I'm Coming Out

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This article is about the song. For the Ugly Betty episode, see I'm Coming Out (Ugly Betty).
"I'm Coming Out"
One of 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"
Released August 22, 1980
Recorded 1979
Length 5:24
Label Motown
  • Bernard Edwards
  • Nile Rodgers
Diana Ross singles chronology
"Upside Down"
"I'm Coming Out"
"My Old Piano"
Audio sample
file info · help
Alternative releases
French 7-inch vinyl single

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

Chart success and cultural impact[edit]

The song was a hit, peaking at number five on the U.S. Pop Singles chart. It is also notable for being the first song usually performed at Ross' performances and concerts since 1980. The song has also been identified as an unofficial gay-pride anthem.

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"!! I was a little bit rusty at first as I hadn't had a call to play jazz in years, so we ended up with four separate tracks of solos, with the intention of picking the best parts to make one great solo when later he went to mix it. I reminded Nile of our agreement and he said he was looking forward to 'The Empire Strikes Back' as he was a Star Wars fan himself.

— [2]

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". The pitch in Monardo's solo is unusually indistinct for an instrumentalist of his stature, which he later explained was due to problems in the final mixing of the track:[citation needed]

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.

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 some studio musicians live in concert.[3]

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]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by The SOS Band
US Billboard Hot Disco Singles number-one single
(with "Upside Down")

August 9, 1980 – August 23, 1980 (first run)
Succeeded by
"Fame" by Irene Cara
"Red Light" / "Hot Lunch Jam" by Linda Clifford
Preceded by
"Fame" by Irene Cara
"Red Light" / "Hot Lunch Jam" by Linda Clifford
US Billboard Hot Disco Singles number-one single
(with "Upside Down")

September 6, 1980 – September 13, 1980 (second run)
Succeeded by
"Love Sensation" by Loleatta Holloway

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 the late 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 and Leslie Mann. The song is sampled in "Break Your Heart Right Back" from Ariana Grande's sophomore album My Everything (2014).

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

"Mein Coming Out"
Single by Hella von Sinnen
Released 1997
Recorded 1996
Genre Pop, comedy
Length 5:26
Writer(s) Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers, Hella von Sinnen, Cornelia Scheel

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"
Single by Amerie
from the album Maid in Manhattan: Music from the Motion Picture
B-side "Talkin' to Me"
Released May 20, 2003 (Australia)
July 17, 2003 (UK)
Format CD single
Recorded 2002
Genre Soul, funk, Motown
Length 3:32
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers
Producer(s) Cory Rooney, Loren Dawson
Amerie singles chronology
"Talkin' to Me"
"I'm Coming Out"
Alternative cover
Australian promo CD single cover

In 2003, American R&B singer Amerie covered the song for the soundtrack to Jennifer Lopez's film, Maid in Manhattan. It was released as a single in Australia and the United Kingdom only, and not in the United States. The final single version to be released was the Loren Dawson Radio Mix. 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 can be found on the film's soundtrack album as well.

Producers made the decision to release the Loren Dawson Radio Mix as the final released version instead of the single version. This decision was made to give the song a more urban contemporary vibe. The single was only released as a promotional single for the film in the UK and it was decided no commercial release would be given. The Trackmasters remix of "Talkin' to Me" was released as a B-side.

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced to promote the single.

Track listings[edit]

International CD single

  1. "I'm Coming Out" (Loren Dawson Radio Mix) – 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)

Australian promo CD single

  1. "I'm Coming Out" (Remix)


Chart (2003) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[12] 66
Australian Urban Singles Chart[13] 23
Dutch Single Top 100[14] 69
Romanian Top 100[15] 100


External links[edit]