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In a world full of uncertainty, sometimes music can help to soothe our worried minds. With her undeniable talent, soulful voice, and warmth, Alicia Keys is one artist who has the ability to make us feel at ease. She recently recorded a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR Music, and it’s exactly what we need to hear during these trying times.
Keys recorded the session in February, just weeks before the global pandemic took hold. “On a brisk February morning, Alicia Keys, full of effervescence, entered NPR through the loading dock wearing a canary yellow faux fur coat,” recalls Abby O'Neill of NPR. “During our ride to the fourth floor, she joked about how she hadn't been invited to play at the Tiny Desk. That, of course, wasn't exactly true. We worked on and off for years to make this moment happen, and I can say wholeheartedly that it was worth the wait.”
Recorded live with her band at NPR's stripped-down set, Keys kicks off the set with an acoustic version of her 2019 single, Show Me Love. She asks the audience to sing back the lyrics, making the performance even more intimate. Keys also performs Gramercy Park, a song from her upcoming self-titled album, ALICIA. It addresses how being selfless and worrying about how to make others happy can mean that you lose yourself in the process. After wrapping up what was to be a three-song set with her latest single Underdog, Keys treats us to a beautiful version of her breakout 2001 single, Fallin'. The special encore sparked comments online, with one fan writing, “Can we all just appreciate the fact that she can pull Fallin' out her back pocket, dust it off like an old record, and make us fall in love all over again.”
“No one could have predicted then how much her lyrics and musical healing would be crucial during this emotionally fraught time of unprecedented political and racial unrest, heightened by three months of quarantine due to a global pandemic,” says NPR. “The world, now more than ever, needs more love, reflection and accountability—a mantra that's woven into every fiber of Alicia Keys's being and every lyric of her songs.”
Watch the entire performance below.