FROM FABULOUS MAGAZINE: Alicia Keys has a voice so big her mother used to say it could “bust through bricks”. But right now the New York diva is whispering.
She’s talking about how loved up she is with her producer fiancé, Swizz Beatz, 31. And suddenly she’s gone from streetwise, 12-Grammy-Award-winning performer into a coy, giggling girl.
“Oh yes. I am very much in love. Right now love is my main inspiration. Love is the one thing we all want in our lives and I am completely surrounded by it. Love fills you up in a way nothing else can and it’s the most amazing, amazing thing.”
It’s the first time she’s publicly spoken about her feelings for Swizz – real name Kasseem Dean. Until now, Alicia has been tight-lipped about her boyfriend, refusing even to confirm they were an item until last month. Her relationship with Swizz has been far from easy, which goes some way towards explaining her secrecy.
By the summer of 2008, the music industry was buzzing with rumors she was dating Swizz, who has worked with stars such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Whitney Houston.
There was one problem. Swizz was still married to R&B singer Mashonda Tifrere, the mother of his son Kasseem Dean Jr, 3. Swizz and Mashonda, 29, went their separate ways soon after the rumors began, with a devastated Mashonda posting an open letter online to Alicia saying:
“If you are reading this Alicia, let me start by saying you know what you did. You know the role you played. As a woman, I expected so much more from you.”
Both Alicia and Swizz have strongly denied that they were together while he was married. In fact, despite regularly being seen at the same events and holidaying together in Hawaii in January, they only admitted they were a couple in May, when they were photographed hand-in-hand following Alicia’s sell-out gig at London’s O2 arena. Their public outing came just weeks after Swizz’s divorce was formalised. Two days later, headlines announced they were planning to marry and expecting a baby. Not exactly music to Mashonda’s ears.
But Alicia won’t be drawn into discussing her fiancé’s ex. She shakes her head:
“Oprah Winfrey is the wisest woman I know. She’s like my big, clever, older sister. A while ago she gave me one piece of advice which was to never get drawn into talking about that sort of thing. All I know is that right now my life is really, really good.”