Atlanta Music Scene

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Alicia Keys hints at new music at Grammy event


NEW YORK – Count New York natives Alicia Keys and husband Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean among the artists who are elated to see the 60th annual Grammy Awards return to New York after a 15-year absence.

“It’s feeling electric,” Keys said Thursday night at the Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Center. “It’s feeling like classic New York. I’m feeling like we’re regenerating a scene that happened in New York that maybe felt like it disappeared a little, but New York is fully alive and this is a culmination of it.”

The fresh-faced Keys, who was celebrating her 37th birthday, and nattily attired Dean, a Bronx native, were honored Thursday night by the Producers and Engineers Wing of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, which produces the Grammys, for their artistic contributions.

The affectionate pair was asked to share each other’s strengths.

“Hers is everything I can’t do,” the soft-spoken Dean said with a smile before continuing. “Original, timeless compositions. In music, a lot of people can be OK with music that’s right now, but if you listen to Alicia’s songs, they’re timeless compositions. Even if she did it in 2000, the message stands strong.”

As for her husband, who has produced artists including Kanye West, Beyonce and T.I., Keys said, “His is this kind of electric, kinetic energy. When he produces and writes, he’s able to access something happening in the moment, so everything feels very spontaneous and right now. I think that’s why his music has the energy it does.”

Keys, a 15-time Grammy Award winner, will present during Sunday’s broadcast on CBS.

She also hinted that she’s working on some topical new music.

“It’s coming,” she said, “and you’re gonna LOVE it.”

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Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on ajc.com.