Alicia Keys Discusses New Album, Motherhood & Her Fight for Justice With 'Humanity' Magazine

Alicia Keys Citizens of Humanity
Courtesy of Citizens of Humanity

Alicia Keys

For Humanity's ninth issue, activist-singer Alicia Keys pours her heart out. Following her We Are Here movement's collaboration with Mic, which featured many A-listers like Keys, Beyonce, Bono and more standing up for black lives, Keys goes in-depth about her forthcoming album, fighting for justice and helping children and families with AIDS. See some excerpts from the interview below and read the full feature here

Alicia Keys on her new album:
"The music for this album was created so fast -- the fastest I’ve ever created music before. It was like raining down every night, like storms of music was just coming out. ... We did probably 30 songs in like 10 days."
Alicia on her recent hiatus:
"So I was like this album is going to come out real quick. And then I found out that I was having a baby—my youngest, Genesis—and that put a different time spin on things. And then it became kind of an exercise in patience, and that was really important for me because it allowed me to look at the album. ... So it wasn’t intentional and it wasn’t really meant to be a hiatus, but I guess it turned into that a little bit. I imagine a hiatus is when you’re on a beach, and I can’t recall a moment like that."
Alicia on how motherhood has changed her and how she keeps her kids grounded:
"How you view yourself [changes]. I think that was the biggest change for me when I had my first son. I really kind of respected myself for the first time … I respected my time for the first time, and I respected the value of what that meant and what I was giving up when I spent it incorrectly or when I used it correctly ... [My children have taught me] to not forget to be in wonder of all the things around you, as simple as they might be. Not taking them for granted. It’s so special."

Beyonce, Bono, Rihanna, Pharrell, Alicia Keys & More Stand Up For Black Lives, Demand Change in Powerful Video

Alicia on the keys to her successful relationship with Swizz Beats:
"I think the most important thing in any relationship is presence—being present and really choosing to make the time and take the time for the people that you love … not letting a part of your job be more important or a part of your career be more important, you know? And communication—really talking about who you are, because we grow, and we should be growing together … So you’re both growing and both evolving and learning more about yourself and learning more about each other, and I think when you give each other the opportunity to continue to know each other, that really strengthens it. Me and my husband, we have this thing, we’ll call it Keep It Real Tuesdays if it’s Tuesday, if it’s Friday we’re like Keep It Real Fridays, and we just have to be honest, whatever it might be."
Alicia on working to fight injustices, and helping children and families with AIDS:

“Keep a Child Alive provides medicine for children and families who have AIDS who can’t afford it. (…) There are just not a lot of places you can go and get treated or get tested or get food even, and you can’t take AIDS medicine and not have eaten. It’s important; at this point we’ve helped almost 2.5 million people. With the We Are Here movement I was just personally angry—angered by turning on the TV and every second seeing this constant disrespect or inequality, and that’s really what the main focus of We Are Here is about; it’s really about inequality and justice all over the world. (…) We’re in 2016 and we’re still talking about inequality of women in the workforce. Give me a break.”
Alicia on how she wants to be remembered:
“I definitely want to be remembered as one of the greatest artists of all time that created timeless music that will live forever ... I also want to be known as somebody who really was a part of change, you know? Some of the greatest artists that I have admired really spoke out about issues and things that they believed in and what was wrong in the world, and I want to be remembered for that.”