The incomparable Alicia Keys joins Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss the 20th Anniversary of her Grammy-winning multi-platinum sophomore album, ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys’. She opens up about collaboration over the years, dives into the process of creating ‘Diary’ fresh off the heels of her Grammy-winning first album, and reflects on how she kept that momentum going. Keys also opens up about how her husband Swizz Beatz helps her celebrate her wins and shares how Clive Davis has impacted her career.
I’m reflecting back to “The Diary of Alicia Keys”. I’m reflecting back to this being my second offering to the world. There was so much that changed for me. There was so much that was different than it had ever been before in my life. Obviously, a girl born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen in Harlem never had traveled like that. You don’t travel like that. Where do you go? You go to Jersey. Maybe you’re going to get to Connecticut. There’s not really a tonne of places that I had gone at the time, but thanks to the Songs in A Minor. I traveled the whole world. Here I was kind of coming back. I remember things like washing my dishes, doing my laundry, going shopping.
Reflecting on working with Clive Davis:
Listen, I learned a lot from him. I’ve learned a lot from him and I really appreciate … He said to me one time, he interviewed me and he said to me that he always approaches everything with how can I, he’s talking, how can I ensure the win? He’s making sure that everything he puts his hand on is going to win. Every single thing. He’s going to make sure every dot is … Everyone one is dot, every T is crossed. He’s going to make sure that every … I learned a lot from when he said that because I think a lot of the times as a human, definitely as an artist, a lot of times we are just reacting to what’s happening to us as opposed to ensuring that whatever is coming our way is by design.
Reflecting on classical music and her classical training especially when she was younger in her career:
It’s a pain in the ass. It just is. I know. I feel it is, but there was also like, yes, the action of practice, practicing anything, a practice that you’re dedicating yourself to and having to be dedicated to in order to find momentum in… Is definitely highs and lows. You have the joy of accomplishing something that you never thought you could at the beginning. The beginning when I would open these pieces or try to play them, I was so scared of them. I was terrified of them. You have to see the black and white notes on the page, and they look endless. There’s 16, 18, 25 pages of music that you’re needing to get through in order to complete this entire suite or this opus. Or whatever it might be, or these movements. At first I’d be terrified, but as you find yourself pushing yourself through one measure at a time, I’m going to learn these two measures. And I’m going to learn these next two measures, and then I’m going to put them together.
Reflecting on her husband Swizz Beatz teaching her to celebrate herself more:
Swizz taught me that. He definitely taught me that. You know, he’s right. You do have to have take a moment to give thanks and be grateful. And enjoy the times that you have to enjoy because it’s rare that you get those moments.
Watch the full interview below to listen to Alicia Keys reflect on what happened after she won her first Grammys, the difference between her first two albums ‘Songs in A Minor’ and ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys’, On “You Don’t Know My Name,” working with a young Kanye West and so much more.
Credits: Zane Lowe and Apple Music 1