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"You Gotta Be" is a pop song by British singer Des'ree, written by the singer with the track's producer, Ashley Ingram. It was the third song on Des'ree's second album I Ain't Movin', and the first song on that album's US version.

"You Gotta Be"
You gotta be.jpg
Original CD single cover
Single by Des'ree
from the album I Ain't Movin'
ReleasedMarch 28, 1994
February 27, 1995 (re-release)
March 22, 1999 (1999 Mix)
LabelSony Soho Square
  • Des'ree
  • Ashley Ingram
Producer(s)Ashley Ingram
Des'ree singles chronology
"You Gotta Be"
"I Ain't Movin'"

"Little Child"

"You Gotta Be"

"Kissing You"

"God Only Knows"

"You Gotta Be"

"Ain't No Sunshine"

It was released as a single around the world in 1994 and 1995 and became a top-40 hit in several countries and a top-10 hit in the United States. The song was used in several television advertisements over the following years, and a 1999 remix single became a top-10 hit in Des'ree's native UK and a number one hit in Spain.

As of 13 June 1998 the single has sold 358,000 copies in United States.[1]



Described by Stuart Elliott in The New York Times as "an infectiously sunny tune about the affirmative powers of self-confidence,"[2] "You Gotta Be" according to Des'ree is, like all the songs on its parent album, "about having the inner strength to figure out who you are" with "You Gotta Be" specifically being "born out of me stopping myself and thinking everyday how you gotta be something. You have to be cool and calm in [one] situation, and then you have to be bold and strong in another situation."[3] Des'ree drew inspiration for "You Gotta Be" from the Shakti Gawain book Creative Visualization which had abetted the singer's recovery from a painful romantic break-up; "I've always been blindly optimistic, and that [book] helped me rise from my melancholia," explains Des'ree who it is said "swears by daily affirmations."[4]

"You Gotta Be" was released several times in the United Kingdom: first in March 1994, it was then re-released in February 1995 after it had become a USA top 10 hit, and in 1999 in a remixed version because of its use in the 1999 Ford Focus advertising campaign and following the success of Des'ree's previous singles "Life" and "Kissing You". The latter release of "You Gotta Be" charted in its highest position out of all three releases in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 10. This version, entitled the "1999 Mix" was added to a re-issue of her third studio album Supernatural. The original release first charted in September 1994 in the United States and slowly climbed the charts peaking at No. 5 in March 1995, and staying 44 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. The remixed version of the song was a number one hit in Spain for two weeks, in February/March 1999.

Media appearancesEdit

In April 1994, it was used by Sky Movies, for their summer preview commercial. In March 1995, ABC began airing an ad campaign for Good Morning America, aimed at attracting a younger demographic and also boosting male viewership, in which Des'ree's "You Gotta Be" played under scenes of "Americans immersed in morning rituals: commuters rushing, a young man shaving, school-bound children" intercut with shots of the Good Morning America hosts.[2]

Also in 1995, the song and music video were parodied by Ellen Cleghorne (playing OJ Simpson's first wife Marguerite Whitley but visually resembling Des'ree) during a Season 20 episode of Saturday Night Live. While Luscious Jackson were the musical guests that episode, Des'ree herself performed both the song and "Feel So High" as the musical guest two episodes later.

In 1998, the song was used for the launch advertisements of the Ford Focus.[5] In Italy, the song became popular after it was chosen as the soundtrack of some TV adverts, including those of Breil in 1996.[6][7] In Australia, circa early 2000s, this song was used in a Westpac bank advert.

This song was featured in the films The Next Karate Kid and The Object of My Affection. It was also used in a special promo for PBS Kids shown every Martin Luther King, Jr. Day between 1999 and 2006. A cover of the song was also featured in an episode of Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23.

After being dropped from Sony in 2004, Des'ree did not allow the use of the song in films, television shows (including Glee[8] and Happy Endings[9]) or commercials. However, upon her return to the music industry in 2019, the song was re-licensed, with the song being used in the film Captain Marvel and the episode of the TV show PEN15, "Dance".

A reworked version of this song was used in the Big Sing 2008. The Big Sing raised money for CLIC Sargent and Marie Curie with hundreds of schools singing this song at the same time across Ireland, England and Wales, breaking the record for "most people simultaneously singing the same song".[10]

Music videoEdit

The music video (directed by Paul Boyd), is filmed in color, but it was removed during post-production. In 1995, it was nominated in the category of "Best Female Video" at that year's MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to Madonna's "Take a Bow".

