Written in June 2016
So real. So raw. I have "Fallin" for the essence of Alicia Keys since I was five years old. It was not because I related to her as we both sported the long braids or because of her genuine music. It was her activism and character as an artist that really resonated with me (the similar braid styles did not hurt either).
But now that she has returned from her long hiatus, Alicia Keys is showing everyone "A Woman's Worth" and reminding me why I fell in love with her as a fan in the first place. It did not take me long to notice it, either. When Keys changed her social media icons and premiered her new song, "In Common", I instantly noticed her makeup-less face and head scarf.
In a Lenny Letter, the 15-time Grammy winning artist, says, "Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect".
Keys' own intentions were not realized until photographer Paola Kudacki encouraged her to embrace her natural beauty.
"It wasn't until I walked into one of my first shoots for my new album recently that the issue was front and center again. I'd just come from the gym, had a scarf under my baseball cap, and the beautiful photographer Paola (never met a Paola I didn't like) said, "I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!"
Subsequently, the singer started sharing photos of herself without makeup, starting the #nomakeup trend to motivate women to embrace their insecurities . Alicia Keys' raw appearance reflects the authenticity of her new music. "In Common" and "Hallelujah" are the latest singles to emerge from her upcoming album. "In Common" shares the struggles and problems of people in a relationship while "Hallelujah" evokes a feeling of hope and helplessness. Keys sings with so much passion and authenticity that her vocals become gritty and powerful. It sounds as if Keys poured all of her heart and soul into this new soulful sound. She seems more transparent in her music as she embraces her flaws. Nevertheless, I'm loving every bit of it!
Alicia Keys is back; so raw, so real.