Madonna Releases New Ballad ‘I Rise’ Featuring Emma Gonzales Sample

By Jem Aswad

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Madonna today released “I Rise,” the second of five songs leading to her the June 14 release of next album, “Madame X.” While the singer said the song is about “giving a voice to all marginalized people who feel they don’t have the opportunity to speak their mind,” it opens with a segment of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Emma Gonzales’ impassioned speech last year: “[They say] us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS!”

continues that theme in the song: “There’s nothing you can do to me that hasn’t been done/ Not bulletproof, shouldn’t have to run from a gun/ River of tears ran dry, let ’em run/ No game that you can play with me, I ain’t one.”

The low-key ballad follows the album’s first single, “Medellín,” and in the coming weeks she will release “Crave” (featuring Swae Lee) on May 10, “Future” (featuring Quavo) on May 17, and “Dark Ballet” on June 7.

“I wrote ‘I Rise’ as a way of giving a voice to all marginalized people who feel they don’t have the opportunity to speak their mind,” Madonna said in the statement. “This year is the 50th anniversary of Pride and I hope this song encourages all individuals to be who they are, to speak their minds and to love themselves.”

As previously announced, on May 4 GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization will honor Madonna with the Advocate for Change Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. Madonna is the second person and first woman to ever receive this recognition, which is awarded to a person who changed the game for LGBTQ people around the world through their work.