Alicia Keys’ journey to music stardom hasn’t always been easy. The Fallin’ singer has recounted having a breakdown at the height of her career in 2006, but how she changed her life priorities afterwards.
In her 2020 book More Myself, she described breaking down into tears in her dressing room in 2006 because of “the constant pleasing and pretending”.
Famed for once playing on two pianos at the same time at the 61st Grammy Awards, the singer described hiding her sorrow from the public eye as her “grandest performance yet”.
She wrote: “Amid the constant moving…the constant pleasing and pretending, I’d delivered my grandest performance yet: convincing the world that, behind my smile, all was as perfect as it appeared.”
She also spoke to People magazine about her bout with depression. She said: “I was feeling so sad all the time, and I couldn’t shake it.
“I started burying my feelings, and it got to a point where I couldn’t even tell my family or my friends, ‘I’m twisted,’ or ‘I’m exhausted,’ or ‘I’m so angry’…I became a master of putting up the wall so that I was unreadable.”
But now, Alicia is able to enjoy the “simple things” in life such as spending time with her family.
And she slowed down her work pace – she went from releasing her first three albums in a little over six years to releasing her next three in nine years.
She told Marie Claire: “I’m reaching a place where I’m much more confidently clear about the power I possess.
“I’ve always been strong and determined. I haven’t not known my power, but now I’m clearly aware of all of it, as opposed to just pieces of it.”
What are the symptoms of depression?
While everyone has spells of feeling down, feeling persistently sad and down for weeks or months at a time could be a sign of depression.
NHS Inform explains: “Depression has a range of different symptoms, and it can affect everybody differently. The symptoms include feeling very tearful, feeling hopelessness and sadness, and losing interest in things you enjoyed before. It’s also common for people with depression to have symptoms of anxiety.
“Physical symptoms happen with depression too – these can include feeling tired all the time, getting poor sleep, losing your sex drive, losing your appetite, and feeling aches and pains.
“If the symptoms are mild, you might simply experience a persistent low mood. It’s common to feel stressed, sad or anxious during difficult times in your life, and a low mood can get better after a short time, rather than being a symptom of depression.
“Severe symptoms of depression can make people feel suicidal – as if life is no longer worth living.”
The NHS advises seeing a GP if:
- you’ve had a low mood for more than two weeks
- you’re struggling to cope with a low mood
- things you’re trying yourself are not helping
- you would prefer to get a referral from a GP