Alicia Keys has disclosed that she almost gave her song “If I Ain’t Got You” to Christina Aguilera before it became one of her signature records.
In a new interview, the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter discussed her time working with Aguilera on the pop star’s 2002 album “Stripped.”
“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,” Keys told Stereogum.
“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,'” she continued.
Alicia Keys suggested to her A&R the idea of sending the song over to Aguilera, but he discouraged it.
“Are you fucking crazy? We’re not giving her that song. Are you out of your mind?” he replied.
At the time, Keys assumed she would simply write “a hundred more” songs just like it, and that Aguilera should hear it.
“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,’” she recalled.
Alicia Keys listened to the advice of her A&R and, instead of sending her soon-to-be signature hit from her second studio album, “The Diary of Alicia Keys” (2003), she wrote “Impossible” for Christina Aguilera.
“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,” Keys said of the “Genie In A Bottle” hitmaker.
“But I will never forget that I would have given away ‘If I Ain’t Got You.’ Isn’t that crazy? So that’s a good story,” she added.
Alicia Keys’ revelation about the song comes amid a press tour for her seventh studio album, “Alicia.” Released on Friday (Sept. 18), the album features songs such as “Show Me Love” and “Time Machine” and has received generally positive reviews so far.
“Alicia” is now available on all streaming services.