Written by Jerry Herman.
Released 1984 on a single and another version together with the London Symphony Orchestra on the album I Am What I Am. Together with "This Is My Life" Shirley Bassey sings this song at the end of almost every concert. So this song is available on many collections and live recordings. Live available for example on The Birthday Concert and The Diamond Collection. And on the videos An Audience With Shirley Bassey, You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet and Divas Are Forever. After "give me the hook or the ovation" usually the audience applaudes.
"I Am What I Am" was a hit for Gloria Gaynor 1984.
This song is taken from the musical "La Cage Aux Folles" by Jerry Herman. The musical is based on a french film with the same title. The premiere was on August 21st, 1983 at the Palace Theatre in New York and it ran there for 1761 performances. 1996 a new movie "The Birdcage" had been made out of it with actors like Robin Williams and Gene Hackman.
The musical goes about the transvestite night-club "La Cage Aux Folles" in the seedy end of St. Tropez, France. Georges is the owner of the night-club and Albin is Georges's gay lover and star performer as ZaZa at the club. Georges' son Jean-Michel from a previous marriage to a woman wants to marry a woman - the daughter of Dindon, a notoriously narrow-minded politician. Jean-Michel wishes to present himself as coming from a high moral background and invites his fiancée's parents to his home where Georges has to remove anything that may be considered as inappropriate. Jean-Michel's real mother should come to play an intact marriage, but calls that she cannot come. To the utter astonishment from the others, Albin walks in exclaiming "Here's Mother", and takes her place. Albin is eventually de-frocked, it results in high insanity and it all ends up with Dindon and his wife dressing up in high-heels, tights and leotards.
Although La Cage was Broadway's first homosexual musical, it was nevertheless a mainstream production. Director Arthur Laurents didn't allow his lead characters so much as a peck on the cheek for fear that he might offend his audience.
Jerry Herman began with songwriting at the age of 17 encouraged by his
mother. 1961 he got his first Tony Award nomination for his work on the Broadway musical
"Milk and Honey". He helped to produce the Broadway hit "Hello, Dolly!" which won a Tony
Award in 1965 for Best Musical.
1979 "The Grand Tour" received two Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Score.
"La Cage Aux Folles" was one of Jerry Herman's greatest accomplishments.
The show received nine Tony nominations including six awards for Best Musical,
Best Actor in a Musical (George Hern), Best Director of a Musical (Arthur Laurents),
Best Book (Harvey Fierstein), Best Score (Jerry Herman) and Best Costume Designer
(Theoni V. Aldredge).
Jerry Herman has written many more musicals and received all in all seven Tony
nominations, including three Tony Awards.
In the '70s the Theatre at the University of Miami was renamed the Jerry Herman Ring
Theatre, as a tribute to its alumnus. He was also inducted into the Songwriter's Hall
of Fame in 1981 and the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1986.
Jerry Herman has also worked on television and film programs and has released
several albums. He's still working on some projects and successful songwriting.
I am what I am
I don't want praise
I don't want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think it's noise
I think it's pretty
And so what if I love each feather and each spangle
Why not try and see things from a different angle
Your life is a sham till you can say
Hey world I am what I am
I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the ace
Sometimes the deuces
It's my life and there's no return and no deposit
One life, so it's time to open up your closet
Life's not worth a damn till you can say
Hey world I am what I am
(transcribed by Roman <email@example.com>)