Keys gives ESSENCE an insider's peek at her "Brand New Me" video shoot and shares why the song is so personal to her.
Watch Alicia Keys start her shoot day at 5am and finish 18 hours later. All while on a juice cleanse. We don't know how she does it.
The Grammy winner says her latest single "Brand New Me" may just be her most personal track yet. In a blog post for ESSENCE.com, our January cover girl says the song is about her catterpillar-to-butterfly moment. "It’s about discovering a new version of myself," she says.
"Brand New Me” is a deeply personal song for me. It really expresses how I feel at this time in my life. I think what’s so beautiful about this song is that it’s about discovering a new version of myself and embracing the changes that come with being that person. And I know this is something we can all relate to at one point or another in life. Life is all about change… both good and bad… and learning how to best transition through those times. Sometimes you have to let go of certain people that are holding you back or relationships you’ve outgrown or things you’ve learned don’t help you anymore. And when you do let these individuals and thoughts go, you realize what it means to trust your instincts and take control of yourself.
Personally, this has been a big part of my life lately. And it’s been challenging… really challenging. At times I’ve been so scared and unsure of how things would end up. I’ve been so angry I couldn’t even breathe. Sometimes I was so hurt, I never thought I’d heal. But with every day of pain, I learned more and more and I grew stronger, wiser and better than I was before. Today, I know I am exactly where I am meant to be in life.
This song is about that journey in life and how I discovered that new person in me. It’s about embracing that change and accepting myself as I continue transitioning into the woman I am meant to be. There is NOTHING wrong with being “Brand new.” People sometimes use that phrase as if it is something negative. But really, what is better than feeling brand new? It’s the most beautiful feeling. Just as a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, we too can grow into something new in life. Embrace new perspectives and ideas, and believe in new beginnings. By doing so, we all have a chance to evolve and become the best versions of ourselves.
And when we do, we can say, “Don’t be mad, it’s just a brand new kind of me. And that ain’t bad, I’ve found a brand new kind of free.”
It’s hard to step out on your own and do things that aren’t familiar. And sometimes I stumble, just like anyone else, but that’s part of my path— discovering exactly who I am and who I want to be. I’m not choosing to be who someone else wants me to be or afraid to express my thoughts and be true to myself. It’s not easy…believe me… I know.
Sometimes people are trying to cage you in. They love to control you and manipulate you. But there comes a time when we have to make our own choices and decide what kind of life we want? Do we want to keep holding ourselves back or do we want to break free? Are we going to let someone take advantage of us, or are we going to speak up? Are we happy being unhappy or is it time to make a change? And it’s surprising when we find the courage to do that. It surprises everyone around you and it will even surprise yourself. We have no idea how strong we are until we must test that strength. And when you do, you will see how resilient and capable you are in life. And you will recognize who you are and trust yourself more than anyone else. . So feel that! Live that! Know that! And be proud of being “Brand New.” I know I am."