Alicia Keys has opened up on her experience of re-recording her classic track ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ with an orchestra for the soundtrack to Netflix’s new show Queen Charlotte.
The New York music icon has given the 2003 hit a classical revamp, backed by a 70 piece orchestra comprised solely of women of colour, for the Bridgerton spin-off.
The series centres on the rise and love life of a young Queen Charlotte, long before she became the prominent monarch in the main Bridgerton show.
Speaking to Rolling Stone UK, Keys explained how she was approached for the project after a show director successfully experimented with the idea of using her song in order to change the mood of a pivotal scene.
“I spoke to India [Amarteifio, who plays young Charlotte] and she was telling me how they’d filmed the King’s ball in one particular episode and they had done 30 takes with a very traditional classic song being played,” Keys recalled.
“The director announced he wanted to change it up with a modern song and he played ‘If I Ain’t Got You’. India said that the song touched her in such a deep way as it reflected what was happening in the story. It meant that the director just ended up using that take, even though they did 30 others, and I think that was the beginning of the seed that got planted.”
After reaching out to Keys, the singer enlisted the help of her own non-profit organisation, She Is The Music, to bring the idea to life.
“I’d never done the song with an orchestra before, so we wanted it to be really meaningful and purposeful and that organisation is really about giving women a platform, mentorship and a seat at the table,” explained Keys.
“Getting a 70-piece orchestra of women of colour to play is a beautiful extension of that and an opportunity to really just uplift all the incredible musicians who are part of the orchestra.”
She added: “I really wanted to bring a beautiful diversity to the perspective of this idea of royalty, which is already happening naturally in the show. But it’s really intentionally introducing a new idea of how we express ourselves and how we are part of those eras as well.”
That idea also extends into an ambitious visual for the song, which sees Keys reunite with Diane Martel – who directed the song’s original video.
“It felt right since she did the original and then for us to reunite in this new way. I just thought ‘man, this is synergy. Let’s just go for it and let’s bring the original team back together'”.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is now streaming on Netflix.