As Alicia Keys is getting ready for her comeback with a new single, she sat down with Zane Lowe to dicuss her new album and Prince’s influence on her artistry.
Her new single “In Common” was released this week and she’ll preform on “Saturday Night Live!” on May 7. After the release of her comeback single, Keys dropped by Beats1 radio to sit down with Zane Lowe to dicuss all things music.
On her new album:
“[This album] has been very communal. It started with four incredible people all together: myself, Mark Batson, an incredible producer writer, Herold Lilly, who wrote a lot of my first songs with me, and Swizz. And we are all from all types of parts of the planet and the world. We all – most of us are from New York, but like our experiences – and so when we all got together it was kind of this sonic combustion of music that doesn’t go together normally, and you’re gonna hear that. You’re gonna hear that in all the music that you feel. It feels like… different. It feels familiar and comfortable and warm and then… different . . . It’s all the topics and the conversation about me personally and also where we all are – what we’re all going through. It’s definitely stuff that you’re gonna dig deep into.”
On the first time she spoke to Prince:
“It was the first album and I had to call him to approve me doing “How Come You Don’t Call Me?” And I had never spoken to anybody like that, like who I admire to that degree, and it was such an ordeal. It was like so complicated. It was very 007. Very. When we finally spoke, and he was super cordial and like just praising what I was doing and that he had been watching me and that obviously lifted me up to another level just inside of myself, he asked me to come to Paisley Park and perform . . . First when I got on the phone with him I was elevated to another level, and then he asked me to come play at Paisley Park – that was a whole other level and I just couldn’t believe I was speaking to this man. I said “What am I doing on the phone with this man?”
On Prince’s influence:
“To me [Prince] is obviously one of the most incredible musicians that we’ve ever been gifted with, and I think what makes him so dope is his lack of caring of who you want him to be or expect him to be or think what box he should fit in. He’s like, “In fact, I’m gonna do exactly opposite.” For him to be able to cross genres like that, by the way, that’s no easy feat. You don’t just easily cross through different genres. You don’t just easily do like a rock song and then hop over to like a soulful R&B song and then – quick! – do a dope pop song. And then yet you don’t lose yourself within it. You are still fully completely yourself . . . He taught me to put art first. He always put art first. It wasn’t about commerce to him. It was about the art, and I think that’s incredible.”
You can listen to the full interview with Zane Lowe here.