“If you live with love, you win,” says Alicia Keys, probably the most peaceful creature in North America. We think it’s thank to her motherhood, to meditation: Keys is convinced that her new album, (raw and socially conscious) “Here” – released the 4th November, is her breakthrough, and maybe she’s right. “It speaks clearly of where I am now,” she says, “and where is the world. I want to do better and better records, because I’m getting better. But I also believe that this is, to date, my best job. ”
You wanted that all the pieces of the new album dovetailed perfectly. Which albums of the past, according to you, are born with the same process?
The way the Wu-Tang Clan was recording the album has been a great inspiration. Even in Illmatic Nas there was a great unity of thought. And of course, What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye), an epic adventure with a sound that manages to reach unthinkable places.
Holy War condemns the idea that “war is sacred while sex is obscene.” Where does this concept come out from?
We are afraid to talk about sex with our children, or we want to hide our body and we do not want to show the beauty of love and of making love. Yet we allow children to play Call of Duty all day, and in this we don’t see any problem. It is madness.
“There is no formula to my music, it’s just ingrained in my heart and in my soul. Whether I’m talking about the visit to the Egyptian pyramids, the AIDS pandemic in Africa or affairs of the heart, everyone will be able to relive the places I have visited and to follow me in my journey of life. »
Alicia Keys 2007
In the past you spoke of the Black Panthers, but you’ve never been political in your pieces before this album. Why?
It’s true. I have always been inspired by Curtis Mayfield, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Bob Marley, but at first I did not know how to put this theme within the texts. I did not understand how to put it down in words, and in any case did not have access to emotions, to safety or the courage. Time made the difference.
Your choice to wear makeup anymore received more attention than expected?
Well, the press is more interested in my choice not to wear makeup than to 65 million girls have no access to education. But what I find interesting is this absurd standard of perfection to which women must necessarily focus. Every woman should do what makes her feel stronger, this is the most important message. So yes, this thing not to wear makeup had a little ‘too much attention, but it’s a nice theme.
When you performed at the Democratic National Convention, you have asked supporters of Clinton and Sanders to join together. Did someone ask you to say it?
No, it was my idea and of my fantastic team. We felt that there was so much division. Many of us argued Sanders, but we felt it was important not to throw away our power. At that moment I thought that, if we had not all committed, we would have lost all.
Your debut album, Songs in A Minor, just turned 15 years old. What do you feel when you listen to now?
I hear this girl who is very similar to what I’mnow. I know her perfectly. I find her in all the imperfections, and I like it. At this point, I do not care to please anyone. It’s something like, “This is me.” And then, along the way, it happens that a person put his head together. My new album, someway, comes back to that moment, in which are I have even less head and more heart.
What advice would you give to the young Alicia?
Now I feel like, “Hey, but what a wonderful person you are,” and I know it’s about all the experiences I have had, then I would not change anything, I would not do anything different. But I wanted to write more – for example, about the first time I met Prince. Write! In those moments you always think that you will remember everything. But there are some subtleties that we forget.
And what did you learne from Prince?
I learned that music has no barriers or, pass me the term, constraints. I learned things on idle themes, and possible ways to express themselves that have never existed before. I learned that a human being can really overcome any stereotype, and be a symbol of coolness. I’m glad that, someway, he looked for me. It has been a wonderful thing.
As singer-songwriter, what do you think about the Nobel prize to Bob Dylan?
Do you know what? I would like to know what he thinks. That character, Dylan! I’m sure he had moments of doubt, confusion and distraction, but I think it has never wavered in seeking the truth. He never followed the rules imposed by others. This is what they do great people. He inspires me a lot. So I think it’s incredible that it received that award – he deserves it. It’s great to have him as an example.