Alicia Keys reminisces dark days of early career...

During a weekend chat with Clive Davis at his virtual pre-Grammy party, Alicia Keys reminisces about the dark days of when she signed to Columbia Records at 16. 

She had moved into her own apartment in Harlem, where she crammed a recording studio into her bedroom, countlessly working on music, which she later presented to the label. They didn't like the album and tried to pitch her a more radio friendly sound. Despite rejecting her music, they didn’t want to release her either resulting in legal ramifications.

Luckily, she was bought out of her record deal by Clive Davis and he signed her to J Records instead. “They had no desire to let me out of that contract, even without wanting my music. It was a conundrum,” she-recalls. “I cried for hundreds of hours.” 

They probably wanted to turn her into the black Britney Spears. Not a new school version of Aretha Franklin. Though these stories are not uncommon. She almost got put in with 3LW! I remember some old interviews where Pink and Christina Aguilera once revealed how they were forced to record music that didn't reflect their artistic integrity. It was only when they achieved commercial success were they allowed to have more creative control over their music.


Benny said...

I believe Columbia Records was a confused record label back then. The same label that wanted the cookie cutter music & image but they didn't think that Independent Women was going to be a success. I get that they had artists like Mariah Carey & Will Smith who had massive commercial success but so did Lauryn Hill, who's music was different from theirs.

Toya said...

Interesting, in deed.