Alicia Keys is wild and free, and expressing herself through ways outside of music lately.
In between the release of her stellar 2016 album HERE, and return to NBC’s The Voice, the R&B starlet has landed the cover of Allure Magazine.
In a candid conversation with David DeNicolo, Keys shares some intimate revelations about inspiration behind her latest album, musical evolution, motherhood, and decision to take a break from make-up.
Check out some excerpts and photos from her cover story below.
ON MAKEUP: “I’m not a slave to makeup. I’m not a slave to not wearing makeup either. I get to choose at [any] given moment. That’s my right. I think makeup can be self-expression. I have no intention to shame anyone at all [who chooses to wear it]. No one should be ashamed by the way you choose to express yourself. And that’s exactly the point. However, if you want to do that for yourself, you should do that.”
ON HER CAREER AND APPEARANCE: “I started at 20 years old in this ridiculously invasive world [the music business] in which everyone covered me in makeup and then threw me under tons of lights, so I’d sweat for two or three hours. It took me so long to finally say, ‘Whoa!’, Who am I under there? That is just my own personal quest. You do hear a little envious grousing occasionally, along the lines of ‘Well, if I had perfect skin like hers, I wouldn’t have to wear makeup, either.’ I am all about a woman’s right to choose. I think a woman should do anything she wants as it relates to her face, her body, her health. Whatever mode of expression that empowers you, that’s what you should do. What I am not down for is this ridiculously high, unrealistic expectation about appearance that we as women are held to.”
ON THE ELECTION: “The We Are Here Movement [a wide-ranging social-justice organization founded by Keys] will stand in support of Hispanics, refugees, people of color, Muslims, and anyone who feels afraid in the upcoming Trump era. I have a hope that President Trump, as a New Yorker, will have more liberal views than his campaign rhetoric suggests and that in the end our system of justice will prevail. But it does hurt that racism was not a deal breaker for millions in the election. However, as an artist, I expect to continue to use my voice for things that matter, as I have since the beginning of my career. That won’t change. As an activist, I will continue to fight for what’s right. That won’t change, either. It’s time for all of us to be engaged. As a mother, I am a lioness.”
ON INSPIRATION FOR HER NEW ALBUM HERE: “It started with a list of things that I am sick of. One of the big ones is that I was so sick of the way women were forced to feel inadequate in many different circumstances or forced to feel insecure by the way we’re portrayed or the way we look. Another one: I am so annoyed at the way we force boys to be fake strong—don’t cry, don’t be soft. Let a boy be able to dance! Let a boy paint his nails. So a boy wants to paint his nails. Who cares! All these strange, oppressive ideas. It’s because I’m finally here; I’m finally present. In my own skin, being able to look in the mirror, and seeing how that reflects the world I live in, the world we all live in. We’re all here. We’re all somewhere here. And how do we meet each other? We have to be in each other’s shoes a little bit more! It’s personal but also universal.”
(Photos by Paola Kudacki)
Read the full story here.