September 23, 2005

Keys nearly had Bruce, Keef for ‘Unplugged’

By Jonathan Cohen

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Alicia Keys' upcoming "Unplugged"
CD/DVD has no shortage of special guests, including Common, Mos
Def, Damian Marley and Maroon 5's Adam Levine. But the project
nearly got a major lift from rock legends Bruce Springsteen and
Keith Richards, who had to back out at the last minute.

"I was going to cry," Keys told with a laugh.
"Bruce and I were going to do 'New York City Serenade' but the
schedule just conflicted. And with Keith, the day the show
taped was the day the Stones started rehearsal for their tour.
But it was really lovely to reach out to people I admire and
for them to be so down to do it."

"Unplugged" premieres Friday night on MTV, and the CD/DVD
will reach stores October 11 via J Records. On the show, Keys
uses the opportunity to premiere a new song, "Unbreakable,"
which was originally intended to appear on her 2003 studio
album, "The Diary of Alicia Keys." It is the top debut at No.
61 in Billboard's current Hot 100 singles chart.

"We set the crowd up and the vibe was just perfect, and
then I walked over to my piano and I asked them if they wanted
to hear something new, and they just went crazy," Keys said.
"It was so great to perform that song there for the first

Although she may "do a couple of spontaneous, small,
'Unplugged'-style things" in the near future, she said she has
no plans to tour for a while. Instead, Keys will move directly
into working on her first feature film, "Smoking Aces," which
begins shooting November 3 and will wrap December 20.

She is also still planning to star in a biopic about
biracial child piano prodigy Philippa Schuyler, which she said
is "still in development. That one we should have the script
for by the holidays and we'll take it from there."

By early next year, Keys says she'll be ready to get
serious on her third studio album.

"I have this new direction I'm feeling I will go in for the
next album. I've been playing around, experimenting and vibing
on different styles. I have about four or five songs I've been
working with but I'm constantly writing all the time."