Arts & Entertainment, Music

Bring All the Elements Together

Alicia Keys

Lesson time 12:53 min

Alicia explains how “Fallin' ” came together and the intricacies of the songwriting process.

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Topics include: Creating Feeling: “Fallin’ ” · Writing “Fallin’ ”


[MUSIC PLAYING] ALICIA KEYS: There's definitely a relationship that I have with classical music and the way that it has influenced the way I play piano, especially the darker classical music that evoke a moodiness and, you know, a darkness almost. The rain-- you know, it just sounds like the rain when I describe it to myself. Of course, classical music can be quite complex and quite fast and rigorous and quick, but there is something about the very slow down tempos of even like a Bach who has these right hands that mirror the left hand, and then the left hand mirrors the right hand. And there's these pieces that just come to mind. And I realized that a lot of times when I play-- [PLAYING PIANO] --it does have a classic pull undertone in it, which I think is awesome because it's a mixture of hip hop and soul and classical that collides that I love so much because I love those three sonics and the way that they each have this truth and honesty and rawness and roughness but in different ways, you know? And so bringing those all together is just natural. I'm not trying to do it, but it's part of what flows. So I think "Fallin'" is a really good example of how that happens even. I mean, when you put it all together and you hear the production, the way that the drums hit, you know, there's a hardness to it, a rawness to it that is really a part of what I'm always attracted to. And then the piano is super simple but does actually have more of a classical cadence even. And then the voice is what brings the soul into it. So those three elements altogether create kind of this feeling. [MUSIC - ALICIA KEYS, "FALLIN'"] (SINGING) I keep on fallin' in-- in love with you. (SPEAKING) The inspiration for "Fallin'" was, like everything, 1,000% real life. (SINGING) Sometimes I feel good. It was my first relationship, and I didn't really understand how intense love could feel. And there was-- you know, there's always so many complexities with it. And I was just feeling like it was always going back and forth and up and down. And sometimes I was super happy, and then sometimes I was just, like, so frustrated. And there were all these components, and I just-- it was overwhelming how real that was. And then even, I think, a little bit as a metaphor as just life in general at that time. It was very up and down. Like, everything was so uncertain, and moments would be so good, and then other moments would feel so scary and full of doubt and all of these things. So "Fallin'" was definitely a bona fide real-life experience, and that's why I think we can all feel it so deeply. (SINGING) How do you give me so much pleasure and cause me so much pain? "Fallin'" actually started in a car. It was my first car, which was a Mazda 626. And I was driving around the city, and I remember these words, these emotions, the push, the pull, the good, the bad, the whatever, however you want to describe this polarity feeling really bubbling ...

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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