3 Hour Drive
by Alicia Keys (featuring Sampha)

Album: Alicia (2020)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Having started writing sessions for her Alicia album, Alicia Keys flew to London to work with English producer Jimmy Napes (Sam Smith's "Too Good At Goodbyes," Clean Bandit's "Rather Be").

    English singer-songwriter Sampha was also there at the studio. Keys hadn't planned to work with the bluesy crooner but she's a fan of his work, so they exchanged some ideas. "What made that so unique was that we wrote that song when we had just met," she told The Sun. "He'd just lost his mother, and I just had my son Genesis. It's powerful that we were so willing to be so vulnerable with each other. We were comfortable in that space, which was brand new for him and me."
  • Speaking on the Netflix show Song Exploder, Alicia Keys, Sampha, and Jimmy Napes revealed how the three started playing with vocal tones, forming them into lyrical phrases, including the key chorus line, "You give me life." They realized the possibilities of the two singers delivering the same words with different deliveries representing their two different perspectives; for Keys that of new motherhood; for Sampha the death of his cancer-stricken mother. "It was a mirror," commented Keys about the song.
  • The song became a meditation on the circular nature of life; the joy of a mother bringing a baby into this world and the grief that child has when his mom passes on. Keys explained to The Sun it's "a metaphor of what a mother and son relationship is. And I could never know what Genesis will feel like when I pass."
  • Sampha also wrote his song "(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano" about his mother's death.

Comments: 1

  • Bj from IndyFell in love listen to this cut ed
see more comments

Editor's Picks

80s Video Director Jay Dubin

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Chris Tomlin

Chris TomlinSongwriter Interviews

The king of Christian worship music explains talks about writing songs for troubled times.

Corey Hart

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?Song Writing

Katy Perry mentions McDonald's, Beyoncé calls out Red Lobster, and Supertramp shouts out Taco Bell - we found the 10 restaurants most often mentioned in songs.

When Rock Belonged To Michelob

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.

Lori McKenna

Lori McKennaSongwriter Interviews

Lori's songs have been recorded by Faith Hill and Sara Evans. She's performed on the CMAs and on Oprah. She also has five kids.