Usually, books are packaged with personal endorsements—the most famous and impactful ones the author can get. But More Myself: A Journey, Alicia Keys’ new memoir, has only one endorsement on the back cover: her own.
“I’m done with dimming my light,” she writes. “Writing this book has been about meeting myself, with all my wounds and vulnerabilities, exactly as I am—and then, at last, having the courage to reveal my full face. it has been about realizing that, in order for the truth to set me free, I must first be brave enough to birth it.”
The 15-time Grammy Award-winning musician, singer, and songwriter, whose career seamlessly encompasses equally passionate work as an actress, producer, entrepreneur, and activist, was also already a New York Times best-selling author (for her previous book, Tears for Water: Songbook of Poems and Lyrics).
Known (most recently) for her natural-girl look and a consistently soulful vibe that’s equal parts hippie and ‘hood, Keys strips away the years and any old fears of vulnerability and disapproval to reveal her true self and what it took to become, own, and amplify all that she is—with or without makeup, or a microphone.
Raised by her single, white mother, Terri Augello, to proudly own her inner light and darker skin as a black girl, by calling out her own contradictions and unfinished-ness, Keys enables us to accept and even celebrate our own. “I am frightened and I am fearless,” she concludes. “I am weak and a warrior. I am uncertain and I am confident. And by learning to embrace the paradox in all of it, I am more myself.”
Reading More Myself: A Journey is a great way to chase away the quarantine-and-curfew blues with some calm and engaging contemplation from an artist whose reflections on her own journey from the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the higher ground of her own heart, will stir and uplift you.
Here is a small sample of life lessons, in the key of Alicia:
Success is a hungry tiger, always growling for its next meal.
In life, we don’t get what we ask for, we get what we believe.
I don’t have to fit in. None of us does. Our uniqueness isn’t a scar, but a beauty mark.
An aha moment is not a happy ending – it’s an open doorway, one you have to choose to walk through.
There is power in sisterhood. Our voices are strongest as part of a chorus.
With every word and every intention I am creating the masterpiece that is my life.
Bliss is a beautiful destination, but you can often only reach its shores after a turning point.