At the famous Abbey Road Studios in London to present a special selection of songs recorded in spatial audio for Apple Music, Alicia Keys revealed another upcoming project: a reimagining of an iconic hit for Netflix’s upcoming ‘Bridgerton’ prequel.
“I’m doing a brand-new reimagined version of ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ with a 90-piece orchestra with women of color and it is incredible,” Keys told The Associated Press recently.
The song from 2003’s ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys’ will feature in ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’, which premieres May 4, and Keys is shooting the accompanying video in London this week. The new version will also be out on spatial, “if you can imagine 90 pieces swirling around you” Keys said.
Spatial audio allows the listener to experience a theater-like surround sound; Keys took the original raw files from her songs to re-record and remix. She will release eight spatial audio albums April 28 on Apple Music.
“This is my first time at Abbey Road,” Keys exclaimed excitedly, before playing six of the newly recorded tracks to a small group of music industry insiders. Keys talked through the process and shared memories of the songs in between dancing along to the music.
“It’s a real reimagining of all the songs, all the music, all the tones, all the vocals, all the instruments,” Keys told the audience before playing some of her hits, including ‘Girl on Fire’ and ‘No One’.
In an interview with the AP after the event, the 15-time Grammy award-winning singer shared her experience listening back.
“While I was sitting there with y’all in there listening, I’m like, ‘Man, I hear those horns. I hear the piano back here, I hear strings over here.’ I forgot strings are in there. You know, you’re hearing things that you hadn’t heard before,” she said.
While Keys embraces the latest technology, when she thinks back to early memories of consuming music, it’s vinyl that holds the biggest place in her heart.
“I think there’s something very special about the tactile feel, you know, having a physical item,” she said. “There’s still so much love for that.”
And as well as enjoying discovering her mother’s vinyl collection, she also remembers one specific cassette that inspired her.
“I was definitely listening to Marvin Gaye ‘What’s Going On’ on this one white cassette that I’ll never forget. That’s what opened so much of songwriting to me,” she said.
When it comes to young people today, Keys feels they are listening to an even wider variety of music than she did.
“The access is so there that there’s nothing stopping you from making a playlist for all your favorite whatevers, you know what I mean?” she said. “So I think in that way is really cool that you get the autonomy and you get to choose what you like and what you want to hear.”
As part of her world tour, Keys has just announced some May dates for Latin America, a region in which she hasn’t been able to fully make her mark.
“I’ve never performed in Mexico, Believe it or not. I’ve never performed in Colombia. So, you know, we’re able to go to Brazil and Argentina and Chile, and it’s going to be incredible. So very excited about that. And everybody over there is going crazy. Like, I really, really can’t wait to be there,” she said.
“2023 is a special year for me” she adds. “There’s so many there’s so many firsts that are happening for me. I have some more tour announcements that are coming, which I’m extremely excited about. I really want to make this a global year and really touch the places I haven’t been able to touch in a long time.”