Alicia Keys says fans can expect to hear lots of material from her latest album, the platinum-certified "The Element of Freedom," when she kicks off her North American concert tour on Sunday in Montreal.
Even though it's the first of her albums to not debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (it bowed at No. 2 in December), Keys told Billboard.com during a conference call with reporters that "I have to say I love this new album so much. I love all my albums, but I love this new album so much; I definitely have included a lot of the songs from the record, a lot of my favorites from the record."
But she also promised that "the repertoire for the tour is really diverse...There's a nice balance between the old and the new. You will hear a lot of the new songs from the album, and of course you'll hear the favorites, too. It's a nice mixture. It's all sporadic; one minute it's a joint you know, and then it's moving into something that's kind of new. It's nice, and it's fun to perform like that."
Visually, meanwhile, Keys said the shows will be subtle but stylish. "The show is obviously focused around music," she explained. "But then there's a lot of dimension and the way that we've done it, there's special eye tricks where if feels like it keeps lifting, it keeps growing. So that's really nice. I think that without overdoing it we`ve been able to achieve a really nice way the show can take you through many different places through what I want to tell and the emotion I want people to leave with."
Keys will tour North America through April 10 and will be in Europe in May and early June, including a pair of shows at London's O2 arena. Her summer plans have not been announced save for a performance at the 40th anniversary Essence Music Festival July 2-4 in New Orleans.
Keys is also preparing to launch the video for "The Element's..." latest single, "Put it in a Love Song," her Swizz Beatz-produced duet with Beyoncé. Keys said the video, which the duo recently shot in Brazil, is currently being edited and should be ready to premiere by the weekend or early next week.
"Brazil followed so closely with the energy of the song...the sensuality of it and how it's eccentric and it's colorful," Keys said. "And Brazil is so colorful and they were preparing for their Carnival and that was colorful as well, so it just all blended together...It's just something that is so unforgettable and it just feels so good and it really represents the song and it has that same energy as the song. It was really great to be able to collaborate; we both admire each other very much and have a lot of love for each other, so it was great to get on a record with each other like that and do something historic."