I understand the song You Raise Me Up is about relief, faith, etc.

According to a post

The song effectively portrays Josh Groban’s expression of faith and also presents the influence of his Episcopalian religion in his lyrics.

Is it true?

Does "you" in the lyrics refer to God?

  • 3
    The question is still ambiguous. When I sing the song, I might imagine the "you" to refer to someone in my family; when my next door neighbours sing the song, they might imagine it to refer to God. So you could be asking either of these questions: "Did Josh Groban mean it to refer to God when he recorded his cover?" or is it "Did Brendan Graham mean it to refer to God when he wrote the original lyrics?". Which one are you asking? Aug 21, 2020 at 11:37

5 Answers 5


There are a variety of posts like the one in the OP that claim the song is intended as a Christian anthem. For example here, here, and (indirectly) here. However, Everything I've found directly attributable to Groban (that is, with a verifiable citation) gives no indication of what he has in mind when singing the song. He has acknowledged that he was raised Episcopalian and that his father's side of the family is/was Jewish -- this is documented in a variety of places, like Wikipedia -- but beyond that, he seems not to be publicly religious.

My own conclusion is that Groban, by intention, makes no claim about how the song should be interpreted, leaving that up to each individual.


Like so much music you can take what you like from it and this song is certainly a good case for that. It seems more like perhaps a love song to me but I can easily see how one could see it as a song of praise a well. Enjoy it for what it is and take from it what you need.


To me, it's what is in our thoughts and what we feel when we sing that song. If we are looking into God, thinking about God, The song is for God, praising God, worshiping God.


What Groban meant might or might not be relevant - he is the singer and interpreter of the song as most of us know it. And certainly, THAT version is his.

But he did not write it, and the lyricist may have loved what Groban did, or hated it, or loved his voice "do what you want" I don't know.

But the lyric was written by Brendan Graham in 2002. and as he wrote it, it has a second verse

V2 runs like this: "There is no life no life without its hunger Each restless heart beats so imperfectly But when you come and I am filled with wonder Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity"

To my mind, that suggests a much more human connection, possibly romantic. And while I like it, I do not think it fits easily with the version in the popular mind which assigns "You" as speaking praise to God. "God raises me up"

That would be a perfectly good interpretation. And at least one of the Youtube videos show a community of dancers and musicians being deeply mutually supportive - including a potential romantic connection - Perhaps pointing to a variety of ways that we are capable of raising each other up. In that video, there is no explicit religious connection.

Of course, none of us know who wanted the recording to be as it is, or that video to be as IT is, or why. Marketing, messaging, I don't know.

I like the song Mr Graham's way with both verses Mr Groban's way with only the first verse and choruses (his recording used an instrumental verse - no winging for v2)

And I like both of the messages I hear. A really good lyric will carry that.

But I am singing this tomorrow, and wanted to investigate. It is SO hard to find a reference to that second verse, that I think I will confuse people if I sing it.


The only problem that it wasnt written by Groban so what he believes in or what he was raised as has no relevance regarding the question.

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    It's relevant, because Groban is the one singing it. The songwriter(s) might have meant one thing; Groban might mean another.
    – Aaron
    Aug 7, 2021 at 18:58

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