3 Hour Drive
by Alicia Keys (featuring Sampha)


  • 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.

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