Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys revealed some personal truths in a bombshell interview with The Guardian, released on Friday in tandem with her new album Alicia.
Alicia, 39, revealed how far her current success and good fortune is from where she felt destined as she reflected on her musical journey.
‘I am that person [the underdog]’ she says. “The one who wasn’t supposed to come out of Hell’s Kitchen, who had to end up being a prostitute, a young mother at 16, or a drug addict.”
Sorry education: Alicia Keys, 39, revealed in an interview with The Guardian that she was destined for a life of prostitution or drug addiction because of the neighborhood she grew up in. new Alicia album
“I’m the one who was supposed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get hurt or killed.
The singer discussed her upbringing in more depth, as she revealed, “The New York I came from was very dark, very sorry. “
When Alicia was born in the early ’80s, her Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood exemplified her namesake as it was known to be one of New York’s dirtiest neighborhoods at the time.
The release of her uplifting 2007 anthem New York with Jay-Z led Keys to have a number of accomplishments when it came to analyzing where she came from and how that informed her sense of self.
“It was all porn places, with hookers on every corner,” she said.
When Alicia first entered the global music scene in 2001 with her single Fallin ‘, the aspiring R&B starlet embodied a very different tune from her popstar counterparts like Britney Spears.
Reflecting on how her hazardous surroundings influenced both her artist identity and her personal style, she said:
“I always had to wear something very loose, very dark, always with my hair back; I felt like if people saw me they might try to touch me. That’s why I’ve always been such a tomboy.
Tomboy: “For a lot of girls walking the streets is always a safety risk,” Alicia said as she reflected on how she felt growing up in Hell’s Kitchen in the ’80s
Often dressed in hats, oversized jackets and looser jeans, her education coupled with her musical conviction thwarted the inauthentic route to sexual symbolism unlike many other female artists of the time.
“I was never the one who wears pretty dresses and nails, because I couldn’t have nails and hair. And for many girls, walking the streets is still a safety risk, ”she said.
Discussing the juxtaposition of her neighborhood with that of Broadway a few blocks away, she said it gave her “that weird polarizing dynamic of the poor and the maybe-possible,” but also propelled her to greatness.
As Alicia evolved as a musician, she continued to cast her heart and her past into her music.
Underdog: “I’m that person,” she said after sharing that all the songs she’s ever written that are meant to empower come from her writing at an all-time low.
Her new album, Alicia, includes a number of songs that all have a nod to New York and her upbringing.
“All the songs that I wrote that were considered uplifting or uplifting, I wrote them at my lowest point. Because I needed to remind myself: remember that, ”she shared.
Approaching her new song Underdog, she continues to piece together the parts of herself that have informed who she is as both a woman and an artist.
Alicia also shared that her humble beginnings definitely helped her grow into a person with a personal worth that isn’t defined by a dollar amount.
Never Forget: Alicia revealed that all of the uplifting ballads she wrote came from a dark place because she needs to remember to never forget her weak spots
“Nobody wants to be able to get food or decent opportunities for your kids, but I’ve met a lot of billionaires and they’re fucking miserable,” the mother of two said.
Although Keys had a musical career beyond success 19 years after releasing her debut album, Songs in A Minor, she revealed that the first time she felt like she was producing truly authentic work, it was was with the release of his 2016 album, Ici.
“You work so hard to be digestible, to be something that doesn’t shock people. It becomes a habit – especially for women – and it really starts in childhood, ”she shared.
Speaking about the causes that are important to her, the singer revealed that she has poured her societal anger into the album.
Here: Alicia’s latest album Here was meant to challenge the status quo as a woman and citizen of the world as she sought to challenge the status quo; pictured at Good Morning America on September 17th
Although he hasn’t had as much commercial success as records in the past, she considers one of her best works.
“For our whole life we try to figure out how to be the right girl, when in reality the bad girl is not bad, she just expresses another side, or in touch with anger or frustration”
Despite having a difficult childhood, Alicia’s talents as a singer-songwriter and unwavering sense of self cemented her as a household name.
The 15-time Grammy winner and insanely talented artist continues to grow with every piece of music, and has now become a wife and mother.
Alicia and her husband, artist Swizz Beatz, 42, celebrated their 10th anniversary this summer. The musical duo have two children together, Egypt, nine, and Genesis, five.
Her seventh studio album, Alicia, was released on September 18.
Family: Alicia and husband Swizz Beatz, who recently celebrated 10 years of marriage, share children Egypt, nine, and Genesis, five; September 2020