Alicia Keys

Young star goes back in time    ·    May 21st, 2005

Alicia Keys’ voice is like buttah.

Just hearing her answer questions is therapy for the ears, even if the Grammy golden girl isn’t singing.

Recently named the hottest person under 25 by Teen People, the 24-year-old Keys swings by the Paramount Theatre in Oakland on Tuesday and Wednesday for performances on her extended tour.

The Mercury News caught up with her by phone.

Q: How do you maintain your soothing voice?

A: I’ve come up with a nice regimen that really works for me. I really don’t talk much on the days of shows. A lot of time, I’ll walk about with a pad of paper and just write everything down. I drink a lot of herbal teas that have very healing throat properties to them. I don’t do a lot of extra things the night before a show. I really take it easy so that I can be at my best. This show, in particular, takes a lot out of me. It’s very intricate. There’s a lot going on. It’s a whole time-travel, transportation, 1930s feeling, so I really have to get my mind completely right for it, have my energy up, up, up.

Q: In your concert with Beyoncé and Missy Elliott, you danced. Is there going to be more of that?

A: It’s definitely movement, but it’s free, more like freedom within the movement, kind of portraying this time in the period of the ’30s in the Cotton Club kind of era.

Q: A lot of people were surprised when you came out from behind the piano in that show.

A: Definitely. I like to surprise people. I will do it for my entire life.

Q: How would you describe your personality?

A: Free-spirited, kind, impatient. (She laughs.) Strong, definitely very giving. I like people to be happy, and I like to be happy, as well.

Q: What makes you happy?

A: I’m discovering as I go.

Q: Where do you find your inspiration?

A: Everything — I mean, everyday things, needs, emotions, anything that really just touches me personally and inspires me to write in one way or another. It can come from something that I’ve read in a book that reminds me of something in my life to a phrase that’s said on television . . . to a conversation with a friend, and obviously my own personal life.

Q: You mentioned books. What are you reading right now?

A: I’m reading Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” right now.

Q: Have you read that before?

A: I haven’t. I’ve always wanted to read that. I just finished reading “The Color Purple,” because probably everyone in the whole universe has seen the movie, and I love the movie, but I’ve never read the book. When I discovered that it was written in journals-and-letters style, I just really wanted to read it.

Q: You’re putting out your own book soon?

A: Yes, that’s the reason why I wanted to read “The Color Purple.” I wanted to style my book after journals and letters. It’s a work in progress.

Q: When I was putting together my Top 10 for last year, you were one of the few women I had in mind. So who would be on your Top 10 female list?

A: Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Patrice Rushen, Roberta Flack, Marian McPartland — she’s a pianist — Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, MC Lyte, Joni Mitchell and I’ll say Norah Jones.

Q: Why do you think there is such a lack of women in music?

A: I don’t know. I’ve noticed that, too. I don’t know why that is; we’re definitely extremely talented. See, now I can think of more people (she laughs): Jill Scott, Gwen Stefani. We’re so talented, and we have so much to offer. I don’t know why we don’t get the recognition that we really deserve, most of the time.

Q: After this long tour, what do you plan on next?

A: I’m going to enjoy the summer like I never have before. I’m going to really take the summer in and see some family and barbecues — just, you know, late-night drives with the windows down, with my favorite songs playing, and beaches, just have a really good time.



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One Response to “Young star goes back in time”

  1. C Says:

    I like alicia key’s songs. She’s the best

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