Alicia Keys’ new album “As I Am” hits stores today, and in a recent interview promoting the project, she revealed that some of her inspiration for the album was the state of music. She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that nowadays artists are scared to try new things.
It’s become so formulaic, this industry. It’s really deadened a lot of the creative juices we all have inside of us,” Keys told the paper. “At the time when the people you mentioned, like Curtis Mayfield and Marvin and Isaac Hayes and Nina Simone, were doing it, it was truly groundbreaking. They were doing things that were never done before. Starting movements. Inspiring the world. And the world was in such an awful state they had nothing to lose. Now we’re in these hellish times and there’s like this fear to talk about things that are just horrendous. I think there’s this stigma in doing anything that’s different. In these formulaic times, we’ve come to a place where artists just want to do what they know. Like, ‘OK, this is where I fit in? Y’all like it when I do this? Well, I’m just gonna do this. Oh, and I get a nice check, too? Tons of houses and cars? Why am I going to take a chance and step out?’ That’s the real thing now: We have too much to lose. Too much to make us want to step out, risk it and say something in our music.”
Look for Keys to head out on tour in 2008 to promote the album.