She seemed to come to us from nowhere in 2001, fully-formed and ready to have us fallin’ for her fiery voice and vulnerable confessionals. Tens of millions of albums sold and multiple Grammys later, she’s suddenly everywhere again, haunting our heads on Jay-Z’s zeitgeisty anthem, “Empire State of Mind.” She’s one-part Aretha and one-part Joni—which is to say that she’s timeless.
GLADYS KNIGHT: Give me some of your pet peeves.
ALICIA KEYS: Give me one of yours, and then I’ll give you one of mine.
KNIGHT: Okay, so there are some announcements that the make before you go onstage: no recording of this show, no pictures taken, none of that stuff. Then as as soon as you step onstage and you get flash-flash-flash. This is show business. This is show business. These people we hook up with go to great lengths to make sure that they’ve got control of our likenesses, and you’re going to take my picture with a cell phone?
KEYS: [LAUGHS] The cell phone thing is out of control. Here’s my pet peeve: The not-so-unstated rule that women are only to be treated as sexual objects and gawked at-you know, sitting up against a car, washing something, bending over, licking something. That just drives me crazy.
KNIGHT: It’s up to us to take back that control.
KEYS: Yeah. Make people wonder a bit more.