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Alicia Keys almost gave away her hit song
Alicia Keys almost gave away her hit song avatar

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In a new interview, RnB singer Alicia Keys has revealed how her iconic ballad If I Ain’t Got You nearly went to Christina Aguilera.

Speaking to Stereogum, the 39-year-old said that in the early 2000s Aguilera asked her to write a song for her, with Keys eventually offering the yet-to-be recorded song, If I Ain’t Got You.

“I know I could write something fire for her. So time passed and I hadn’t written the song yet. And [the label] was like, ’Do you have anything for Christina?’ I remember I had just recently written If I Ain’t Got You,” said Keys.

“I told my A & R (artist and repertoire) at the time, “Let’s play her If I Ain’t Got You.

Luckily he refused.

media_cameraNearly two decades later, the song is still a regular on karaoke lists. Picture: J/Kampo

“He said, ‘Are you f***ing crazy? We’re not giving her that song. Are you out of your mind?’ I was like, ‘Why not? I’ll write a hundred more of those, it’s fine. I think she should hear it. I don’t really think it’s a big deal.’ But I thought, ’Fine, I’ll go write another song.’”

“I will never forget that I would have given away If I Ain’t Got You.”

Released in 2003 as the second song of her second studio album The Diary of Alicia Keys the song achieved critical and billboard acclaim. The ballad won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Female R & B Vocal Performance and received a nomination for Song of the Year which went to John Mayer’s Daughters.

However, Keys and Aguilera did collaborate on the 2002 song Impossible which was written, produced and featured both artists.

“It was such a cool vibe for us to be able to work together during those times,” said the No One singer.

Aguilera’ 2002 album Stripped – which featured her collaboration with Keys – also contained some of biggest hits like ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Dirrty’. Picture: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.
media_cameraAguilera’ 2002 album Stripped – which featured her collaboration with Keys – also contained some of biggest hits like ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Dirrty’. Picture: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

Speaking about the song to Complex in 2011, Keys said her hit love song was actually inspired by the death of fellow singer Aaliyah, who died in 2011 from a plane crash.

“The song idea came together right after Aaliyah passed away. It was such a sad time and no one wanted to believe it. It just made everything crystal clear to me – what matters, and what doesn’t,” she said.

Originally published as Alicia Keys almost gave away her hit song

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