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Ask Alicia Keys about her 2-year-old son Egypt and she literally bounces. She is a woman transfomed -- from Grammy Award-winning, supremely talented singer-songwriter to beaming, over-the-moon mom. It's clear her Grammys are no match for what Egypt means to her.
"He means everything to me. And it's just the best, best thing, it’s the best thing that's ever happened to me," she told us in an exclusive interview at a New York City hotel in advance of her Guest Editor week at iVillage. "I was doing an interview about ... music and ... different collaborators that I had, and Egypt’s the best collaboration that I've ever (done). It's the best song I ever wrote, it's the best experience that I've ever had. It's the best show I ever performed. It’s the best everything. It really is."
That quote gets me every time I read it. I mean we all feel that our kids are the best thing in our lives but most of us don't have 14 Grammys on a mantel somewhere. It makes us love Alicia even more!
Watch what happens to Alicia Keys the minute her son's name comes up:
Egypt is not an everyday name for a child so we had to ask Alicia about the inspiration behind it. We did our homework and knew he was named for the country. But what was it about a trip she took to the Middle Eastern nation that made her want to name her son Egypt?
"It was a really powerful, lonely, insecure time in my life when I took this trip to Egypt," she told us. "I was learning a lot of people were taking advantage of me in a lot of ways business-wise. I realized that nobody was going to protect me except me."
So a friend suggested she "go sail down the Nile or something" and she did! "And when I came back, I found a piece of myself that I think I was missing somewhere or I lost somewhere and I felt reinvigorated and I was kind of set back on my path," she told us.
Fast forward many years later when she and her husband Swizz Beatz were thinking of baby names, and were looking for a name that would be "cool" for a boy or a girl. "My husband was really like, 'But you know your trip to Egypt, you talk about it all the time, it was really empowering to you, it really changed your life, and so will this. What do you think about Egypt?' And I was like 'Oh my gosh!' ... I was like, it was it. So ... we knew he was Egypt from very, very early."
Listen to Alicia describe the trip that would determine the name of her first child:
Egypt's a constant reminder of a journey that brought renewal to her life, in the same way a child brings new possibilities to any mom or dad. What more could you ask for in a child's name?
Be sure to check back on Tuesday when Alicia talks about the business she has created, which she calls "the business of inspiration."