Arts & Entertainment, Music

Build Energy in the Booth

Alicia Keys

Lesson time 14:10 min

Alicia opens up about how she has developed physical, mental, and emotional practices to take care of herself and her art.

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

Topics include: Experimenting With Vocals · Recording Vocals: “No One”


[MUSIC PLAYING] There are days when I am very critical of myself, or when, I don't know, it's just like energetically things aren't exactly flowing. Or I've noticed that it's like-- I'm swimming upstream, or that it's really difficult to get the right tone. Or my voice is not feeling as good as I would like it to. And on those days, I really-- I really tried to pay attention to that. And I've learned how to just back off. I will say you know what? This is not the day to do this particular thing. Maybe I need to do-- you know, try to write something else. Because maybe I'm feeling something, or maybe I need to work on the music of it, or something. But I have also learned that there are days when it might just not be right. The magic is just not quite there. And it's OK to just kind of say I'm good today. Let me come back. My secret is that you always leave when it feels good. You stop before it starts to feel like it's not going that well, or whatever. Because that energy retains itself. And when I've gotten to a place where I've pushed myself too far, and then the energy starts to shift, when I come back to that song another time, I have a feeling already in my DNA about it. And it can ruin that ability to be so free. So one thing I definitely think is imperative is I warm up very, very, much before I start to sing. And it really makes a difference. There's mostly scales, you know, and mostly different tones in your voice. A lot of things that kind of sound like birds. [WARM UP NOISES] It's pretty funny. And I'm in the car, or I'm in the house doing my warm up they're like ah! But so what? It's good for me. So it's a lot of different things like that, and just opening the palette, and the soft palate, and allowing it to you know, really just become warmer and warmer. And it really makes a difference. It makes a huge difference on the tone of my voice, on the control of my voice. Obviously, the protecting your voice, and allowing it to be safe. That's another really good trick and technique that is a little bit of a lost art. You know? Like really protecting, and growing, and strengthening your voice is really important and powerful, so that it could last forever, and ever, and ever. [MUSIC PLAYING] Another cool thing that we do a lot of is I usually use similar-- I use a similar group of microphones. Like an M16 is this one, an SM7 for a little more vintage sound. I even use like a regular stage make, a 58, at times if we want to. And then there's other microphones that of course, we try out and use. But what I like about what we do, myself and my engineer, Anne, is we test out different compressors and check how does that mic fit with that compressor. And for that feeling of that song, which is really cool. So even exploring that, and experimenting with that, plug-ins or virtual compressors and things like that, and sonics and sounds, is really cool. Because you get a chance to see what would ...

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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