Alicia Keys says she hopes to follow in the footsteps of legendary entertainers like Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand, who were lauded for both their acting and music.
For now, though, Keys’ game plan is to tackle one at a time, so she didn’t do any music for her first film, “Smokin’ Aces,” with Ben Affleck. But how about making some music for her second feature, “The Nanny Diaries,” which stars Scarlett Johansson?
“Probably not,” Keys said Tuesday on the movie’s Brooklyn set. “You never know, but even with the other movie, it wasn’t about doing the music for the movie. I think later on I’ll try getting into acting as well as doing the entire soundtrack. But right now I want to focus directly on the acting.”
Still, music isn’t entirely on hold. She’s already mapping out her next LP.
“I’m in the studio now,” she said. “I’m actually taking a different approach for this album. I’m taking the approach of writing everything first, kind of old-school style. Before cats stepped in the studio, the song was written, the music was done — that kind of thing. The idea of it was already developed. I want to do that.
“I want to write a lot, sit at the piano a lot and get all these things out that I’m going through and experienced. I just got back from Africa. I’ve been seeing things in my life that changed my whole perspective on everything.”
Specifically, Keys said, she witnessed firsthand what extreme poverty is like.
“The way government takes advantage of people, there’s so much disconnect, segregation — the way it’s set up to just destroy the human spirit,” she said. “So many things I’ve witnessed and felt and seen, I’d never seen before.”
The Grammy winner already has an idea of who she wants to work with. Here’s a hint: It will be out of the norm.
“Me and John Mayer are gonna write some stuff together,” she said. “I love his writing style. He’s funny, very witty. I think we’ll do some writing together. Linda Perry, our styles combining would be very interesting — a soulful rock-blues thing. John Legend would be an interesting collaboration. We were on tour together but we never sat down and vibed and wrote. I want to do some interesting collaborations, things that are different, and see where it leads.”