On the road promoting the reissue of her prodigious first album, Songs in A-Minor, Alicia Keys is at once comfortable and unsettled by the spotlight. At the age of 30, she is already a veteran of the music industry but exhibits none of the self-aggrandizing qualities that often accompany the kind of success she has enjoyed. Her collaboration with Jay-Z, which resulted in the chart-topping pop anthem Empire State of Mind, has brought her popularity to her own attention seemingly for the first time. She recently sat down for an interview on her way to host the Black Ball, a fund raiser for victims of HIV/AIDS.
What’s the Big Idea?
Undoubtedly the most important personal development in Mrs. Keys’ recent life has been the birth of her son, Egypt. Since his birth, Keys has become more aware than ever that she is a role model, both to her son and her fans. She laments how young girls imitate the suggestive dance moves of some of her pop contemporaries. Perhaps it is this sense of responsibility that propels her charity forward. Keep a Child Alive is Keys’ attempt to raise awareness for young people afflicted by HIV/AIDS. Just prior to her new tour, she gave a speech at the United Nations, petitioning the organization to make good on its pledge to get 15 million people on to antiretroviral treatment in the next 10 years.