Alicia Keys 'Grateful' To Jay-Z For 'Empire State Of Mind'

'I fell in love from the jump,' Keys says of the track, which she and Jay will perform before game two of the World Series.

Alicia Keys and Jay-Z are set to heat up the World Series on Thursday night (October 29) when they perform the New York ode "Empire State of Mind" at the new Yankees Stadium before game two against the Phillies. It's a song Keys knew she had to be a part of as soon as she got the call from Jay himself.

"There was a first phone call, and Jay hit me up like, 'I feel like I have this record that's going to be the anthem of New York,' " she told MTV News, adding that she was onboard immediately. "He's like, 'The piano, the way the style [is], the whole flow, and it couldn't be the anthem of New York without you.' "

That was more than enough coaxing to get Keys on the track, which the duo also performed at the Video Music Awards back in September. "Obviously, I'm very grateful to him for reaching out to me and for that type of ability to represent my hometown, like, that was crazy," she said. "So we went to the studio. I went to the studio, and ... I fell in love from the jump."

Keys wanted to make sure she got the hook right. "I did try it a couple of times, but it was more about capturing the kind of grand feeling of it," she explained. "With the way I sang it the first time, I was actually kind of sick, and I knew that he needed the record, so I was like, 'Let me get to it.' "

And she finally got it right. "I came back and revisited it so that it could be what it is now," she said. "So it actually took a couple of times, but every time, the energy was just so high."