By Nomsa Mbelekane
She has been dubbed by BET as one of the only performers who can keep an arena of 20 000 people full with just her voice and a piano. She wowed the world a decade ago with her sultry voice and hasn’t stopped since.
If you are longing for the days of the younger Alicia Keys, sorry but they no longer exist. The twelve-time Grammy Award winning diva has come a long way in the R&B music Industry and her new album The Element of Freedom proves that she’s one of the very few talented artists who are here to stay.
The first thought that came to mind when I listened to her fourth studio album The Element of Freedom was how she has matured as an artist, her sound is fresh, elegant and showcases a lyrically mature and confident Alicia, who describes her album as a ‘dichotomy of strength and vulnerability with music really strong, drums aggressive’, yet her voice vulnerable and delicate.
The album was produced by Kerry Krucial Brothers, Jeff Bhasker and Ms. Keys herself , it consists of 14 songs featuring Hits such as ‘Try sleeping with a broken heart’ , Doesn’t mean anything’ and ‘Unthinkable’, The Element of Freedom is truly her greatest release to date.
Keys has managed to maintain and portray the affection and susceptibility that her music is known for, she digs deep into her emotions making this a high quality album. Her trademark has always been elegance and her strong, tender yet emotional voice as well as her willingness to experiment with different sounds will keep you wanting more.
‘Put it in love song’ featuring the Fierce Beyonce Knowles is a very bubbly and playful love song, a contrast to Keys’ usual style and sound. She has her own slow version of ‘Empire state of Mind’, whereby in the original she features Jay-Z. The collaborations with the Power couple, Jay-Z and Beyonce act as evidence that diva is adapting into modern pop/ Rap.
I’ve never been a Fan of Ms. Keys from when she released her second album The Diary of Alicia Keys until her third one As I Am but The Element of Freedom has me singing a different and unexpected tune.
The older Alicia Keys becomes the better she develops as a singer/artist and the more change and maturity take place.