Alicia Keys has impeccable timing.
When news of the coronavirus began flooding timelines, she and R&B star Khalid were on set filming “So Done,” the newly released video for their song on Keys’s upcoming album ALICIA.
“It had to be the day before everything really became real. It was right on that precipice… And Khalid and I were both looking at each other, like ‘Are we good?’” Keys remembers, with a laugh. “Then every hour, more would unfold. As we were shooting, we literally realized this would be the last thing that would be happening. We just both were like, ‘This is it.’”
Thankfully by the time director Andy Hines said cut, the visuals for “So Done” were perfectly in sync with the track’s slow burn vibe. “This song, it does something to you and it just transports you. Khalid looked at me and was like, ‘Man, this song is just putting in a trance, I’m entranced by it,’” says the multiple Grammy winner.
The timeless video features actress Sasha Lane (American Honey) as a slightly awkward teen who walks into prom with hopes of finally fitting in. But even as her classmates live their best lives, loneliness starts consuming her until chaos erupts in the dancehall. The disruption of youthful exuberance is what drew Keys into visuals.
“The germ of the idea was Andy and I had worked on another song concept, and he had this kind of crazy visual. It looked like this beautiful place, but it was super chaotic. I remember really loving how that felt… this kind of beauty, this chaos, that ruins the beauty,” says Keys. “We started to talk about this feeling of isolation, and this feeling of when you don’t belong and how, even when you feel like you’re the outcast, how amazing is it when you would reclaim that power. We you choose to be that, and how everybody wants to follow that.”
Keys adds: “It’s a total disruption of the standards. And the representing of that, which I just love how that feels,” she says.
There’s another element of “So Done” that marries well with how Keys is feeling these days. The lyrics “I’m so done/guarding my tongue/holding me back/ I’m living the way I want,” beg the question, what she’s done with these days.
“I continue to remind myself just to embrace my ‘me’ fully and completely,” says Keys, who released her memoir More Myself: A Journey last March. “That everything I need, everything I’m looking for, everything I’m waiting for, everything I’m wishing for is all in me. And so I’m definitely so done with thinking that that’s not true, or that you need other things to do things better than you can, or other people to do things better than you can, or other circumstances that might seem better than the one you’re in, whatever the case is.”
The artist and producer continues: “We all experience a level of self-doubt. We all experienced a level of changing, or bending, or twisting, and so to just be fully confident, 100 in you, and what you bring, and your you-ness, it’s special, it’s unique, it’s needed, it’s necessary. There’s where I’m at.”
Hear Keys’s new single “So Done” featuring Khalid here.