Alicia Keys Gives Back to Kids Affected by HIV and AIDS
Singer/songwriter and new mom Alicia Keys tells WebMD what drives her to travel the world to help children, plus how you can help!
Keys' Creativity and Career
Like so many working mothers, Keys juggles pressing commitments while trying to strike a balance between work and family. In addition to her ongoing activism with KCA, there is, of course, her mega-recording career. (Her breakout album, Songs in A Minor, was just re-released to celebrate its 10th anniversary.) She also acts. She was last seen opposite Queen Latifah and Jennifer Hudson in the 2008 film The Secret Life of Bees. She produces, too, bringing the play Stick Fly to Broadway this winter. Keys writes on her blog: "To produce a play like this is a dream come true… And to have the chance to share it with an audience, night after night, in a beautiful theater, on the streets that I walked everyday as a kid with only 'a pocket full of dreams' can only be described as modern-day magic."
Now add director to the list. In October, the Lifetime Network aired Five, a film about five women's lives, all touched by breast cancer. Keys was tapped to direct one of the five interconnected segments, along with Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Penelope Spheeris, and Patty Jenkins.
"To be a director is something I always wanted to do," she says. "It's a beautiful dance, a beautiful orchestra, and all these parts make the music. That's how I hear it. That's how I see it. I loved it! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life." Plus, she jokes, "to watch the actors go into hair and makeup and not have to go in myself" made her love it even more.
Alicia Keys on Motherhood: 'A Billion Times Better Than I Expected'
Love is a word that falls often from Keys' lips, especially when the name Egypt comes up: "Motherhood is a billion times better than I expected, and I already expected it to be great," she says.
"It's all the things everyone ever said, but you don't know it until you're there. It's a really special time, and I feel so honored that I get to help somebody in this world find his wings, and navigate and learn happiness, and be loved. Actually, he's helping me learn, because I'm smarter now. He's awesome! I'm having a ball!"
So how does she nurture her creative side while also nurturing a new baby and husband? "I feel like I'm more balanced than I've been in my life, actually," she says. "I felt a lot less balanced about five years ago. More than ever, I consider everything I do now, and make sure it's something I can't live without and something I believe in. There has to be a powerful reason to do it, one that makes me feel great."
Keys continues: "There are a lot of things I can't do now. Having my son and a family, that's my barometer, when before I was maybe more inclined to say 'yes' and do more -- and then be super-exhausted and overspent.
"Life is balance. It's all a balance," Keys says. "And if there's something you're thinking about, and it's something you really want in your life, then you will -- you'll do it."