Alicia Keys kicked off Labor Day weekend by bringing her soulful sounds to New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza on Friday morning.
As part of the “Today” show’s “Citi Concert Series,” the R&B powerhouse delivered a series of hits, including her latest single, “In Common.” However, instead of just performing the new joint, she offered a twist.
“I want to do it in a way that’s a completely different way than you’ve ever heard it,” she said, before walking to a piano to provide a mellow, stripped-down iteration of the infectious cut.
From there, Keys took things back for a medley of “Girl on Fire” and “No One.” Going from the piano to simply rocking the mic, the songstress was her usual soulful and charismatic self.
As if that wasn’t enough, Keys also performed a rendition of “You Don’t Know My Name” for the outdoor crowd. Backed by Young Guru, the “Back to Life” singer asked the crowd to join her in celebrating life. “It’s the last days of summer,” she said. “We’re feeling so sad, but what we can do is we can dance it off.”
Beyond performing, Keys also joined the “Today” hosts for an interview. During the talk, she described her new album as an ode to her upbringing and hometown.
“This album is so much about life, New York City, us as people, all the stories I saw growing up,” she said. “It sounds like the New York that I know. It’s aggressive, it’s raw, it’s me being my most truthful…It is such powerful music. You are going to go crazy.”
During the interview, she also addressed her decision to leave make-up alone for the time being, calling it “empowering” and “freeing.” This motivated “Today” hosts to join Keys by taking their make-up off, as well.
Despite that, Alicia said she doesn’t actually hate make-up. “I love makeup,” she explained. “I love my lipgloss, I love my blush, I love my eyeliner. It’s not about that. At the same time, I don’t want to feel beholden [to it].”
Alicia Keys’ sixth album is due this fall.