For a woman with a catalogue of famous songs credited to her, Keys cites just one as the soundtrack for her life: Nina Simone’s “I’m Feeling Good.” The lyrics are optimistic: “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good.”
And with her marriage to music producer, rapper, and entrepreneur Swizz Beatz, 33, still in the honeymoon stage, and son, Egypt, celebrating his first birthday this past October, the song has more meaning than ever to Keys. Here are some ways Keys “feels good.”
HIV is the virus that can become AIDS.
AIDS is defined as the most advanced stage of the virus, where the immune system has become so damaged that you're vulnerable to infection and cancers that come from infections. Those are called opportunistic illnesses, because they take advantage of your weakened immune system. They are often fatal.
Gratitude goes a long way.
“No matter what’s happening in the world, every day is a brand new breath, a brand new chance, a brand new path to feeling good,” the singer says. “I take every opportunity to live, and I’m so grateful for every day -- even more grateful now that I’m a mother and wife, such a strong foundation, and with such a beautiful family. I see how phenomenal life can be."
“The most incredible thing is to change a child’s life,” says Keys, who is co-founder of Keep a Child Alive (keepachildalive.org), an organization that delivers medications and health care support and long-term assistance to HIV-infected populations in Africa and India.
“We have to ask, what kind of life can these kids have without their parents?” she says, referring to the 16.6 million children orphaned by AIDS worldwide. “It’s incredible what the medicine will do, and how it will turn lives around: With both children and parents who were literally at death’s door, once they had access to medicine and food they found dignity and self-respect, which comes from the opportunity to be given the chance to live and to be able to provide for yourself and your family."
Love yourself first. “If you can’t love yourself, how can you take care of others?” asks Keys. “Watching what you put into your body and eliminating anything that could possibly hurt you in any way is extremely important."
During her pregnancy, Keys says she “made more of an effort because you know it’s not just you in there, that whatever you’re eating the baby is eating, too. I did yoga, I love to run, and with Egypt I continue to be healthy in what I eat, what I feed him, and how I exercise. It makes me feel better!
“It’s really is so important to care for yourself first, then you can give your love to everyone else.”