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Keys: We were in the studio working on it, and he came in and he was kind of seeing us sing and writing it, and so he wanted to see the mic, so I passed it to him and he started talking on it. But this is when he was like a year and three months, so what first was on there was kind of just the first words he was saying, but as time progressed and we were about to wrap the album, I was like, `I really gotta get Egypt on … because he’s 2 now, he has a lot to say, he has a personality.’ And so I brought him back into the studio … and you’ll notice, I’ll ask him what’s his name and he says `Showtime’ (laughs). So for those that know my husband, you’ll understand what that means.

AP: Has being a mother changed the way you create music?

Keys: It was definitely strange. What really happened is I was a lot more precise about what I wanted to accomplish. … Whereas before, it was kind of like endless hours in the studio, just doing everything. I’d be eating there. I’d be talking on the phone. I’d be doing music there. I’d be like hanging out, chillin’, watch a move there, like doing everything. It was less about that and more about `Here’s what I’m coming to do, the vision I had for today and then I’m going home.’ So it was a lot more specific and actually that focus was really good for me.

AP: You cut your hair. How does it feel?

Keys: I love this hair. I love it chopped off. I love all the things I can do with it. In fact, I can do more things with my short hair than I could do with my long hair to be honest. It’s just such a freeing, powerful feeling to have short hair and to let go of all the things in my past, you know, `cause I feel like you start fresh. You start fresh and fly, and that’s how I feel.

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Online:

http://aliciakeys.com/

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Follow Mesfin Fekadu on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MusicMesfin