(NEW YORK) — Alicia Keys, who is gearing up for the release of her brand-new album Girl On Fire, said she “definitely” wants to have more children, just not right now.
“I would love to have some more, definitely one more for sure,” she told Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden. “At least one more, but I have to finish this album, I have to finish this tour, I have to finish this stuff first because — the juggle, is something.”
These days, Keys, 31, and her husband, 34-year-old Kaseem Dean, otherwise known as hip-hop producer Swiss Beatz, have their hands full. In October 2010, they welcomed a baby boy named Egypt Daoud Dean. Now 2 years old, Egypt can be heard on his mother’s new album, crooning on the track, “When It’s All Over.”
“Which is so beautiful, because the chorus goes ‘When they lay me down and put my soul to rest, when they ask me how I spent my life, at least I got to love you.’ And that I feel about my husband, that I feel about son,” she said.
When talking about her son, Keys can’t stop herself from smiling, “What happens is you just kind of turn into a syrup.”
She readily admits he’s a handful.
“I think that he is a really independent, strong-minded, really vivacious, incredible personality, and that’s just kind of his character,” Keys said.
Keys said she and Dean, who has children from previous relationships, love their blended family and she enjoys being a part of all of the kids’ lives.
“There are oftentimes children from past relationships and you are able to, I think, become stronger for it, you’re able to become more loving for it,” she said. “So three brothers and a sister and the way that they love each other it’s crazy, it’s really special.”
These days, the award-winning singer-songwriter is a living model of her new album’s hit title track, “Girl On Fire.”
“The song, you know, it came from a feeling,” the singer said. “This feeling of, kind of finding my own space and my own place to be myself, my own full self. Love it or hate it, whatever the case, here I am and here’s me.”
Keys said she has come into her own with this recent studio album, her fifth.
“I’m more excited about this album than I’ve ever been for any record ever,” she said.
And that’s saying something. Keys’ first single, “Fallin,” debuted at number one in 2002. The New York native recorded that song in her tiny, six-floor walk-up apartment in Harlem when she was just 17.
Nightline‘s Cynthia McFadden first spoke with the singer in 2003, when her talent and drive was already very clear. Looking back, Keys said, even then, it was “all about the work.”
“I grew up with my mother, who was my everything, and a single parent, and she had to work her behind off, you know, to survive in a city,” Keys said. “And that’s what I’ve seen my entire life, is a specific work ethic that has been, you know, necessary. And so she also instilled that in me as well because being a young girl and growing up in the city you have to be busy, you know, or you’re going to get lost.”
Growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, which back in the 1980s was a rough neighborhood, Keys graduated as valedictorian of her class at age 16 from New York’s prestigious School of Performing Arts and was accepted to Columbia University. But then Columbia Records called. After a month at college, Keys quit.
“I had to focus on the music if I was going to make it work,” she said. “And alternatively, I was going to have to focus on school if I was going to make it work. I had to focus on something, but I couldn’t juggle two.”
So she moved to Harlem and started recording — and it paid off. Her debut album, Songs in A Mirror, earned her five Grammys, including one for Best New Artist. Her follow-up album, Diary of Alicia Keys, which included the single, “If I Ain’t Got You,” won her four more.
“I think a lot of my life I did live ahead of myself,” Keys said. “That’s not a bad thing, you know, to have visions and dreams for yourself…that was all I had, was the chance to show and prove that I was good at it. I was going to do that to every degree possible.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN
Chandrika Narayan, CNN
Lisa Respers France, CNN