Michael Jackson Inspires Alicia Keys to Do Her Best

You never forget your first concert, especially when that first show happens to be Michael Jackson. Alicia Keys recalls attending one of the King of Pop’s legendary tours in the ’80s and the lasting impression it left on her as an artist.

“The first concert I ever attended was Michael Jackson,” Keys tells Rap-Up.com, “and I think it was like the reunion tour or something because he had all his brothers with him, and it was like a big, huge deal.”

The Grammy-winning songbird was barely old enough to realize that she was witnessing history in the making. “There were all these ambulances everywhere and I was like, ‘Mommy, who’s sick?'” she asked. “I didn’t understand the fact that in just a few hours grown men would be fainting at this concert. It was just incredible to see that level of performance so young. That was a great first concert to go to.”

The pop icon inspired Keys’ latest “Freedom” tour, which ends its North American run this weekend in Oakland, Calif. “I think Michael Jackson has influenced every performer on the face of the earth. What he really inspired me to do and influenced me to do is my best, and I feel like what he represented is quality and craftsmanship with his performance,” she says. “He was one of the best performers of all time and it was because he put in work, he put in time, he was creative, and he wanted to be the best. When I go up [on stage] and when I arrange my shows, that’s exactly the mind state that I have.”