Hear the songs of Alicia Keys in 'Hell's Kitchen' Off Broadway
The multi-award-winning singer composed the score for the new musical loosely based on her own adolescence and career beginnings in the title NYC neighborhood.
There's nothing she can't do — now she's in New York! Fifteen-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys has built an illustrious music career, selling more than 90 million records to become one of the top-selling artists worldwide. Her soulful R&B sound, which also fuses pop and hip-hop, has inspired dozens of other artists and made Keys a singular voice in American music. And to think it all started in a tiny apartment in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.
That's the loose premise of Hell's Kitchen, a new musical at The Public Theater featuring a score by Keys. The ambitious main character, Ali, is based on the singer, and the coming-of-age show details how she discovers all the possibilities that music can unlock for her, even as she faces hard truths about the road to success.
Keys doesn't appear on stage, but her fans will nonetheless revel in the chance to hear the artist's music live. Read on to learn more about how Keys's music brings her memories and her neighborhood to stirring life.
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Which Alicia Keys songs are in Hell's Kitchen?
We still don't know which Alicia Keys songs will appear in the Hell's Kitchen musical. The show includes her existing hits alongside new songs she wrote specifically for Hell's Kitchen, so even people who know her music inside and out will hear something completely new.
However, there are some landmark Keys hits we'd be surprised not to hear on stage. Learn more about some of the musician's famous songs and our predictions for how they'll factor into Hell's Kitchen. Get tickets to find out if we're correct come October!
"Fallin'", from Keys's 2001 debut album, Songs in A Minor, is the song that put her on the map. It hit the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, won three Grammy Awards, and remains one of her best-known songs. Keys sings about a person she can't stop loving, even at low points in their relationship: "Sometimes I love you, sometimes you make me blue," she croons. "I keep on fallin' in and out of love with you."
In Hell's Kitchen, Ali falls for a fellow young musician — a drummer, to be precise. Perhaps this beloved hit will underscore the ups and downs of the characters' relationship.
"If I Ain't Got You"
This soulful song is about a love more important than anything else in the world. "Some people want diamond rings, some just want everything, but everything means nothing if I ain't got you," go the lyrics to this Grammy-winning hit from Keys's second album.
This Keys tune is so famous, it would be surprising if it didn't show up in Hell's Kitchen. Perhaps it'll be another love song, or maybe Keys will rework it to show the love and support between Ali and her mom.
This 2020 single has many lyrics that evoke city life, such as "She's riding in a taxi back to the kitchen, talking to the driver 'bout his wife and his children." "Underdog" would thus fit right at home in an NYC-based show like Hell's Kitchen.
What's more, the song is also dedicated to anyone chasing a dream and making sacrifices to get what they want in life. "This goes out to the underdogs; keep on keeping at what you love," Keys sings. She acknowledges she was once one of those dreamers: "They said I would never make it, but I was built to break the mold. The only dream that I've been chasing is my own." That sounds like a perfect anthem for the ambitious Ali.
"Empire State of Mind"
If there are three songs that instantly define the city, they're Frank Sinatra's jazzy "New York, New York", Billy Joel's gentle "New York State of Mind", and Alicia Keys and Jay-Z's energetic "Empire State of Mind." It's hard to go a day in the city without hearing the latter duo's 2011 hit in a restaurant, a store, or a cab.
We're certain this song will appear in Hell's Kitchen — after all, the whole show is about the concrete jungle where Ali's dreams are made.
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Photo credit: Alicia Keys. (Photo courtesy of production)
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