Self-acceptance is something Alicia Keys has battled with her whole life, up until now. Last month, the 15-time Grammy winner penned an empowering essay about her new choice to not wear makeup. In the heartfelt letter she described the constant scrutiny she faced when she was catapulted into the forefront of the music industry at the beginning of her career. In an effort to avoid the same negativity while creating her newest album she started to list all the things she was sick of, including beauty standards. With the help of meditation and a photographer by the name of Paola Kudacki, who had the idea to shoot Keys without makeup for the cover of her recent single, “In Common,” she was able to recognize her new purpose. On deciding to go a completely new route with her image while promoting her latest music, she explained:

“I felt powerful because my initial intentions realized themselves. My desire to listen to myself, to tear down the walls I built over all those years, to be full of purpose, and to be myself! The universe was listening to those things I’d promised myself, or maybe I was just finally listening to the universe, but however it goes, that’s how this whole #nomakeup thing began. Once the photo I took with Paola came out as the artwork for my new song ‘In Common,’ it was that truth that resonated with others who posted #nomakeup selfies in response to this real and raw me.”

“In Common” will be featured on the songwriter’s upcoming untitled sixth studio album. It is a departure from her R&B sound, combining tropical music and dancehall sounds with Afrobeat instrumentals and a collage of electronic beats. See the video for the song below:

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