On The Way Up is the second track on Elisa Fiorillo’s second album, I Am, and shortly before the album was released, On The Way Up was released as the album’s first single. The track was written by Elisa Fiorillo, Prince, David Z. Rivkin and Levi Seacer, Jr., and was produced by David Z. Rivkin and Levi Seacer, Jr. Prince does not appear as a musician on the track.
While specific recording dates are not known, basic tracking took place in mid-to-late September 1989, at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Elisa Fiorillo, David Z. Rivkin and Levi Seacer, Jr. had already been working on the track when Prince contributed to it (just as he had to I Am, shortly before).
Elisa Fiorillo performed the song live in a medley (with Ooh This I Need and/or Love’s No Fun) on American TV shows in February 1991 with new arrangements. These performances were based on a "rehearsal demo" created by Prince and submitted to Elisa and her band.