Alicia Keys commemorates the ten-year anniversary of her burst of musical revolution with a spread in the upcoming issue of W magazine.

Inside, she talks about what it was like being a girl from New York’s Hell’s Kitchen with big dreams and vowing to stay true to herself and her sound while trying to make it in the music industry.

“I just wanted to be who I was, which was like so many other girls I knew. We grew up in the city, had a hard edge and obstacles to overcome, but we were still young and beautiful. I didn’t want to be all dressed up, all made up—I wanted to be myself, which hadn’t been done before.”

“I was a young girl with very strong ideas but no experience. I just knew that everything else I was doing was wrong—that all the suggestions weren’t what was in my mind, they weren’t what it was meant to be.”

“How terrible would it have been if I had come out with some watered-down version of who I am? People fell in love with the real me, and I still feel blessed that that was how the journey began.”

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