«As I am», her fourth album (the unplugged album included)is coming out October 23rd. After “Songs in a minor”, “the diary of Alicia Keys” and her unplugged album (one of the most successful unplugged album ever!)
Alicia comes back with something different. She stands on her own and her music is refreshing in a period where so many artists sound the same. The keyword for this album was freedom. She wanted to discover new territories. The best illustration of that is probably her collaboration with guitarist John Mayer and songwriter Linda Perry. They are both more familiar with Rock than Hip-Hop or R&B and Soul. But Alicia doesn’t have a problem with that. The word boundary isn’t part of her vocabulary. “Music is… Music” as she tols us.

After listening to a few tracks from the upcoming album.
Here is an extract of the words we exchanged with the Harlem native.

Interview :

Tell us about your musical evolution :

Well I’m definitely rising to a new level of creativity and maturity, I know myself better now.
I know what I want, what I don’t want. I guess it’s part of growing up. It’s a natural process.

The album:

Every song… is my favourite song!
I know it might sound a little cliché to say something like that but… It’s so true!
They all have a special story. They are all different. The album is really eclectic.
Up tempos, slow tempos, ballads, hip-hop, rock…There is everything in there.

Was this album a difficult one to make?

The album in itself wasn’t difficult to make.
But what I experienced this past year is what made it difficult…

What happened what experiences are you talking about?

Being on the road for so long and then I started working on my first movie
“Smoking Aces”… I just never stopped working.
And I was tired, I was really tired I needed a break. I mean I went through
so much pressure, so much stress that… I had to take that break and when I finally went
home, one of my closest friend was really sick. So it was just a lot of different things happening to me at the same time. It was really hard, but at the same time, it made me grow.
I learned a lot. A lot about life…
And that’s definitely something you can feel in my music right now…

What do you think of the R&B scene today?
And how do you position yourself in it with all these singers…

I’m not in competition with anybody.
I do my things and they do their things…
But to get back to the state of R&B right now…
I think that nobody takes risks anymore, so it’s kinda boring.
But the talent is there. We just need more variety.
And also, radio stations and televisions need to be more daring!

Considering your music evolution do you still see yourself as an R&B singer?

Music is music.
There are way too many tags, categories, boxes.
When you think about it, whether you talk about rock, rap or r&b
It all comes from the same fabric.
Music is not that separate. It’s fluid. No need for borders.
I really wanted to try new things on this album.
I wanted to be free. I’m not trying to be put in a box. I want to do a collaboration with the White Stripes for instance! It’s not going to be on this album. But maybe for the next one…
If I could be a combination of Aretha Franklin, Janet Joplin and the Wu Tang Clan…
I would be the happiest person on earth!

Can you tell us about the collaborations on “As I am”?

There is one collaboration with Marsha Ambrosius from Floetry, John Mayer, Swizz Beatz
It was great. I’m looking forward to do more collaborations, especially international collaborations. A great friendship came out of my collaboration with Marsha Ambrosius from Floetry who is from the UK. I wanna get more of that. I’m open.

Are we talking to a new Alicia Keys?

I’ve grown. I’m more daring. More confident…

You’ve done a lot of things lately, cinema, books…what’s next?

Right now it’s all about my music.
That’s my main focus. You can’t do everything at the same time, that’s something I learned…


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