Alicia Keys Talks Achievements Since ‘Songs in A Minor’
In celebration of the commemorative 10th anniversary re-release of her ‘Songs in A Minor’ debut, Alicia Keys is candidly revealing the fears and excitement behind expanding her career. The singer-songwriter speaks about her experience playing dual roles in the industry, transitioning from working in music to becoming an author and kicking off her acting career.
“It was such a unique moment for me to release my first book, ‘Tears for Water: Songbook of Poems and Lyrics’ in 2005,” she says. “I’d written in journals since I was a little girl and I still have books and books of journals. So many poems are written in them, and I felt it would be such a special experience to share them. It felt a little uncomfortable at first, and the concept of taking things directly out of my journal and sharing them with the world was a little scary. It was a whole other side of music for me — just without the singing.
“I decided to release an unplugged album that year, which was so fly because the MTV series had been discontinued. My 2005 Unplugged special was the first in about three years. So we were able to bring it back and it was thrilling! I always love performing live — there’s nothing like it — especially in such an intimate setting. So to bring this series back to life was so exciting for me. It felt like a homecoming in ways, seeing faces that were starting to be familiar and it was a celebration. It connected me with people differently by allowing us to be more playful and more stripped back. During this time we [Krucial and I] also decided to open a studio in Long Island. For the first time, it felt like we would be able to have our own space, our musical freedom without someone telling you to turn the music down. We were equipped with the best gear and it just felt like we were taking our future into our own hands — not having to ever depend on anyone, or get anyone’s approval in the studio.”
2005 proved to be a year of new opportunities for the New York native, who made her decent into the world of film, playing an assassin in the film ‘Smoking Aces,’ alongside rapper Common and ‘Entourage’ star Jeremy Piven. “One of the biggest accomplishments of this year was that I began filming for my first movie ‘Smoking Aces’ in 2005,” she states. “It was so exciting to be starring in a film with actors like Ryan Reynolds, Taraji Henson, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck and Andy Garcia. I’ve always felt that there was so much more to accomplish beyond my music, and in 2005, that’s when I started to grow bigger wings with my book, headlining a tour, my first film, and opening my studio. But I was starting to feel overwhelmed, so I tried to find some balance because my main goal was always to be happy. It wasn’t easy but I’m truly glad it was on my mind because it forced me to think about my life in a whole new and improved way.”
As she shares her journey, the multi-Grammy winner is also calling on her fans to reciprocate, asking them to upload testimonies, cover songs and videos via her You Tube page.
The two-disc deluxe edition of ‘Songs in A Minor’ hits stores June 28.