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Album: The Element of FreedomReleased: 2009Charted:
This is the second single from American R&B and soul artist Alicia Keys' fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom.
This song was helmed by Grammy-winning producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Jay-Z). Asked by Artist Direct
how he likes to set up the atmosphere to get the "best take," Bhasker replied that "as a preliminary thing," he likes to "vibe out" and "get to know them." It started with this song when Keys invited him out to dinner so they could get to know each other, before they worked together. "I take a good cue from that and try to spend the first day vibing out," he explained. "It makes it so much easier. You can actually get so much more done after that. They have to trust me first. That's the biggest thing. They have to trust where I'm coming from and what I'm saying. We have to get know each other, and then we can get the best out."
During an appearance on BET's 106 & Park
, Keys announced this song would be the follow-up single to "Doesn't Mean Anything
." She added: "Big up to Jeff Bhasker for that one. It's gonna take you on an ascension and I wanna take you higher."
Keys told The Sun November 13, 2009: "I just love that song. I'm excited about that song as I just love the way it's pushing things forward. It's a great representation of where I am now. I can play it with tons of music behind me or I can play it with just the piano. Either way it touches, you get it. I'm so very excited by that record."
A certain Minneapolis singer-songwriter was an inspiration for this song. ''There was such a Prince element to it, Keys told Entertainment Weekly in 2012, "that quiet Prince place, where you know you could sing at the top of your lungs, but it's more powerful to be in this whispery zone. And that emotion of trying to get over somebody, it hurts so bad. Every time you tell yourself, 'This is it! I'm gonna be over it and over you.' And then you're not.''
One key rule that producer Jeff Bhasker follows is to keep things positive. He told American Songwriter
magazine: "The trick is to put your emotion into it while keeping it upbeat. My first hit was Alicia Keys' 'Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart,' and it's a sad song but the chorus says 'Tonight I'm gonna find a way to make it without you,' so it's little things like that."
"Music and pop songs should have a positive message," he added. "There's a power in music to heal people and give them a good feeling. From the greatest songs like 'Let It Be
' or 'Imagine
' or 'Man In The Mirror
.' it's always about spinning something in a positive way. That's been an important thing for me."