Alicia Keys Talks ‘If I Ain't Got You’ Being Inspired By Aaliyah

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06: Alicia Keys attends the 2019 Harper's Bazaar ICONS on September 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Alicia Keys Talks ‘If I Ain't Got You’ Being Inspired By Aaliyah

“[I] felt really kindred to her, and I was so devastated that she died.”

Published September 18th

Written by BET Staff

Amid the release of her seventh studio album, Alicia Keys discussed the stories behind some of her most popular tracks released throughout her award-winning career.

  1. The world knew that Keys had something special the moment she released her acclaimed debut single, “Fallin,” and from there she went on to release another acclaimed body of work and went on to create some of the biggest records of the past decade. With 15 Grammys across six albums and a now a seventh release, “Alicia,” out this week, the songstress discussed the inspiration behind some of her biggest records in a new interview with the Guardian.

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  2. One of her most beloved records to date is her ballad, “If I Ain’t Got You.” Speaking to the publication, Keys shared that the song was partly inspired by the death of R&B’s princess, Aaliyah. In 2001, Aaliyah died in a plane crash while leaving the Bahamas after filming the music video for “Rock The Boat.”

    “[I] felt really kindred to her, and I was so devastated that she died – it felt so unfair and abrupt,” Keys told the Guardian. She said the song just “poured out of [her]” when she heard about Aaliyah’s death in the news.

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    Even more surprising, Keys revealed that she almost didn’t release the song. She almost gave it to fellow singer Christina Aguilera to record.

    “It took me 300 different ways to get to what it sounds like today,” she recalled. “It just wasn’t alive. This song was so good, but we couldn’t land it.” Fortunately, her record label intervened and Keys kept the record. It wouldn’t be until three years later when the track was released on Keys’ second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys. That record went on to win a Grammy for Best R&B Album. 

(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

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