I think the song is about changing your life for the better, it’s about making changes that will allow you to live your life as happiest as possible. I’m going to try to find a general and relatable meaning behind the song rather than a literal and specific one.
Grew up in a small town – My take on this is that she grew up being a minority, there was something that made her life harder than most people. We can go as far as defining her as an underdog. Perhaps she was an introvert, shy, anything really, it’s phrased to be as relatable as possible.
And when the rain would fall down I’d just stare out my window
The word rain implies sadness, the rain in the lyrics represents those moments when everything came crashing down. The verse “I’d just stare at her window” implicates that whenever she was faced with such moments she would just hope things would change, that deep down she wanted to make a change in her life but at the same time she lacked the initiative, she would just stare she wouldn’t actually try to grab what was behind it.
Dreamin’ of what could be And if I’d end up happy
This verse talks about her desires, she’s imaging her life could potentially be, and at the same time she’s wondering is she will ever be happy.
I would pray
There are many ways to interpret this, my take is that again she lacked initiative to change her life, “she’d pray” it implies hoping someone would change her life for her, she was just waiting for her life to change rather than taking the initiative herself.
Trying hard to reach out But when I tried to speak out Felt like no one could hear me Wanted to belong here But something felt so wrong here
I think this relates to the first verse of the song, it’s about living as a minority and not being heard nor understood by people. It’s about being alone and feeling different from other people. It implies she lived under other people’s shadows that she’s unhappy in general.
I’ll spread my wings, and I’ll learn how to fly I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky And I’ll make a wish Take a chance Make a change And breakaway
I think the chorus is the most important part of the song, it’s about finally taking initiative and changing your life for the better. She’s going to “spread her wings and learn how to fly”, she wants to be free from whatever is holding her back, she wants to grab all the endless possibilities that are ahead of her, she’s making wish and actually trying to fulfill it. She will breakaway from whatever is holding her back.
Out of the darkness and into the sun But I won’t forget all the ones that I love
Darkness represents all the negative stuff in her life and she’s telling us that she will finally walk into a happier phase of her life, but that she refuses to leave behind the people she loves. I think she’s mainly talking about her family, she’s telling us that even if we decide to change our lives we shouldn’t forget about the people helped us walk through it.
Want to feel the warm breeze Sleep under a palm tree Feel the rush of the ocean Get on board a fast train
All the situations she described are basically phsyical “dreamy” representations of happiness, this part of the song is about her expressing her strong desire to be happy.
Buildings with a hundred floors Swinging ’round revolvin’ doors Maybe I don’t know where they take me
This part of the song talks about the endless paths the changes in her life could take her, she’s trying to be a bit more realistic and honestly tell us that she doesn’t know what will happen from now on.
But gotta keep movin’ on Movin’ on Fly away Breakaway
She concludes by telling us that whatever happens, she will keep going on, and that regardless of what happens she will be find a way to be happy and fulfill her wishes.
This is truly an amazing and inspiring song, that basically everyone can relate to.