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Alicia Keys almost gave away "If I Ain't Got You" to Christina Aguilera


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Alicia Keys says she nearly gave away one of her biggest songs ever to Christina Aguilera. 

Keys tells StereoGum she had just written "If I Ain't Got You" and Xtina's label wanted her to contribute something to Stripped. Keys says she nearly offered it before being persuaded to keep it for herself. She wrote "Impossible" instead (which she's featured on).

 

 

STEREOGUM: This is one of my favorite songs that you’ve ever collaborated on.

KEYS: Ooh look at you. You really know stuff! [Laughs]

STEREOGUM: I know during that time she was going through just a musical rebirth and wanted to get some of the more soulful voices in the game at that time.

KEYS: There’s a really funny, amazing story around this song. I think we were on the same label at the time. She reached out and was like, “Would you write something for me?” And then it came through so many emails. What a voice! 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.”


STEREOGUM: Oh wow!

KEYS: I told my A&R at the time, “Let’s play her ‘If I Ain’t Got You.’”

STEREOGUM: What? My mind is blown right now.

KEYS: He said, “Are you ******* crazy? We’re not giving her that song. Are you out your mind?” [Laughs] 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.” So I went off and wrote “Impossible.” I went to cut it with her and I love how she sounded on it. It was such a cool vibe for us to be able to work together during those times. But I will never forget that I would have given away “If I Ain’t Got You.”

STEREOGUM: That would have changed the course of both of your careers. That is crazy.

KEYS: Isn’t that crazy? So that’s a good story.

STEREOGUM: I’m learning so much. The intro is so cute, when Christina goes: “Play something for me, Alicia!”

KEYS: I cut the vocals with her because I produced everything. So it’s really important to be in the same space to just get all the energy. That was great. She sounded so good and she’s very special too.

 

Thoughts, Exhale?! Can you imagine Xtina singing "If I Ain't Got You" instead of Alicia?keys.jpg.64e4a5097b1903a294fc641e344629bd.jpg

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18 hours ago, Jordan Miller said:

Alicia Keys says she nearly gave away one of her biggest songs ever to Christina Aguilera. 

Keys tells StereoGum she had just written "If I Ain't Got You" and Xtina's label wanted her to contribute something to Stripped. Keys says she nearly offered it before being persuaded to keep it for herself. She wrote "Impossible" instead (which she's featured on).

 

 

STEREOGUM: This is one of my favorite songs that you’ve ever collaborated on.

KEYS: Ooh look at you. You really know stuff! [Laughs]

STEREOGUM: I know during that time she was going through just a musical rebirth and wanted to get some of the more soulful voices in the game at that time.

KEYS: There’s a really funny, amazing story around this song. I think we were on the same label at the time. She reached out and was like, “Would you write something for me?” And then it came through so many emails. What a voice! 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.”


STEREOGUM: Oh wow!

KEYS: I told my A&R at the time, “Let’s play her ‘If I Ain’t Got You.’”

STEREOGUM: What? My mind is blown right now.

KEYS: He said, “Are you ******* crazy? We’re not giving her that song. Are you out your mind?” [Laughs] 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.” So I went off and wrote “Impossible.” I went to cut it with her and I love how she sounded on it. It was such a cool vibe for us to be able to work together during those times. But I will never forget that I would have given away “If I Ain’t Got You.”

STEREOGUM: That would have changed the course of both of your careers. That is crazy.

KEYS: Isn’t that crazy? So that’s a good story.

STEREOGUM: I’m learning so much. The intro is so cute, when Christina goes: “Play something for me, Alicia!”

KEYS: I cut the vocals with her because I produced everything. So it’s really important to be in the same space to just get all the energy. That was great. She sounded so good and she’s very special too.

 

Thoughts, Exhale?! Can you imagine Xtina singing "If I Ain't Got You" instead of Alicia?keys.jpg.64e4a5097b1903a294fc641e344629bd.jpg

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