It’s been three years since Alicia Keys graced the world with “The Element of Freedom.” But since 2009, the “Girl on Fire” crooner has positioned herself to increase her influence and brand. Since her last album, Keys has inked deals with Reebox and Disney; launched a storytelling app for children; and explored the movie, television and theater worlds with Broadway plays, short films, and made-for-TV movies. She’s also added Beatz to her last name and birthed the personification of an African country.
Now at 31, AK is preparing to release her fifth album, Girl on Fire, on November 27. It is an effort that displays a newer, freer, chopped bob Alicia with a fresh perspective on life. In the November/December issue of Billboard, she spills the tea on her creative process, what lights her fire and the importance of family in shaping the future of her career.
On what she’s learned in her time off: “The most newest, the most difficult, the most loving, the most dream-filled, the most breaking free . . . an entire crazy dynamic of lessons and emotions to grow into and claim. This whirlwind has definitely forced me to be who I am, to be free enough and brave enough to just not accept anything else-nor try to be anything else.”
On the importance of Girl on Fire: “This is me stepping into my complete woman- hood, my journey to becoming fearless.”
On working with new producers and writers: “It was fun to experiment with people I hadn’t worked with before. With all the new things I’ve been experiencing, it felt right to push myself and see where it took me.”
On the importance of Swizz Beatz and Egypt on her creative process: “It was a very eased-in process that helped me realize one thing. I just wanted to craft great songs and create emotion with incredible songwriting talents. That was the mandate.”
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