Arts & Entertainment, Music

Alchemy in the Control Room

Alicia Keys

Lesson time 10:57 min

Learn how Alicia explores her creativity through sonics and instruments in the control room.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Alicia’s Go-To Instruments


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Boom. We are here in the control room, and this is where so much magic happens. We're going to talk about production. We're going to talk about the alchemy of music. Really, the process of how we put together different sounds to support the creation of a song. And this is one of my favorite things to do, my favorite place to do it, because there's just it's an unlimited crayon box of colors and paints and things that you can put toward your vision and your manifestation. So I love that it becomes real here. And a lot of times, when I'm writing a song, it happens many ways. Sometimes, I'll write the song first, and then come here and start to put the music and the sonics together. Sometimes, I just want to play around with instruments and sounds and sonics, and then be inspired to write the lyrics. So again, whatever works for you, you definitely should explore many different ways of creating. But there's no right way. There's just your way, which is the most important way, what feels good to you. And then I take all those pieces. And when I'm about to do vocals, I put a rough idea together first, put the vocals down, come back. And then explore where the instrument should go, where the sonics should be. So we're going to talk through all that and get into the alchemy of music. [MUSIC PLAYING] Some of my go-to instruments-- obviously, you know, I love me a piano. So I have 100,000 billion-- OK, not that many, but whatever. I have a lot of different keyboards. I really love exploring keyboards. They're incredible to me. This is a Moog Voyager. And to me, this is one of my staples sounds. I love this sound. [DEEP SYNTH SOUND] If you notice, this is the beginning of "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart." [DEEP SYNTH SOUND] So, you know, it has such a dynamic expression. And it has harshness to it-- a roughness, a rawness, toughness, which I love. I love mixing all the energies and all the elements. And I think that that kind of grit and that rumble is how I love my basses to sound. So anytime I need a bass, this is definitely my go to instrument for live basses from the keyboard. Obviously, of course, we do live bass, as well, actual bass. But keyboard bass, I love the Moog. And just crazy sounds. It also has really awesome crazy sounds that you can just explore and get creative with. So this is definitely a staple for me. When I want a bass sound, when I want an interesting thing that rumble and that power to it, I'm definitely going to be using the Moog. It's my favorite. This baby is always next to me. I'm like, it's my baby! I brought up the JUPITER, because the JUPITER is such a staple keyboard for the song, "No One," that we've been talking about. And the crazy part is I actually programmed that sound, that "No One" sound-- [WARBLING SYNTH] --on a keyboard using a virtual synth that anybody could get any day of any moment. And went out and bought the JUPITER when I performed on the ...

About the Instructor

With 15 Grammy Awards and more than 40 million albums sold so far, Alicia Keys is one of the world’s most beloved singer-songwriters. Now the legendary artist invites you into her studio to share her process for creating music built from authentic emotion. Breaking down anthems like “Fallin’,” Alicia shows you how she writes lyrics, crafts melodies, and explores sonics so you can discover the music you were born to make.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Alicia Keys

The legendary singer-songwriter and producer shares her approach to making music that resonates and helps you find the power of your unique voice.

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