In 2004, I found myself back on tour for “The Diary of Alicia Keys” with Beyoncé and Missy Elliott on the Ladies First Tour. It was such a historic moment—to have a really powerful line up of such diverse female artists. Read more of Alicia Keys’ thoughts after the jump and peep the video.
I’m so glad that we all got the chance to be on the road together because those opportunities only happen once in a lifetime.
Backstage was always kind of crazy with all of the people getting ready, different bands, dancers, stage setups, but it was always bustling with creative energy. We didn’t see each other as much as you might think because we went on stage at different times, rehearsed at different times, and we all had our different ways of getting to venues and cities. I think people always expected for us to have been chillin’ in one big dressing room—but we were all so focused on our music. I remember being so mad when the papers would try to say that we weren’t getting along or that B and I had some kind of cat fight or beef! I always hated how they tried to make it so competitive between us when we definitely only have respect and a lot of love for each other.
There was such a strong sense of different musical styles in 2004 that were emerging. It was inspiring to see artists create different avenues of music and I was so glad to be a part of it. I collaborated with Usher for the first time that year for “My Boo,” which was a big surprise. We have both known each other since we were 14 and just starting out in the business…
We always talked about working together and we finally got the chance. He was putting out a repackaged Confessions album and wanted me to sing on “My Boo,” and I was looking for a duet version of “If I Ain’t Got You,” at the same time—so it was all just perfect timing.
It was actually the first time I did a ‘virtual’ duet. I was in Paris when I did my vocals for “My Boo” and it was so strange for me to not be in the same room as the person I’m singing a duet with. He actually wasn’t with me when he did the vocals for “If I Ain’t Got You.” But I think they both sounded great and I loved how we put our individual styles on each other’s songs.
While I was working on The Diary of Alicia Keys in late 2003, I was doing a lot of juggling because we had put out the single “You Don’t Know My Name” before the record had even been completed! I’d never done that before. (and note to self: I’ll never do it again! Lol!) So I was simultaneously promoting a record that wasn’t finished, and working on getting it finished! But, with a lot of hard work, extremely late hours and borderline exhaustion…..it all worked out and led me to a great 2004 with the record finally being completed, new collaborations, and a great tour that put the ladies first! – Alicia Keys
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