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Alicia Keys Talks Insecurity, Secret Passion, More On Red Table Talk

Grammy award-winning songstress, Alicia Keys got candid with the women of Red Table Talk on Monday when she joined Jada Pinkett Smith, her mother Adrienne Banfield Norris and daughter Willow for a raw conversation.

During the interview, Keys opened up about her personal struggles, insecurities throughout her career, misconceptions, motherhood and her marriage, while also bringing the women to tears sharing the touching story behind one of her singles.


Giving the back story for her song, “Like You’ll Never See Me Again,”, Keys brought Pinkett and Banfield to tears as neither could hold back when Keys played it for them. The song came up as Keys was asked to share some of the best
advice she’d ever received in her life. Keys said:

“[It probably came] from my amazing grandmother. When she was dying, she lived with me and it was amazing because all my life she had taken care of me and she was so elegant and strong and fierce and sincere. I knew I wasn’t going to have her much longer and I started thinking about mortality a lot. When I wrote this song, a lot of people thought it was about a love of a boyfriend or a man, but this was really about my love for her. She taught me to cherish the moments and she also taught me that if things weren’t happening the way you thought they were supposed to happen, that was okay.”

Speaking about her impressive music catalog, Keys said most of her songs have come to her when she “needed” them most.

“It was usually the times where I felt so un-strong, so un-Superwomanly, so weak or confused or feeling misunderstood that the only way I knew how to get through that was to write what I was hoping for,” she revealed.

According to Keys, songs like “Superwoman” and “Girl on Fire” have also lead to one of the biggest misconceptions about her. When asked to share them she said,

“Probably that I’m very happy or that I’m very strong.” She added that a lot of people also don’t think she ever curses, “and I’m like, ‘What the f–k are you talking about? What would make you think I don’t curse!”

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys on no makeup

Speaking on why she decided to stop wearing a full face of makeup on every red carpet, she said:

“The no makeup thing … I had a paper, I wrote down all the things that pissed me off,” she explained. “I’m pissed off by the way, if my son wants to paint his nails, it’s a big [issue] … I’m pissed off that if I’m not so put together and I walk outside, someone says to me, ‘You look tired.’ I’m not tired! This is my face.”

“I didn’t even know my own face and when I took off all the stuff and I looked into the mirror, I didn’t know that person,” she continued. “I look back today and pictures, like geez Alicia, did it really have to be that? It was so much. I had done that because I was told to do that.”

Of her own insecurity issues, Keys said she had always allowed her feelings to take a backseat to everyone else because she never wanted to “come off too demanding.” In her mind, that was a “beautiful” way to live, before she realized she had been “battling potentially some self-worth issues, because for whatever reason I felt like I’m not deserving of greatness.”  Eventually, she learned to hold herself back from trying to fix everything — something that was “hard” for her to do.

Near the end of the interview, Keys opened up about her marriage to Swizz Beatz, to whom she’s been married since 2010. The couple share two children.

“It’s always been so easy for us. We get along really well, we balance each other. He helps me dream … I’ve been jealous of him, you got bigger dreams than me!”

When a fan asked her about her secret passion, she said:

“I truly want to be a party planner. I truly enjoy … taking their unique whatever and making it a moment they’ll never forget. I love surprises, I love surprising people. I’ve considered starting a side business. I don’t know, it might be tricky.”

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