Family Secrets host Dani Shapiro is a bestselling author who knows just how hard it can be to write a very personal book. So she’s excited to speak with the extremely talented musician and performer Alicia Keys, who just published her memoir More Myself: A Journey. They have a profound conversation about Alicia’s journey finding herself and living her life more authentically after becoming hugely famous at such a young age, the lessons she can share with us, and the lessons she’s still learning: Sometimes, she’ll think she has it all figured out, only to realize she’s making the same mistakes or falling back into unhealthy patterns. “Things come back….demanding to know if I actually learned the lesson, or if I can just recite it well.”
In part one, Dani asks her how she managed to stay grounded when she became famous so young. Alicia credits her mother and grandmother the most with that, but also acknowledges that she “was just a girl from Hell’s Kitchen in Harlem,” so her fame “made me really self-conscious.” She only recently began to realize that she had made decisions, friendships, and career moves based more on what other people thought than what she actually wanted. So she “wrote a list of s**t that I was sick of….it’s the first time that I’ve ever written a list like that,” and she thinks everyone should do it too, because we all “spend so much of our lives being so damn accommodating.” That list became the songs on her favorite album she’s ever made, Here.
In part two, she talks about reaching out to Oprah Winfrey for advice when she was at a career crossroads. Oprah told her, “Nobody knows you more than you – they just can’t,” Alicia remembers. “Because you know what a resounding ‘yes’ feels like.” When she’s not that interested in something, or it doesn’t feel right for some reason, there’s all this deliberation around a decision. But when something is right, that “resounding yes” is strong and apparent. She just needed to listen and trust herself to move forward in a way that was right for her. Dani and Alicia also talk about her spiritual yoga retreat, the wisdom of her elders, why she decided to write this book, and the Black Lives Matter movement: “I feel we’re on the precipice of great change. I know I’m an optimist, but I always want to be an optimist, because we have to be.” Listen to the two-part episode for more from the incredible Alicia Keys on Family Secrets.
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