Alicia Keys has officially released her seventh studio album, which is a self-titled project called Alicia.
The 39-year-old singer also has a brand new book, “More Myself,” which she says is a companion piece to the album. She talks about the magic of working with Kanye West, surviving the tough streets of New York, and her struggles with self-worth.
“The book takes you up to today and the music takes you from today on,” she said on Good Morning America this week. “It’s definitely about all sides of us as people.”
“I have so many sides to myself — we all do — and I’ve been embracing that on this music, so you’re going to love it,” she added. “It’s going to take you to many places and many reflections.”
In her new album, Alicia has two songs that will leave you weeping and motivated at the same time. The Underdog track, it’s co-written by Ed Sheeran, goes back to those people dreaming of a better life: “The hustlers trading at the bus stop / Single mothers waiting on a cheque to come.”
“I am that person,” she says. “The one that wasn’t supposed to make it out of Hell’s Kitchen, who was supposed to end up being a prostitute, a young mother at 16 years old, or addicted to drugs. I am the one who was supposed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and got injured or killed.
“And what the fuck is a dream? A dream is a luxury if you have to pay all these bills and put food on the table for your kids. That is why I understand so much about what it means to have the strength to follow your own path. All the songs I’ve ever written that have been considered empowering or uplifting, I’ve written them at my lowest point. Because I needed to remind myself: don’t forget that.”
Then she has another track that warns one not to try too hard to impress everyone. The song basically tells you that not only is people-pleasing harmful to yourself but it’s harmful to the other person, too.
“You find yourself doing everything you think the person you love wants you to do. You find yourself changing because you’re trying to anticipate their needs, and then you realize that the person that they fell in love with is not even you.”
Alicia says her marriage to producer Swizz Beatz, her husband of 10 years, is different. “We’re so connected and honest with each other we’re able to be completely ourselves. But that’s a new experience.”
You can go ahead and download the full album now on iTunes, or stream it below from Spotify.