The 30 Best Alicia Keys Quotes

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Alicia Keys is so many things.

She’s a great singer, piano player, songwriter, and performer and she boasts a grace about her that is enviable even if you’re the Queen of England.

Truly, she’s one of the most recognizable and beloved artists of the current moment. But what does 41-year-old, New York City-born Keys, beyond her legendary songwriting, have to say about life and love and her craft and the world at large?

That is the exercise for today. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the 30 best Alicia Keys quotes, shall we?

1. “A lot of times I watch TV and I watch film and there’s so many things I’d love to talk about that I feel don’t get the opportunity to be shown. Sometimes things become very stereotypical and one-sided, and I feel like it’s such a colorful world.”

2. “When I was first learning songs, I’d have a favorite song, and I’d take the chords and twist them around. I’d learn the chords and then play them backward. That was my first experimenting with writing a song.”

3. “Mozart would play a counterpart with his left hand while using his right to mock it. It was blue, dark, shadowy—and it made me feel something. That’s when I realized music was inside me.”

4. “I think you are who you are, and your kids will see who you are. So you’d better be a good person because they are going to see it, and that’s going to shape them. They are going to become you.”

5. “Music is funny. I shouldn’t even ever talk about music, because you can have all the ideas in your head, and it never goes exactly the way that you think it’s gonna go.”

6. “My music comes from many, many, many places. My emotions, my feelings, my thoughts, and conversations I have with people I know who influence me.”

7. “I just wanted to be who I was, which was like so many other girls I knew. We grew up in the city, had a hard edge and obstacles to overcome, but we were still young and beautiful. I didn’t want to be all dressed up, all made up—I wanted to be myself, which hadn’t been done before.”

8. “I am able to hang with the hardest, the baddest, the worst, and I’m able to hang with the most proper and be at ease. I’m able to hang with any skin color, any belief. I just fit in everywhere.”

9. “When I was a kid, I’d practice Chopin on piano—and I love Chopin! He’s my dawg! Then I’d go out on the stoop and blast the radio. I’m from New York, the concrete jungle. Hip-hop influenced me from day one.”

10. “When I’m on stage, my interaction with the audience is something that really makes me come alive. It’s a feeling like no other. The energy of the crowd fuels something new inside.”

11. “I’ve always been very private, maybe because I discovered my mother, who is a wonderful lady, is very emotional.”

12. “I think I grew up really fast; I grew up in this really fast-paced business, and I never understood what it meant to take a break or take time off or recover, and I paid for it.”

13. “Once people see this ‘Unplugged,’ I just want them to feel the spontaneity, to feel passionate… I want you to see another side of me, that’s free, and feel where my head is, where whatever happens, happens. I want you to feel inspired.”

14. “The last thing I want is to walk into my house after a long day and see all the Grammys and awards. It would make me feel weird.”

15. “I promised myself that I’d never actually admit to listening to ‘New Kids on the Block.'”

16. “There’s too much darkness in the world. Everywhere you turn, someone is tryin’ to tear someone down in some way; everywhere you go, there’s a feeling of inadequacy or a feeling that you’re not good enough. I want to bring a certain light to the world.”

17. “I really like to live my life in a low-key fashion.”

18. “I always want to stay focused on who I am, even as I’m discovering who I am.”

19. “Maturity and experience are part of my liberation.”

20. “I’m a very positive person, but this whole concept of having to always be nice, always smiling, always happy, that’s not real. It was like I was wearing a mask. I was becoming this perfectly chiseled sculpture, and that was bad. That took a long time to understand.”

21. “The element of fire to me is very powerful because of what it symbolizes, how it symbolizes strength. It symbolizes something that’s unstoppable. You can’t get through it, you know.”

22. “And I love kickboxing. It’s a lot of fun. It gives you a lot of confidence when you can kick somebody in the head.

23. “I see what happens when one gets very attached to material things. That’s just not what my life is.”

24. “I was tired and I had overworked myself and burnt myself out. So I went to Egypt by myself. When I saw what was built there, it made me understand how powerful we are, that we can create anything. And I felt like I needed to create things that were timeless too.”

25. “I feel like B sides are always better, no matter whose record it is.”

26. “From the beginning, I’ve had to juggle and weigh the silly things people say—and I’ve learned that they’re meaningless, and they’re mostly inaccurate. So I don’t worry about it, because there’s nothin’ for me to deal with.”

27. “Things can be really empty in this world, and I don’t just mean the music world. It can become a very meaningless place if you don’t really understand: ‘who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing?’ To feel fulfillment and have a deeper level of understanding, personally, that is the most important thing.”

28. “I know people who’ve gone to jail. It don’t mean you stop loving them! They deservin’ love just as much in there, and maybe they needin’ it more.”

29. “My mixed-race background made me a broad person, able to relate to different cultures. But any woman of color, even a mixed color, is seen as black in America. So that’s how I regard myself.”

30. “Failure isn’t an option. I’ve erased the word ‘fear’ from my vocabulary, and I think when you erase fear, you can’t fail.”

Photo: RCA Records

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