- Tue, 2004-06-15 18:08
Alicia Keys has insisted she will never give up singing, regardless of whether she is successful as a Hollywood actress.
Alicia plays a glamorous assassin in new film Smokin' Aces, but has vowed that her music will stay her top priority.
She told the World Entertainment News Network recently, I need music - it helps me as a person. I'm working on my new album and I'm excited about it,
I've been close to acting since I was a little girl. It's always been a part of my life. I was just waiting for the right time. It's exciting to enter another world where you are not yourself. You can dive 100 per cent into it and be totally liberated by it.
As one of the artists providing exclusive content to iTunes, Alicia Keys showed her support for the launch into the UK, Germany and France, by giving a surprise performance at the invite-only media event on June 15th 2004.
The intimate performance, in front of only a couple of hundred press and guests,kicked off with a bit of fun and a tribute to the late great Ray Charles, with Alicia singing You know the night time is the right time.... to listen to iTunes. She followed this with a taster of an exclusive version of the gorgeously powerful and spine-tingling, 'If I Ain’t Got You' that she's placed on iTunes and nowhere else.
But an up close and personal performance by the one and only AK would not be complete without a pitch-perfect crowd-pleasing, lump-in-throat-generating finale of 'I Keep On Fallin'which was, of course, outstanding, with the cosy setting contrasting delightfully with the sheer power and soul of her voice, showing off the incredible talent that makes Alicia Keys stand out from the rest.
I Like Music caught up with Alicia to find out her thoughts on iTunes, piracy and record shops.
“I like music because… it makes you feel!'' Alicia Keys
Naturally, the first topic that comes up when discussing the paid legal music download option is illegal downloads, and whether, with all the free music available, those people downloading free music will use paid for services such as iTunes. The selling point is quality.
I think people will pay and are paying for quality - for what is good and what they really love, says Alicia. I think when an album is cohesive and it comes together, you want to hear that whole album, the whole vibe, you don't want to hear just one song, you want to hear what made that person get to that song and where they are going from there. So for great albums it's going to work.
And that's good, because it puts you under pressure to come up with a great album, and will stop albums being released with only a few good songs on them.
Alicia went on to suggest the irony of the fact that, the raw deal consumers have received from record companies in the past actually created piracy and has meant a lack of sympathy when those same record companies lose out.
Many times the consumer is treated like an unknowing person, like they don't deserve to get quality thing, and it's like,'as long as there's a couple of good songs on there who cares?, comments Alicia, shaking her head. But we're not idiots. We want good music and we want to hear a whole album packed with good music, and we don't want to pay $17 and hear crap, so I think, in a lot of ways, it's that which started the whole piracy thing, because people had been taken advantage of.
Piracy is, indeed, an issue for artists such as Alicia who, on one hand can sympathise with the vengeful consumer, but on the other hand thinks consumers take the paid donwload option to support their favourite artists.
Piracy is a big problem, which has developed into something that can really take away an artists ability to create music. Eventually, if it continues, I feel like it would end up with some of our favourite artists and people we like the most being unable to create music, because it's being virtually stolen, she says.
But Alicia thinks that good quality legal download services will go some way to reducing illegal download figures.
iTunes I think helps to combat the problem by making it so easy to get the music you want, while still supporting your artists as well, smiles Alicia.
Clearly it's a win-win, although record companies have been reluctant to join iTunes and other download services.
I think that's because they fear change, says Alicia. But in actuality it becomes more fair for the consumer and enables everybody to get involved. So it's a good change.
So why did Alicia pick iTunes and not any of the other legal download services?
iTunes has been put together with a lot of thought, and has been put together with the intention to really allow the consumer to get the most from their dollar and expose them to different styles of music. There's a lot of download music sites, but they're not all good, and aren't all reliable, and if there's one that cares about what they're doing and cares about quality, it's this one. And with the different features available, that makes it even more exciting.
What I like about iTunes, for me, is the way I can go back and listen to the tunes that I love. And I like that you can get exclusive things on it that you won't really find anywhere else. An example of which Alicia performed to the suits in the audience at the launch event.
Now, with all this talk of downloading and computers, what about the humble record shop. Will downloading music at home ever fully replace going into a record store and having a good wander round?
Not for me, Alicia declares. I like being able to go to a record store and check things out, look for that one you really can't find, or going to a section you never usually go to and saying, well let me pick out one that looks interesting, there's nothing like going out and experiencing it, so this is not an excuse to stay stuck behind your computer and never come out ever again. Get out and breathe some fresh air, but if you want to do something quick, it's a great option.
It was difficult for me before to figure out which CDs I would bring on the road, they take up so much space it got too heavy, she smiles. Now I'm able to inport the CDs I like into my computer and download legally for family and people.
And as for the diary of Alicia Keys for 2004 - well she's finished her Verizon Ladies First Tour with Beyonce and Missy Elliott and is back in the UK at the end of June in London and Manchester.
I love coming to the UK and the way the concert has evolved is through the roof. I can't wait to be here again. And we can't wait to have such a fantastic talent on our shores again.
By Cheryl Rickman