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Alicia Keys: Motherhood ‘Changed Everything’

Alicia Keys
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

Alicia Keys isn’t just a hot mama — she’s a proud one, too. The ‘Girl on Fire’ singer insists that raising her son, Egypt, altered her entire outlook on life.

Keys takes a bit more of a girl power approach to her music and her life nowadays, and the world can thank Egypt, 2, for that. “That’s what having a baby does to you,” Keys chuckled to The Sun. “And I saw the song as a great album title because it was a statement. It’s so empowering! As you can see, ‘on fire’ is exactly how I feel.”

“Being a mom has changed everything,” she added. “Egypt is everything to me. I just think of his little face and I get this warmth inside of me,” she gushed. “I think you just get to a different stage in your life when you become a mother. You get a new confidence and desire,” she revealed. “I’ve grown up and I’m completely at ease with myself now.

Of course, that didn’t happen overnight. Keys confessed that before she got hitched and had Egypt, she was going through a lot of internal struggles that the world didn’t see. “I did a lot of soul-searching before I got married and had my family,” she admitted. “I was stressed and I was all over the place then. I might not have seemed that way because I was good at hiding it but I was all over the place,” she said. “Now I’m glad to be in a place where I feel more clarity.”

Keys’ hectic schedule has sometimes gotten the best of her, but a trip to Egypt in 2006 put her in a better mental, emotional and psychological place. Keys had just lost her grandmother and said she was on the verge of a breakdown when she traveled to Egypt solo for three weeks. “Without that journey I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I am so desperate to return there soon,” she enthused. “That trip inspired everything afterwards and, who knows, led me to my husband and son. I named my son after that trip as it was such a life-changing experience.” If nothing else, it led her to her son’s name!

Keys said that the clarity from her trip helped her open to up to the man who would become her husband, Swizz Beatz. “It wasn’t until I met him that I saw how important that time with friends and family really is,” Keys said of her work-life balance. “I’ve always put work first and it’s when you’re at your happiest you actually create your best work. And he has been the person to show me that.”

The time Keys spent with her family led to the inspiration behind ‘Girl on Fire,’ but also was part of why the record took so long to complete. “I started writing this record three months after Egypt was born,” Keys explained. “I was trying to figure out where to go and how to express what I was feeling. I started slowly, of course — there’s no other option with a young baby to care for, but I enjoyed my pace and it felt right,” she said. “I wanted to write good songs and started to figure out how to do that rather than worrying about production like I usually do. My focus was simply on writing a great song.”

That great song was ‘New Day,’ one of Keys’ favorites ever to perform. “I love how triumphant that song is,” she said proudly. “It sets off a tone of where I am now. How I feel and how it is … and I really believe that new day started the day Egypt came into this world.”

Next: Vote Alicia Keys for Best Pianist in Pop Music!

Watch the Alicia Keys ‘Girl on Fire’ Video

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