Keys says that song — “If I Ain’t Got You,” which was No. 1 for six weeks on Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart back in 2004 — is one of her “favorite songs ever” and tells the story behind it in an exclusive clip for Billboard.
“A lot of people have sung it on the show, which I super, super love,” she says. “I actually wrote it after I heard that Aaliyah passed away. I was on a plane, and I think being on the plane and knowing she passed away after a plane crash, it was this sentiment of being present in a moment and nothing else mattering but those that you love.”
Keys explains that she wrote the song “really quickly” but the production took forever. “It was such a labor of love,” she says.
Watch the story behind the song below: