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"Person to Person": Alicia Keys is a girl on fire

She has 14 Grammy wins, has sold more than 30 million albums, and her latest hit, "Girl on Fire," is on everyone's playlist. But Alicia Keys says she's just getting started.

Married to a well-known record producer and mother to a 2-year-old son, Keys says right now, she's making the best music of her life.


ALICIA KEYS: Welcome to my home.

LARA LOGAN: Thanks -- your second home.

ALICIA KEYS: My home away from home. My second home, really. This is my studio. And it's my-- one of my proudest moments, this studio.

LARA LOGAN: So walk with me here. Tell me about this one, 'cause the moment, you know, the-- you-- you see this, you know, instantly it's Grace Jones.

ALICIA KEYS: Well, Grace Jones is, to me, one of the most powerful incredibly individual women that you'll ever meet. And for me, like, I -- I love inspiration that's gonna kind of, like, open my mind and-- and blow it. Actually this piece right here, this is-- this is awesome.

This is by-- the artist Shepard Fairey ... this woman is so incredibly powerful. I mean, it reminds me of Diana Ross or reminds me of Angela Davis, it reminds me of -

LARA LOGAN: Yeah, she kind of looks like all of them, doesn't she?

ALICIA KEYS: You have to see this picture over here.

LARA LOGAN: What is this? (LAUGHS) I'm--

ALICIA KEYS: Stevie Wonder.

LARA LOGAN: Oh my gosh. ... How young of him

ALICIA KEYS: 1972 at the Rainbow Theatre in London. This is the only picture I've ever seen him with no glasses.


ALICIA KEYS: I love it. I love this piece. This is, like, my kind of thing.

LARA LOGAN: You talk a lot about Stevie Wonder.

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah. He's--

LARA LOGAN: You really like what he does, right?

ALICIA KEYS: I think he's the best.

LARA LOGAN: The best?

ALICIA KEYS: I mean, he's like a pure, pure gifted individual and that only happens rarely.

LARA LOGAN: So behind me is another gifted individual, right?

ALICIA KEYS: Yes. This is -- this is a beautiful piece of my good friend, Whitney Houston.

LARA LOGAN: Is it true that you used to stand in front of the mirror and sing "I Want to Dance With Somebody?"

ALICIA KEYS: Definitely. Or that was, you know, that was the -- one of the songs (LAUGHS) that was out around the time I was standing in the mirror. (LAUGHS) "I want to dance with somebody, I want to feel the heat with somebody." (SINGING) Definitely.

And picture me being a little girl, my mother said I did the same thing with ... I think I was, like, 4 years old, or 3 years old. And I was, (SINGING) "Like a virgin," and she was, like, (LAUGHS) "What are you saying?"

LARA LOGAN: And why?

ALICIA KEYS: "What are you talking about?"

ALICIA KEYS: This is my recording studio.

LARA LOGAN: A lot of pianos, right? (LAUGHS)

ALICIA KEYS: I love pianos, obviously.

LARA LOGAN: Because this is where you don't just record, you compose, you write?


LARA LOGAN: You create.


LARA LOGAN: Would you say?

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah, this is totally my creative space for sure. And it's the reason why I'm so, so super proud of it is because, like, ... here's this big beautiful city and ... who would have ever thought that I could have a place of my own, you know, that's really my space and no one can ever take this space from me.

LARA LOGAN: So what is, when you stand here, what is the best thing that's ever happened in this room?

ALICIA KEYS: You know, my entire album "Girl on Fire" was created in this room.

LARA: At the MTV awards you debuted "Girl on Fire"?

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah, it's the first time I'm performing it ... I felt like I was like an animal. Like I had to just, like ... ahh.

LARA LOGAN: It's really an anthem for working mothers isn't it?

ALICIA KEYS: Actually it is. ... you know, "Girl on Fire" is really about, like, being yourself. ... It's about, like, finding what you feel and feel passionate about. It's really just being who you are.

And so with the video, you know, I-- I thought it was so cool that we were able to capture everyday activities. ... you're a woman and women do certain things, you know, and they care for their household and they make sure that children are safe and they put them to bed and they have to clean up and make sure it's not a mess in the place and they have to get dinner together and make sure it's good. That's what we do, you know.

It's also where Alicia Keys believes she is in her life right now. With a new family - her 2-year-old son, Egypt, with her husband, record producer Swizz Beatz -- she embodies the lyrics of her song.

ALICIA KEYS: But, like, to have this type of love in my life at this time in my life, you know, it means so much.

LARA LOGAN: Everything else fades away, right? It doesn't matter as much as that.

ALICIA KEYS: I'm such a different person than seven years ago. I -- nothing would stop me from traipsing from here to London to LA to back to London to LA in three days and not sleep and go. ... But to have time to spend with my family and my son, it's like perspectives change a bit. It's like hold up, let's not kill ourselves here.

LARA LOGAN: Will you have more children?


LARA LOGAN: A lot more?

ALICIA KEYS: Oh, I don't know. (LAUGHS)

LARA LOGAN: That sounded like a lot more.

ALICIA KEYS: Right, Uh-huh. (LAUGHS) Definitely at least -- at least one more. At least one more. But not now and not before I tour and not during the tour. And I have to kind -- finish a couple of things and then I can think about that.

LARA LOGAN: Are you a good mom?

ALICIA KEYS: I think I'm a great mom. And I really love it. ... To me lovingness is the most important thing you can give. That's what you want to feel.

Alicia says the experience of raising Egypt has changed her and her music.

ALICIA KEYS: This song is from my new album and it's called "Brand New Me." And "Brand New Me" - it's like my autobiography.

LARA LOGAN: Is this different, this album?

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah. This album is -

LARA LOGAN: This is a new voice for you?

ALICIA KEYS: Uh-huh (AFFIRMS). This is a very -- it's a new space for me. It's a new mentality for me. ... I feel like I know what I want and I know what I don't want. And I know that it's OK to do that

LARA LOGAN: You don't need approval because you know what matters....

ALICIA KEYS: Yes, and that is the most incredible feeling in the world. ... And being OK with, "I think this." That's it. That's what I think.

LARA LOGAN: Can you show me where when the work is done, you take a break?

ALICIA KEYS: All right, this is the lounge.


ALICIA KEYS: And I love this space. Like, you know-- I love the way that it's all -- the windows and mirrors and the -- the front of that and this view. And you can just come in here and just, like, totally decompress.

LARA LOGAN: So can we just sit down on your couch and take a look at something you did that I thought was really interesting.

ALICIA KEYS: I'm so excited about this.

LARA LOGAN: Because you're -- being the underachiever that you are--

Keys helped develop a computer program for kids.

LARA LOGAN: And this is meant to teach children about music and about writing? That's--

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah -- and I love you can see the notes.

The app features a young girl with her grandmother - it's based on Alicia's relationship with her own grandmother.

LARA LOGAN: Why your grandmother?

ALICIA KEYS: ... she was a really important part of my life. ... I mean, she cared for me since I was a baby. She did everything.

Alicia's father left when she was just a child. She was raised by her mother, Terri, who is white, and by her grandmother. The family struggled, living in what was once a very rough New York neighborhood -- Hell's Kitchen.

LARA LOGAN: I know when your grandmother died that was a tough time in your life.

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah, that was definitely one of those moments that, you know you don't want them to leave you...

The death of her beloved grandmother came at the height of Key's success -- she had already won nine of her 14 Grammy Awards. Her song, "Fallin", made her a superstar.

Keys then had another album to promote and a budding film career, preparing for roles in "The Nanny Diaries" and "The Secret Life of Bees."

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah, it was definitely becoming' very overwhelming. ... I guess I wasn't very happy or I wasn't very -- wasn't feeling very complete. day, my close, close friend, you know, she was like, "What's the matter?" And I just started crying.

I needed to lighten my load a lot. And I needed to, like, reconnect with my own self.

She needed to get away and ended up in Egypt.

ALICIA KEYS: It was just, like, really inspiring for me at that time, I needed that type of--

LARA LOGAN: You needed that.

ALICIA KEYS: --filling.

LARA LOGAN: Well, it must have been, because that's -- you named your son Egypt.

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah. It was transformative, for sure, the trip

Alicia re-prioritized her life, carefully choosing where to spend her time.

LARA LOGAN: You have a charity.

ALICIA KEYS: Keep a Child Alive. And Keep a Child Alive is this beautiful organization that provides medicine for children and families who have AIDS and can't afford it.

How could you have a medicine in the world that could actually save people's lives, but, "You just can't get it 'cause you can't afford it? Too bad, sorry."

Keep a Child Alive has just changed my life and it is great to know we have touched so many people.

LARA LOGAN: I hear you have a fairly spectacular roof.

ALICIA KEYS: I love this roof. This is, like, a super-amazing --

LARA LOGAN: -- feeling of the city.


LARA: Wow!

ALICIA KEYS: Just to come out and feel the spectacular pulse of New York City and have an empire state of mind. I mean, like, right there

LARA LOGAN: So what's amazing is that over here you have an completely open view of where you grew up. That's Hell's Kitchen over there, right--

ALICIA KEYS: Yes, that is Hell's Kitchen right over there.

LARA LOGAN: This ... reminds you where you're from?

ALICIA KEYS: Yeah, definitely. This--

LARA LOGAN: Not that you'd ever forget, right?

ALICIA KEYS: Oh, no. I live in this city. I was born in this city. ... There's no place like this city. And there's no place I'd rather be.

LARA LOGAN: What's the one thing about yourself - like if someone was describing you, what would your mother say, what kind of person is Alicia?

ALICIA KEYS: I'm kind of (LAUGHS) -- what kind of person am I.

I hope that she'd say I'm a person ready to burn down the world (LAUGHS).

LARA LOGAN: A girl on fire?

ALICIA KEYS: A girl on fire. (LAUGHS) That's right.

Alicia's new album comes out Tuesday.

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