Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, best known for his longtime collaboration with
Alicia Keys, is expanding his reach. The songwriter/producer, who partners with Keys in Krucial Keys Enterprises, is currently in the studio with pedal steel guitar guru Robert Randolph and recently wrapped a song with Anthony Hamilton, who is working on a new album. Also on Brothers’ production slate: collaborations with Beyoncé, Brandy, Goapele and T.I.

“I’m focusing on getting my sound out there a lot more this year,” says Brothers. “Many of these artists are people I’ve wanted to work with before.” Brothers, along with co-writers Keys and DJ Dirty Harry, recently won an ASCAP Pop Award for Keys’ R&B and pop crossover hit “No One.”

Of working with a diverse roster of artists, Brothers notes, “I try to
strike a perfect balance when I work with artists. I like to stay true to
them and add a little of me without changing their style, artistry or

Brothers, whose additional credits include “(I Just Want It) to Be Over” from Keyshia Cole’s first album, “The Way It Is,” started out as a rapper.

He recorded his own eight-track rap EP, featuring protégé Illz, via Krucial Recordings. However, Brothers says plans to make the EP into a full-length album are on the back burner as he devotes time to his production projects while developing Illz and a couple of other in-house acts. “I’m getting the whole package together to push forward,” says Brothers.

As for when he and a touring Keys expect to go back into the studio,
Brothers says the pair already has “a head start. We’ve got a lot of great stuff left over from her last album [“As I Am”]. That was the hard part, picking which songs to use and which ones to hold.”