Managing motherhood and a heavy workload is no mean feat.
Here at 7DAYS it’s a complaint we regularly hear from women who want to continue their career and still be there to tuck their little ones into bed every night. So how does award-winning singer, actress, mother and charity champion Alicia Keys manage it?
“Scheduling!” she explains. “A lot of scheduling, a lot of timing, making sure things fit. If you schedule things properly you can definitely figure it out especially when you love it and you’re passionate about it. If you believe in it, it’s do-able.”
The multiple Grammy winning singer, whose first and only child, Egypt Daoud Dean, turns three next month, will be stopping off in Dubai in November on her way to Australia and New Zealand at the end of the year. Born in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan, New York, Alicia Augello Cook took an early interest in music.
She explains: “It was actually not something that evolved, it was something that I loved from the beginning when I was really young. I would just be fascinated with pianos and I wanted to play and I started checking things out here and there so that’s kind of how it started. There was definitely a passion even though I didn’t quite know where to start.”
So did her mum or instructor realise they had a star of the future on their hands?
“I don’t know, I guess you’d have to ask them!” a modest Alicia replies. “I think there were little moments when I’d do these little plays at kindergarten. There was this first time when I realised I loved to sing and I enjoyed it and it made me feel a certain way. So maybe they noticed too or maybe they thought I was a little kid singing a little song!”
It seems the musical genes have passed on as well as Egypt - Alicia’s son with husband, New York hip-hop artist and producer Swizz Beatz - plays the piano and has been known to take to the stage at several of Alicia’s performances. The ‘Fallin’ singer says Egypt is a big fan of what she and daddy do. She explains: “He’s very, very musical, he’s definitely into it, he loves it.
“He recognises my music, he says he’s my biggest fan and I love that so much. He’ll ask me to sing a different song he knows of mine at certain times.”
And it’s not only Egypt who appreciates what the ‘Girl on Fire’ singer has achieved. Bob Dylan famously mentioned the soulful star in his song ‘Thunder on the Mountain’ back in 2006.
Having previously said it was an “honour” to get a name check by the ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ singer, Alicia admits she still hasn’t managed to meet the man she describes as a “legend” but is keen to. Also on her list of things to do is some sightseeing while she’s in the UAE. Alicia says she likes to learn about the places she visits and “immerse herself” - something she did on a trip to Egypt in 2006.
Having reportedly nearly suffered a mental breakdown after her grandmother died, Alicia previously said she needed to ‘escape’ when she went to Egypt. Speaking about that time in her life and the reason she decided to name her first son Egypt, Alicia told 7DAYS: “I took a really powerful trip to Egypt at a certain time in my life that really just changed my mentality and invigorated and refreshed me. It was like a pilgrimage in a way that I was able to go and find the power to continue my life on. I found a lot of inspiration to continue this job and realise I could create the life that I wanted to have. That was really an important trip for me so, when I was trying to think of a name, knowing how much that trip meant to me and how much it changed my life too I knew it would be a good name.”
Alicia Keys plays Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on November 15. See doneevents.com for details.