Alicia Keys has transported music fans back to the 1700s with a classical twist on the smash hit, “If I Ain’t Got You.” In light of the debut of Netflix’s highly anticipated spin-off Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, the hitmaker released a performance video featuring an all-women orchestra.
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The unexpected video also serves as a celebration, as the 2003 song “If I Ain’t Got You” turned 20 years old this year. Within the mesmerizing video destined to send a chill down listeners’ spines, Keys sports a Victorian dress to embody the colonial era.
The Orchestra is comprised of 74 women from different walks of life. Ofentse Pitse, the first Black female conductor of South Africa, leads the ensemble – which also includes France’s Amel Bent, the Netherlands’ RIMON, Alicia Awa from Germany, Sweden’s Cherrie, and Delara, a Norway native.
The Netflix partnership with Keys and Universal Music Publishing Group created the first global Orchestra made up of only women of color. The Orchestra displayed their exquisite string work in the soothing introduction before the 15-time GRAMMY winner joined in on the piano and delivered her soulful sound.
“The entire idea was quite ambitious,” Keys previously told Billboard. “I feel like it’s going to open the minds of many people to realize that women of color belong everywhere, and we’ve always been everywhere. It’s magical.”
Keys believes that the state-of-the-art Orchestra will be pleasantly surprised by the final product. The female-powered group also wore Bridgerton-inspired costumes to film the goosebump-provoking rendition.
“I know they’re gonna be very emotional when they see it because the women who were there were extremely emotional,” said Keys ahead of the release. “Our conductor [Ofentse Pitse] said, ‘It feels like when we have an orchestra of all women of color from all over the world, that we’re finally doing something right.’ This is what our ancestors never experienced.”
The orchestral version of “If I Ain’t Got You” is included on the official soundtrack of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. The seven-song collection also features an ear-grabbing cover of Beyoncé’s “Halo,” an instrumental take of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu,” SZA’s “Nobody Get Me,” and more.
“If I Ain’t Got You re-imagined with this 70-plus piece Global Orchestra made up entirely of women of color is SOOOO crazzzy!” wrote Keys on Instagram alongside a snippet performance. “I had REAL tears in my eyes when we recorded this! How does this song keep doing this? I’m so grateful to you, for loving this like I do!!”
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story premiered on May 4. The spin-off of the 2020 binge Bridgerton, conveys a royal story about Queen Charlotte taking the throne and falling head-over-heels for King George. The intriguing series, which currently includes six episodes, is available on Netflix.
Photo: RCA Records