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When some beauty brands try to sell empowerment, it’s an eye roll. Raise your hand if you really need a $78 serum to tell you to do you, girl. It’s not that I find the messaging around self-expression and self-care to be silly or vapid—quite the opposite, in fact. Rather, so many brands have tried to jump on the “trend” without any substance behind it, that it’s become exhausting.
Alicia Keys’s new beauty brand, Keys Soulcare, isn’t one of those. In a world where the celebrity-beauty-line fatigue is real, the intention behind hers feels like something plucked from the strings of her heart—as with everything she does, be it music, film, or activism. Her energy reverberates through it.
“Beauty to me is mental, spiritual, soulful, and emotional,” she shared on a Zoom with Glamour ahead of the brand’s launch this week. “Physical is the last part of it.”
If you’ve read the internet at all for the past few years, you know that sentiment tracks. Keys’s decision to forgo wearing makeup on the red carpet in 2016 is in large part what set the movement to embrace individuality into motion. Now, with her brand—which is part online community, part self-care shopping haven—Keys wants to share the lessons it took her years of being in front of a crowd to learn. And yes, of course, some self-care products she really stands by, like her sage and oat milk candle that has a warm, cozy scent and her obsidian face-massage tool.
On the Way to the Back of the House, Alicia Passed Through a Gorgeous Brick Entryway
She Then Led the Way to the Kitchen to Talk About Her Love For Music
If You Tilt Your Head, You’ll Notice a Technicolor Ceiling Blended With Paintings of the Night Sky
She and Her Son Egypt Love to Play Pool Together, and He Keeps Getting Better
Alicia’s Hallway Features Elegant Arches and Crown Molding
In a Separate Room, Alicia Keeps a 25-Foot-Long Kehinde Wiley Painting on the Wall
Kicking off her 73 Questions, Keys began the video with a few rapid-fire questions about music in her kitchen (while making tea, her drink of choice). Her first owned album? Bell Biv DeVoe’s Poison. Her mom’s most-played artist? Bobby Caldwell. She also shared that she recorded her first song at 11. “It was about my grandfather passing away,” she said. “It was actually the beginning of why I started writing. It was called ‘I’m Alone.’” Keys also spoke about how living in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen when she was younger has continuously shaped her sound. “It was the place where all of the people who didn’t belong anywhere else would go,” she says, “which is why [it] was so fitting. It gave me that love of hip-hop, soul, and the blues.”
As she continued her tour, Keys touched on hosting the Grammys earlier this year. “It was definitely crazy,” she said. “We lost Kobe [Bryant] that day and it was just hours before the show. It changed everything. It made everything that we planned for go out the window. We had to go with the genuine feeling of how we were all feeling, which was just devastated.” Then, the star welcomed a cameo from one of her sons, Egypt, who appears to be following in both of his parents’s musical footsteps. “He plays piano and practices really hard,” she says. “And he produces—he produced for Kendrick [Lamar].” She also spoke of the challenges of raising sons in the year 2020. “The world can be dangerous for young Black men,” she says. “To continuously teach them and show them to stand in their kingliness is really important. They’re already well on their way, though.”
Alicia Keys has been making music professionally since 2001, when she dropped her debut album, Songs in A Minor, and has been writing songs since she was 11. So, when it came time for the singer to answer Vogue’s 73 Questions, there was a lot of ground to cover over the course of her impressive career. Filmed in February at the star’s home in New Jersey, where she lives with her husband, Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean—“It’s a big ball of love vibes and loudness,” she says of the space—Keys welcomed us in for an exclusive tour while discussing motherhood, new music, and more. There, Keys and Beatz enjoy busy schedules as full-time artists and parents: the couple has two sons together, and Beatz has two sons and a daughter from previous relationships.
This episode of 73 Questions was filmed in February before social-distancing and stay-at-home recommendations were advised in the U.S.
After a brief game of pool and air hockey with Egypt, Keys then headed over her home’s art gallery space, which houses impressive pieces by Kehinde Wiley—she owns the largest piece ever produced by him—and a large sculpture by Kaws. “We actually had to remove the whole side of the house to get him in here,” she said of the Kaws piece. Keys then hinted at the new project her fans have to look forward to: her upcoming studio album, Alicia. “You’re gonna hear heat rocks,” she teased. “Timeless music that’s going to be with you forever in your heart.” Keys concluded the video in the best possible way: With an impromptu piano performance.