A decade ago, a “naïve” Alicia Keys graced the cover of Dazed & Confused. Over 30 million albums sold and 14 Grammys later, Keys graces the cover yet again. She chose UK talent Emili Sande as her back cover choice, and discussed the current state of the music industry, remaining classy when being sexy and more.
On the music industry changing. Everything has become more singles driven, and people are cool with having one song that they like rather than a whole album. But like, I love Songs in the Key of Life. I love the whole Stevie album, and I couldn’t just pick one single that’s my favorite. So I’ve stuck to the old school ideals in that sense. I want to create a body of music that people can listen to from beginning to end.
On mastering the art of being sexy, without ever being trashy. I grew up on 42nd street in New York, in Hells Kitchen. If you were in that neighborhood when I was a kid, you’d know it was all pimps, prostitutes and drugs. You’d see women exploited and half dressed, trying to make a dollar in the middle of winter. It had a real heavy effect on me. So coming from a place where women had to dress and act that way for their survival, it never made sense to me why people would want to translating that into an image that is meant to be desirable. Also, I was raised by my mother, who is such a strong woman, and I strive to project that image too.
On current and future projects. I’m working on my next album, which is coming together great, and I’m producing and writing the music for a Broadway production called Stick Fly. It’s my Broadway debut, which is exciting because my mom opened my eyes to Broadway at a young age and it’s been a love of mine ever since. I also directed my first short film for Lifetime, which is part of a series done by five female directors, including Demi Moore and Jennifer Aniston, and it’s an incredible series about breast cancer and the effects that it has on all walks of life.
Do you agree with Alicia that the industry has become more singles driven? What was your favorite album from 2011?