This week’s Billboard cover star Alicia Keys took some time to reflect upon her most unforgettable Billboard moments, naming the time her song “Fallin’” topped the Hot 100 chart in 2001 as the most impactful one.
“It’s kinda hard to forget the first one,” she tells Billboard, “Especially with my first song because that song was ‘Fallin’’ and because, basically, everybody told me that that song wouldn’t work.”
Keys says that at the time, she was told that the song didn’t fit into any specific genres or any radio stations because it was too slow for some and too soulful for others. They also pointed out that the tempo was different, and that there was “no reason” why it would work because it didn’t follow any formulas.
She adds that the fact that people fell in love with “Fallin’” so much that it went to No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart showed her that it’s important to stay true to yourself.
“It really signified that you can be who you are, that I can be who I am,” says Keys. “I don’t have to follow anybody else to get where I hope to go and to be able to be recognized and to be able to be appreciated and loved, and for people to love what you do. You can just be you.”
You can check out the full video interview with Alicia Keys above, and you can watch her take a look back at some more career memories below.