Singer Alicia Keys Came Close to Getting an Abortion, But Then She Heard a Song

Alicia Keys at Pavilhão Atlântico, Lisbon, Portugal.

By Nancy Flory Published on April 8, 2021

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys revealed last year that she considered an abortion when pregnant with her second baby, a boy. She chose life after listening to a song she co-wrote with her husband, a producer and rapper known as Swizz Beatz

Keys shared an excerpt of her newest book with People magazine. In her autobiography, More Myself: A Journey, Keys revealed that she’d struggled with the decision to have her baby, as she was finalizing her sixth album, Here. She didn’t think she could have a child at that point in her career. “I wasn’t ready for this, which is what I told the doctor,” Keys wrote. She told her doctor, “‘This is the worst time ever. I’m working on my next album. My husband just got into Harvard Business School. And I’ve been drinking — a lot.’ I left her office feeling so torn.”

Keys felt that her musical career was a priority. “The music I was creating felt more important and urgent than just about everything. I’d have to put off its release for at least a year if I chose to have the baby.” 

‘More Than We Know’

Then one evening, when Keys was particularly struggling over the decision, she went into the studio. She listened to “More Than We Know,” a song she and Swizz co-wrote. “The lyrics are about how we’re capable of so much more than we can ever imagine. My eyes filled with tears. How could I take away the potential for this beautiful child, this light that could touch others in ways I couldn’t dream of. For me, the song was a powerful message that I should go on with the pregnancy.” Genesis Ali Dean was born to Keys and Beatz December, 2014. Genesis has an older brother, Egypt, born in 2010.

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While writing her autobiography, Keys discovered that her own mother struggled with having an abortion when she was pregnant with Keys in 1980. “It wasn’t until writing this that I realized, ‘Oh, ****, she chose me,’ even through all the difficulties.” Her mother, Teresa Augello, raised Keys by herself. She’d become pregnant after a brief relationship with Keys’ father. “How would she ever know what I was brought here to do? In a way we are parallel, but I didn’t even know that.”

‘I Am So Grateful’

Keys told CBS News that she is thankful her mother made the choice to have her. “She was making a really big choice. And at the time, I’m sure she didn’t even know why she was making that choice exactly. But she knew it. She knew what she needed to do.”

She added, “I am so grateful to her for choosing me. And I really appreciate her.”


Nancy Flory is an associate editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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