Alicia Keys has some important advice for everyone, famous or not: “I would actually encourage everyone to write their own story down,” Keys tells Yahoo Life, “even if it just sits in your dresser. Your story’s important. Just keep it.”
The megastar found the process of chronicling her own life both therapeutic and elevating while writing her autobiography, More Myself: A Journey. The book, which upon release shot to No. 3 on the New York Times best seller list for hardcover nonfiction, takes a look at Keys’ life by time-hopping through different periods of her childhood, her early music career and her sudden rise to superstardom.
The classically trained pianist and two-time Grammy host has been experimenting with showing more sides of herself, past and present, not only with the with the book, but with her new best-selling album, ALICIA. “It’s definitely a companion piece,” states Keys. “The book brings you up to now, and the album, ALICIA, takes you from now onward.”
Although Keys found reliving moments of her past to be mentally and spiritually beneficial, the getting through the writing of it all was not without its struggles. “The process was very long,” says Keys. “It was exhilarating at some moments and confusing at others, when I couldn’t recall certain things exactly. And it was definitely scary to think, ‘Wow, do I really want to get all these pieces out? Like, so clearly in black and white, is that what I want to do? But even reading things out loud was another way of letting things go or accepting and recognizing them.”
The book was accompanied by a critically acclaimed audiobook, which took Keys’ story to a new level by incorporating music as well as cameo appearances from friends and family members, including Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Bono and Jay-Z. “It’s just this beautiful, very personal side of it,” says Keys. “And the coolest part, they all did it on their phone. Like on the recording, part of your phone where you would do a voice memo, they read it and that's what we used. And so I think that’s, again, just a beautiful testament to the power of technology and how really nothing can stop us from being connected.”
Between the book, the audiobook and the new album, 2020 has been a big year for fans of Alicia Keys, who uses her platform to address mental health issues and inspire confidence in her followers — something that’s particularly welcome in today’s turbulent times.
“I’m so blessed that I could be a piece of the soundtrack of this moment in time and these memories and these desires to push forward full force,” she says, “and to find the love in ourselves, and to let go of what’s not serving us anymore and to express our vulnerabilities and angers and frustrations and all the sides of who we are. Because that is how it should be so that we can really be ourselves, live ourselves fully and then be in a world in a full way and inspire each other to be so present. And I do think we have a lot to work on, so it’s not going to be easy, but I do believe that we’re going to get there.”
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