Arts & Entertainment, Music

Alicia, the Songwriter

Alicia Keys

Lesson time 09:48 min

Alicia talks about journaling, writing poetry, and drawing from your life to create.

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

Topics include: Songwriting Through Journaling ·Journal Prompt: Write About Your Morning


[GENTLE PIANO MUSIC] - And another teacher I always loved, her name was Miss Sabatino, and she was actually my English teacher. And she gave me this spark and this love for reading and literature and the messages behind the words. And I would be so fascinated in the class with her as she would-- you know, if we were reading something and she would kind of provoke us to think deeper about what did that mean. And it was the first time I started to look at things beyond just the surface, but what was the metaphor? What was the message underneath that-- you know, those words? And I think, on a songwriting side, that's definitely books and reading and literature is definitely a big way in for me of how to create and how to write and how to find inspiration or-- a lot of times, I can-- I'll read a book, like a Willa Cather book from, you know, the late 1800s or something just because the tone and the poetry that's used to write that style of book makes me think differently-- even the cadence or the prose that I start to use. So that's really cool. I really love books as a tool to continue to write in ways that are unique or interesting, or if I need inspiration, a lot of times I'll turn to books. [MUSIC PLAYING] I'm not sure about the first time I got a journal in my hands, but it must have been for my mother. She was a journal writer and a writer too. She has, like, this really beautiful handwriting. The first time I got a journal, it really changed everything for me. I remember, like, the little one with the key, you know, and you didn't want anybody read your journal and that kind of thing. And I think it had multiple colors. Each page was, like, a different color. And, you know, I named it. So that's how young I was. I named my journal. But I remember that when I figured out how to put pen to paper and express myself-- at the time, it wasn't songs. It was just kind of feelings or fears or worries or whatever happened in third grade or, you know, whatever those things are. It gave me an outlet because I've always been quite guarded and protective. I've also been-- you know, I grew up with a very strong-- my mother was very strong, like, very-- just her energy is very strong. And so I always got a little tongue tied around her. I didn't exactly know how to say what I wanted to say. And it was through the process of journaling that I got to get a lot off of my chest. And so I believe that the journaling eventually turned into the songwriting, because even right now, today, this morning, I journaled. And I lose it sometimes. I go away from it. And when I come back to journaling, I realize how clear I become. I become so much more insightful. I really understand what I'm thinking more. I'm able to process it and work through it with myself better. And that's really cool. So journaling was my door to songwriting. And songwriting definitely chose me because I do remember the first song that I wrote was provoked by 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.

Explore the Class
Sign Up