Cover versionsEdit

"You Gotta Be" has been covered by:

  • Ethel Ennis on her 1998 album If Women Ruled the World.
  • Patti Austin as her contribution to the 2003 album Church – Songs of Soul and Inspiration, also included on her 2011 album Sound Advice.
  • Natalie Cole on her 2006 album Leavin'.
  • British/Japanese singer MiChi on her 2008 album MiChi Madness.
  • Japanese emo band Nature Living on their album 2008 album After All.
  • DJ Okawari featuring vocals by Amadori, on his 2009 album Mirror.
  • Ronan Parke on his 2011 debut album Ronan Parke.
  • Australian duo Bombs Away covered the song in 2019, featuring vocals of Regian.
  • Embody on his track "Be Cool" (feat. Bailey & Marco Foster)

Track listingsEdit

1994 releaseEdit

CD maxi – UK

  1. "You Gotta Be" – 4:04
  2. "Sun of 79" – 5:14
  3. "You Gotta Be" (Frankie Foncett mix) – 5:18
  4. "You Gotta Be" (after hours mix) – 4:30

CD maxi – UK

  1. "You Gotta Be"
  2. "You Gotta Be" (Blacksmith 7" radio edit)
  3. "You Gotta Be" (Blacksmith 12" mix)
  4. "Warm Hands, Cold Heart"

12" maxi – UK

  1. "You Gotta Be" (Frankie Foncett mix)
  2. "You Gotta Be" (the max)
  3. "You Gotta Be" (after hours mix)
  4. "You Gotta Be" (hourglass mix)
  5. "You Gotta Be" (love will save the day mix)

1995 releaseEdit

CD single 1 – Europe

  1. "You Gotta Be" – 4:01
  2. "Warm Hands, Cold Heart" – 4:35

CD single 2 – Europe

  1. "You Gotta Be" – 4:01
  2. "Warm Hands, Cold Heart" – 4:35
  3. "Sun of 79" – 5:15

CD maxi – Europe

  1. "You Gotta Be" – 4:03
  2. "You Gotta Be" (Blacksmith mix) – 5:29
  3. "You Gotta Be" (Frankie Foncett mix) – 5:18
  4. "You Gotta Be" (love will save the day) – 4:03

12" maxi – UK

  1. "You Gotta Be" (Blacksmith mix)
  2. "You Gotta Be" (Frankie Foncett mix)
  3. "You Gotta Be" (love will save the day)

CD single – Promo – France

  1. "You Gotta Be" (love will save the day) – 4:04

1999 MixEdit

CD single 1 – UK

  1. "You Gotta Be" (1999 Mix) – 3:57
  2. "You Gotta Be" (Tin Tin Out Remix)
  3. "Soul Paradise"

CD single 2 – UK

  1. "You Gotta Be" (1999 Mix) – 3:57
  2. "Life" – 3:36
  3. "You Gotta Be" – 4:06

Cassette – UK

  1. "You Gotta Be" (1999 Mix) – 3:57
  2. "You Gotta Be" – 4:06

Charts and certificationsEdit


  1. ^ Sexton, Paul (13 June 1998). "550 Music's Des'ree Gets 'Supernatural' on 3rd Set". Billboard. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b Elliott, Stuart (6 March 1995). "Pop music takes center stage in a 'Good Morning America' campaign to attract younger viewers". New York Times. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  3. ^ Billboard vol 107 No. 4 (28 January 1995) p.12
  4. ^ Romero, Michele (17 February 1995). "In Goddess, a Diva: Daily Affirmations with Des'ree". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Habib, Elia (2002). Muz hit.tubes (in French). Alinéa Bis. p. 431. ISBN 2-9518832-0-X.
  7. ^ King, Alex P. (2004). Hit-parade – 20 ans de tubes (in French). Paris: Pascal. p. 347. ISBN 2-35019-009-9.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Big Sing 2008
  11. ^ " – Des'ree – You Gotta Be". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  12. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 7 May 1994. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  13. ^ a b " – Des'ree Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  14. ^ (Retrieved 9 January 2012)
  15. ^ " – Des'ree – You Gotta Be" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ " – Des'ree – You Gotta Be". Top 40 Singles.
  17. ^ a b c "Des'ree: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  18. ^ "Des'ree Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Des'ree Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Des'ree Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  21. ^ "Des'ree Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Des'ree Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard.
  23. ^ " – Des'ree – You Gotta Be" (in French). Les classement single.
  24. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  25. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (NR. 318 Vikuna 9.4. - 16.4. 1999)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  27. ^ " – Des'ree – You Gotta Be (1999 Mix)".
  28. ^ "Top 10 Spain" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  29. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40".
  30. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1994". (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  31. ^ "End of Year Charts 1994". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  32. ^ 1995 French Singles Chart Archived 7 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved 30 January 2009)
  33. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1995". Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  34. ^ "British single certifications – Des'ree – You Gotta Be". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 May 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type You Gotta Be in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External linksEdit