Embracing tenacious, old-school R&B while incorporating political undertones, Alicia Keys released her eighth album “HERE” on Nov. 4.
Even though her new album was expected sooner, Keys made the decision to hold off on the release. She took a hiatus after finding out she was pregnant with her second child, Genesis Ali Dean, who was born December 2014. According to Humanity magazine, finding out she was going to be a mother put a different spin on things. In 2010, Keys married Kasseem Dean, “Swizz Beatz,” and had her first child, Egypt Daoud Dean.
Throughout her career, Keys won 15 Grammy Awards. According to Billboard magazine, she was named the top R&B song artist of the 2000s.
She was born in Manhattan, New York City, and has lived a musically-centered life from a young age. Keys began studying classical piano when she was 7 and enrolled in the Professional Performing Arts School at 12. Four years later, Keys graduated as valedictorian. In 2001, she released her first studio album, “Songs in A Minor.”
Recently, Keys successfully demonstrated to her fans that she is staying makeup-free and is committing to her natural beauty. On her new album, the song “Girl Can’t Be Herself” allows Keys to address insecurities while providing insight into her all-natural movement.
Keys has carried her new attitude into her music and digs even deeper while calling upon issues she sees in the world to create music that raises awareness.
She opens her album with a somber, introspective interlude that flows easily into her second song “The Gospel.”
She takes on many perspectives throughout the rest of her album to help nurture her points in ballads and using various tempos. She continues her use of interludes with recordings of discussions with friends.
Keys adapts many different roles throughout her songs to provide listeners with different viewpoints.
For example, she performs from the role of an addict in her song “Illusion of Bliss” and as a narrator for children in “Kill Your Mama.” In her song “The Gospel,” Keys proves she can be versatile in her art by trying her hand at rapping.
As a fan of hers, I was surprised by the differences in her sound. But, I believe it works well with the down-to-earth version of herself and the topics she is highlighting. It is an album I would dance around the house to, and it is an overall success.