When Alicia Keys debuted in 2001 with her smash hit Fallin', she was held up as a kind of wonder kid. Hailing from a deprived area of New York, the Diva was pushed as a classically trained pianist who was as capable on the keys as she was with her own voice. And if that wasn't enough, she was a writer and a composer to boot! Truly the whole package, it was little surprise that she quickly came to Clive Davis' attention.
However as time passed, the Diva's reputation as a vocalist began to be, let's say,"revised". Singles like No One and Girl On Fire did her no favours, with harsh and headachy held notes finding their way onto the studio versions. The live showings didn't fare much better, with the Diva then pushing notes and suffering from pitch problems trying to recreate that sound.
There's little doubt that her voice has changed as it has matured, though. It has lowered, and lost elasticity with age. But with its intrinsic character still there, could these criticisms be attributable to something else?
Was it actually her involvement and role in the break-up of Swizz Beatz's marriage that caused people's opinions to sour? After all, songs like Karma and Superwoman had sold Alicia as a strong, principled woman. So it's perhaps understandable that anyone who bought into that narrative could now be salty with her messy relationship. But is that reason enough to come for her skills as a singer- oppose to coming for her character?
What do you think? Would you consider Alicia Keys a bad singer? Or has age and a reluctance to adapt to changes in the voice led to some poor performances tarnishing an otherwise good singers reputation? Her NBA All-Star Game Halftime medley (embedded above) leaves me all kinds of confused - help!
Vote and let me know your thoughts in the comments!