diana Ross was incredibly unhappy with the album. She thought Nile and Bernard made her sound like Chic. She took the master tapes from Power Station and went to Motown in Detroit to remix the record. When it came out, her early interviews were very unenthusiastic about it and Nile and Bernard, her producers. Well, as we all know, this turned out to be her biggest-selling solo album ever. "Upside Down" was a monster Number-One single and "I'm Coming Out" was a top-ten single. It turned out that when the engineer at Motown saw the track listings of Meco 1–2–3–4, he just assumed that Track 1 was THE track and never listened to the others, and so that's what is on the record. So, I'm extremely proud to say that my solo is the only jazz trombone solo of a top-ten pop hit in the last 50 years! But – it wasn't my best – that, unfortunately lies in the vaults at Motown.[5]

The dispute with Ross led to none of the musicians being credited on the album cover and also may have had a part in Rodgers backing out of his commitment to Monardo's Meco Plays Music from The Empire Strikes Back album. However, Rodgers and Ross later mended their professional relationship and subsequent digital releases of the album credit Monardo and the other musicians. A 2003 two-disc release of the album included the Rodgers/Edwards mix originally rejected by Ross, as a bonus track.

Music video[edit]

Diana Ross performing in the music video to the song with studio musicians live in concert.[6]

Track listings[edit]

U.S., UK, French, and German 7" and 12" single

  • Side A:
  1. "I'm Coming Out"
  • Side B:
  1. "Give Up"

Dutch 7" and 12" single

  • Side A:
  1. "I'm Coming Out"
  • Side B:
  1. "Never Say I Don't Love You"

Swedish 7" single

  • Side A:
  1. "I'm Coming Out"
  • Side B:
  1. "My Old Piano"

Chart performance[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[13] Platinum 150,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Silver 265,000[15]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

In popular culture[edit]

This song was featured in two trailers of The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

Samples and covers[edit]

The distinctive sound of "I'm Coming Out" and its resulting popularity has led to Ross's song often being sampled, most notably by Stevie J, who sampled the song for rapper The Notorious B.I.G.'s 1997 song "Mo Money Mo Problems". There's also been a cover by Marcia Hines. It was featured as a cover for the video game Karaoke Revolution as well. In more recent times, the song was sampled in Keyshia Cole's remake of "I'm Coming Out" (featuring Iggy Azalea) for the original soundtrack of the 2014 movie The Other Woman, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton, Leslie Mann and Nicki Minaj. The song is sampled in "Break Your Heart Right Back" from Ariana Grande's sophomore album My Everything (2014). This song was also covered for the soundtrack to the 2016 movie Trolls.

Hella von Sinnen version: "Mein Coming Out"[edit]

"Mein Coming Out"
Single by Hella von Sinnen
GenrePop, comedy

In 1997, German comedian Hella von Sinnen sampled "I'm Coming Out" for her single "Mein Coming Out", using the term "coming out" in the context of coming out of the closet, or revealing one's homosexuality.

Amerie version[edit]

"I'm Coming Out"
Amerie sinhgle imcomingout.jpg
Single by Amerie
from the album Maid in Manhattan: Music from the Motion Picture
B-side"Talkin' to Me"
ReleasedApril 7, 2003 (2003-04-07)
Amerie singles chronology
"Talkin' to Me"
"I'm Coming Out"

In 2003, American singer Amerie covered "I'm Coming Out" for the soundtrack to the film Maid in Manhattan. Her version was released as a single in select European countries and Australia. The final single version to be released was the Loren Dawson remix. The original single version (which is similar to the original) can be found on both CD singles and the original motion picture soundtrack to Maid in Manhattan. Ross' version appears on the film's soundtrack album as well.

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced to promote the single.

Track listings[edit]

  • German CD single[16]
  1. "I'm Coming Out" (Loren Dawson Remix) – 3:49
  2. "Talkin' to Me" (album version) – 4:00
  3. "Talkin' to Me" (Trackmasters Remix) (featuring Foxy Brown) – 3:38
  4. "I'm Coming Out" (Mark Ronson Sunshine Remix) (no loop) – 3:09
  5. "I'm Coming Out" (video)
  • French CD single[17]
  1. "I'm Coming Out" (Loren Dawson Remix) – 3:49
  2. "Talkin' to Me" (album version) – 4:00
  • Australian CD single[18]
  1. "I'm Coming Out" (Loren Dawson Remix) – 3:49
  2. "Talkin' to Me" (album version) – 4:00
  3. "Talkin' to Me" (Trackmasters Remix) (featuring Foxy Brown) – 3:38


Chart (2003) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[19] 66
Australian Urban (ARIA)[20] 23
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[21] 69
Romania (Romanian Top 100)[22] 100

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Germany April 7, 2003 CD single Columbia [16]
France April 15, 2003 [17]
Australia April 18, 2003 [23]


  1. ^ Zeffer, Andy (2004). "Freak Out with Chic". Express Gay News. Archived from the original on 2010-09-06.
  2. ^ "Episode 2". Nile Rodgers: How to Make It in the Music Business. 25 August 2018. BBC4.
  3. ^ "Diana Ross - Chart history - Billboard". www.billboard.com.
  4. ^ Chauncey, George (1994) Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940, New York: Basic Books, emphasis added
  5. ^ a b "Disco Profiles - Meco". Archived from the original on 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
  6. ^ "DIANA ROSS I m Coming Out - vidéo Dailymotion". Dailymotion.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ a b c d e [1] Archived November 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I'm Coming Out". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  10. ^ "Top 100 1980-11-22". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
  11. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1980". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1980/Top 100 Songs of 1980". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  13. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Diana Ross – I'm Coming Out". Music Canada. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  14. ^ "Official Charts 'My Everything"' Review". Official Charts. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  15. ^ Cite error: The named reference UKsales was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  16. ^ a b "I'm Coming Out" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "I'm Coming Out" (in French). Amazon.fr. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  18. ^ "I'm Coming Out" (Australian CD single). Amerie. Columbia Records. 2003. 673747 2.CS1 maint: others (link)
  19. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles – Week Commencing 28th April 2003" ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  20. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles – Week Commencing 5th May 2003" ARIA Top 40 Urban Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Amerie – I'm Coming Out" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 9, 2009.
  22. ^ "Romanian Top 100: Editia 23, saptamina 16.06 – 22.06, 2003" (in Romanian). Romanian Top 100. Archived from the original on October 12, 2004. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  23. ^ "Amerie – I'm Coming Out". Sony BMG Australia. Archived from the original on September 10, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2018.

External links[edit]