Harlem’s Alicia Keys Commemorates 20 Years Of ‘The Diary Of Alicia Keys’

December 8, 2023

After winning her first Grammy, Harlem‘s Alicia Keys recalls feeling so shocked that they didn’t celebrate much.

She sat in her hotel room, pondering the surreal experience. Later on, her husband Swizz Beatz taught her the importance of celebrating oneself, emphasizing gratitude for rare moments.

Reflecting on her first two albums, ‘Songs in A Minor‘ and ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys,’ Alicia notes significant personal and stylistic changes. The transition from fully braided hair to a half-braided look symbolized her experimentation with identity and self-discovery.

Alicia discusses the pain and joy of classical music training, emphasizing the dedication and practice required to conquer challenging pieces. She recounts the initial terror of facing complex musical compositions and the gradual process of overcoming each measure.

Addressing her collaboration with Timbaland on “Heartburn,” Alicia expresses admiration for the producer’s soulful energy. Despite having worked on only one record together, the experience with Timbaland left a lasting impact.


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Alicia acknowledges her vocal growth between ‘Songs in A Minor‘ and ‘Diary,’ attributing it to extensive touring and self-reflection. She highlights the importance of tight performances and continuous improvement, a lesson learned through the experience of watching herself on tour.

Related: Purchase ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys,’ on Amazon.

Discussing the creation of “Diary,” Alicia describes it as an anomaly, writing itself during the ‘Songs in A Minor‘ tour. The song’s chorus came naturally, but the lyrics unfolded gradually as she explored the message it wanted to convey.

“Alicia cherishes the collaborative experience…”

Sharing insights into “You Don’t Know My Name,” Alicia reminisces about working with a young Kanye West. The record’s popularity is evident on platforms like TikTok, where fans recreate the iconic talking part. Alicia cherishes the collaborative experience with Kanye during a time when both artists were passionately discovering their identities.

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