Metro catches up with artist Alicia Keys in New York’s East Village to discuss her latest album, freedom and Madonna…

Q. There is a lot more ’80s-inspired sounds reminiscent of Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson … on this album, The Element of Freedom.

A. It’s really funny; some people say, “It sounds like Michael Jackson! It sounds like Fleetwood Mac! It sounds like Madonna!” I’m like, Madonna?! Really? That’s cool! I never sit down and contemplate what it’s going to sound like. I went into this album knowing I wanted to try new styles.

Q. You said you felt lonely during the last album and that you have found balance with this one. What happened last time?

A. lot of things were different back then. What I’ve learned is that I love my job. I love the effect that it has on people and when people come to me I’ve gotten them through certain times in their life, there’s no greater reward. There’s also a balance between working and life, I learned that it’s possible to do both. You don’t have to choose career over life or life over career.

Q. The lyrics to your songs are very personal. Did you tap into your own life and feelings?

All the songs have emotions and feelings that I’ve been through, that I’m going through or that I was going through. It’s open to interpretation because when I listen to the songs I know what I was thinking or what I was feeling. Sometimes when other people are listening to them they get a whole other story from it. It’s kind of fun, like “wow, what did they take from it?”

Q. You did a duet on Jay-Z’s album. Is there anyone else you’d like to work with?

A. So many people… Prince is top of my list. I’d like to do something with Gwen Stefani, M.I.A. and Lady Gaga.

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