Entertainment Theater

Alicia Keys Steps Right into a New Highlight

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“I actually do,” she mentioned. She defined that with earlier initiatives, “I didn’t begin out proper, however sort of ended up proper.” However this time, she mentioned, “I didn’t need to exit and get too diluted and get too many companions. We now have all the correct companions, all the correct minds. It’s the correct combination of expertise and in addition newness that I believe is essential to proceed to create a brand new world.”

One night time in mid-July, I took the subway to Barclays Middle to observe Keys do what she is greatest identified for: carry out. For 90 minutes she entertained a rapturous crowd of 11,894 — strikingly extra various, and youthful, than most theater audiences. Her glowing Yamaha piano was within the heart of the sector, on a rotating stage, with runways extending out so she might work the gang.

Simply earlier than the live performance, as she usually does, she presided over what she calls a Soulcare Session, selling her skincare line (“I name them choices, not merchandise — merchandise is simply too transactional”), speaking up empowerment (“The theme at the moment is reminding ourselves to personal our personal energy”), and posing for photos with superfans who had paid a steep premium for up-close entry (“You’ll be able to speak to me about something you need,” she mentioned). Her employees sprayed the patrons with a “reviving aura mist” and invited them to pick out keys (get it?) with phrases of affirmation; attendees sat on embroidered pillows, black beanbags and purple cushions and requested Keys about her wardrobe, her writing course of, her childhood. Some spoke about how her songs had helped them endure illness or emotional hardship.

Keys has lengthy had an entrepreneurial streak — she began a babysitters membership when she was 11 — and it’s ever-expanding. “I’m actually occupied with enterprise at this level,” she informed me after I requested about what’s subsequent.

She’s all-in on “Hell’s Kitchen,” in fact. She intends to additional construct up Key SoulCare. And he or she’ll make extra music.

“I really feel like I’m in a spot the place I can categorical myself clearly,” she mentioned. “I’m clear about what I need, what I don’t need. Who I need to do it with, who I don’t need to. I’m unafraid to be very vocal and verbal about that, and I really feel like I’m in a spot the place I can do something, something. And I haven’t even begun but.”