Alicia Keys: 'Raw' New Album Will Surprise Fans

'I feel very different,' the Grammy-winning singer says

alicia keys
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Alicia Keys
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Before Alicia Keys performed the title track from her new album Girl on Fire last night at the MTV Video Music Awards, the excited singer talked about the forthcoming record, her first since 2009.

"It's coming in November and I love it. I really am connected to it," she told Rolling Stone on the red carpet. "I really believe that when people hear it they're gonna relate to it in a way that's gonna surprise them."

Keys has already demonstrated her skill at writing about love and being socially conscious in a way that's universal, winning a Song of the Year Grammy for "Fallin'" along the way. How does she think the response will differ from her previous four albums?

"I feel very different, I feel like even the writing style and the way that I've been able to access how I feel has gone to a different place and I feel it's even more raw," she says. "It's even more kind of diverse in its topics and I love how it feels."

The term "raw" conjures ideas of confessional albums like John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band or Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. Keys wouldn't compare Girl on Fire to another work, but at a time when some artists question the value of making whole albums instead of releasing singles, Keys says she's still a fan of song cycles that stand together as complete works.

"I appreciate the way people put albums together, I appreciate more than ever Fulfillingness' First Finale by Stevie Wonder," she says. "The way he put that album together just feels like truth."