Fans eagerly awaiting Alicia Keys' performance at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards now have something to help bide their time: the singer revealed the cover art for Girl On Fire, unveiled Thursday (August 23).
The picture for her fifth studio album shows Alicia rocking a sleek haircut and striking a confident pose — she means serious business. In June, Keys gave the public a taste of her new musical direction with the song, "New Day", an up-tempo track that was propelled by heavy drums. It was something that most of us are not used to hearing from Alicia, and that's exactly the way that she wants it.
"Girl On Fire is about finding your voice, about being unleashed and about trusting your instincts and trusting yourself," said Keys. "I can't wait to share it with the world."
Although she's experimenting sonically, Keys promises that her album (out November 27) will still feature her signature smooth, soulful sound. To help her with Girl on Fire, Keys enlisted longtime songwriting partner Krucial Keys, Babyface, Jeff Bhasker, Gary Clarke Jr., and many others, including up-and-coming U.K. artists Emeli Sandé and Jamie xx. A full track listing for the album is due to be released shortly.
This is Keys' first album since 2009's The Element of Freedom, which sold over 4 million copies worldwide. In that time, she married hip-hop superstar producer Swizz Beatz in July 2010 and gave birth to her first child, a son named Egypt, in October of the same year.
Fans can expect to be seeing a lot of Alicia in the upcoming months as she embarks on a heavy promotional push for Girl on Fire. She will debut the first single off the album September 6 at the 2012 VMAs. The song is expected to be released on iTunes and radio two days before on September 4. She's also due to bare her soul on an episode of VH1's "Storytellers," scheduled to air on November 12. And more recently, her #1 hit Empire State of Mind with Jay-Z, sold over 5 million copies as of this week, becoming the bestselling single of their careers.