Photo Credit: Alicia Keys/iVillage Guest Editor
It was a total pinch-me moment. There I was sitting on a couch with Alicia Keys -- the supremely talented singer, songwriter and performer who I've been a fan of (along with millions of others!) ever since she burst onto the scene with her unforgettable "Fallin'" more than 10 years ago.
As I prepared for our conversation, I would listen -- over and over again -- to her newest song, "Girl on Fire," the title of her fifth album which was released today. It moved me, I told Alicia. It fired me up, I said. And that's exactly what it's supposed to do.
"A girl on fire is somebody who is completely themselves," the Grammy Award-winning artist and mother of one (her son, Egypt, is two), told me, during an interview at a swanky New York City hotel in connection with her role as iVillage Guest Editor. "You don't have to be like me to be a girl on fire. I don't have to be like you to be a girl on fire. You don't have to be like anyone. All you have to do is be yourself. Find your passion. Find something that makes you feel good and go that way and as long as you're going that way, you are a girl on fire."
Alicia got the idea for the song after she read a story by a reporter, Jeannine Amber of Essence, who described her as "a girl on fire." "She is an incredible journalist and I really appreciated the whole way she wrote this beautiful story and how it captured so much of me as I am," she said. "And when I read, there was this one point that said, 'She was like a girl on fire,' and I was like, I am so writing this song because I am. That is me. That is what I want to be. That's what I've been fighting to be. That's what I am trying to be."
What is Alicia's favorite line in her unforgettable new song? Find out in our exclusive interview here:
There are many more pinch-me moments in my interivew with Alicia, such as when she talked about her son Egypt as her "greatest collaboration"; when she showed me an innovative new app, The Journals of Mama Mae and LeeLee, which she helped create and produce; and her reaction when we told her that First Lady Michelle Obama had written a post about her, calling her a "powerful voice for women." "It means everything to me ... This is kind of, part of, becoming a girl on fire, you know, is having something to say. And that is something I've always prayed for, to have something to say."
We loved learning about Alicia during her week as iVillage Guest Editor, especially about her focus, what she calls the "business of inspiration." It was also great to hear about her risk-taking style, how she stays in shape and what music inspires her most.
On that point, what could be better than a playlist hand-picked by a 14-time Grammy Award winner? Check it out! Try to listen and not feel like a girl on fire!
Alicia's Hand-Picked Playlist: