Alicia Keys debuts new anthem during pandemic
(CNN) — If you find yourself in tears watching the visual for Alicia Keys‘ new song, know that the singer had the same reaction the first time she saw it.
The 15-time Grammy winner debuted “Good Job” during CNN’s global town hall Thursday to address the latest questions and concerns in the fight against Covid-19.
The tune was originally written months ago to honor the unsung heroes in Keys’ own life, she told CNN in a conversation before the broadcast.
“It has always been such a personal song and such a poignant song,” she said. “And every time I play it, I want to cry because I’m thinking of my mother, I’m thinking of my grandmother, I’m thinking of friends of mine who can’t make ends meet.”
But as the pandemic swept the world, it occurred to Keys that the lyrics could also serve as a tribute to the health care professionals, front line workers, parents, teachers and everyone else who has stepped up during this unprecedented time.
“A lot of times people don’t feel like they’re doing a good job. They feel underwater and like there’s never going to be a brighter day,” she said. “Fast forward to now, with where we are now, and it’s almost like the song was written for this and I didn’t know it.”
The visual features Keys at her piano singing interspersed with footage of people, masked, going about life in what has become a new normal.
“You’re doing a good job/Don’t get too down/The world needs you now/Know that you matter, matter, matter, yeah…” she sings.
Keys has partnered with CNN to use the song as the theme for a new CNN Heroes campaign in celebration of the ordinary people who’ve emerged as heroes during the Covid-19 crisis.
Beginning Friday, CNN Heroes invites viewers to join the #GoodJobChallenge and say “thank you” to the people whose actions are inspiring them or making the world better, safer and healthier. Use that hashtag with pictures or a brief video on Instagram.
CNN will share a collection of these everyday heroes each week on-air and online.
“Alicia Keys and the lyrics of ‘Good Job’ are sending a much needed message of gratitude to the front line and essential workers of this crisis,” said Whit Friese, CNN vice president and group creative director of creative marketing. “It’s been nothing short of an honor for our team to collaborate with such an incredible talent on a project as meaningful as this.”
The singer-songwriter recalled saying a prayer when she was nominated for her first Grammy Awards for her 2001 debut album, “Songs in A Minor.”
“Please let me have something to say,” she prayed. “Don’t let me just have this moment and not have anything to say that’s going to resonate with anybody.”
That same prayer is one of the reasons Keys said she was moved to write “More Myself: A Journey,” a New York Times bestseller and the first book on Oprah Winfrey’s new imprint on Flatiron books.
Keys said she and her family — including her husband, producer Swizz Beatz, their two sons together and his son from a previous relationship — have been using this time to reflect.
“We are definitely doing well, but we are continuously thinking about where are we going as a world and as a global family,” Keys said. “I think we have the opportunity to really think about who do we want to be first as individuals, then who do we want to be as communities and on a global level? That’s a powerful thought and it feels like that’s the mandate right now.”