Some people celebrate their birthdays with a cake and a party, but when it came to ringing in her 41st year, Alicia Keys made different plans. Instead, the singer celebrated her day (Jan. 25) by announcing a new partnership with Athleta. Not only will she now serve as a mentor and advisor for the brand’s Power of She Fund — a grant program committed to making well-being accessible, specifically to women and girls in the BIPOC community — Keys will also release a clothing collaboration, dropping March 8.
“I’ve always been a big fan [of Athleta],” she tells InStyle over the phone. “I love my workout routine. I love meditation. I love anything that gives me two seconds to myself in such a crazy, hectic world. And Athleta has always been part of my repertoire with the things that I wear, or feel good or comfortable in. When the opportunity for a partnership came up, it felt really natural.”
Keys says there’s also clear “synchronicity” between the brand’s mission and what’s important to her, personally, including “body positivity, body consciousness, diversity, and really being able to see and celebrate all styles of us — empower us to be comfortable in our skin and who we are.” Aside from supporting women through Power of She, she’s thrilled that her clothing collection will be offered up to size 3X.
“That’s one of my favorite parts,” she admits while hinting at what’s to come. According to Keys, the size-inclusive pieces will be stuff you can live in, whether you’re headed to the gym, dropping the kids off at school, or working from home.
“It’s also extremely vibrant; I love the colors that we’re playing with in this collection. It’s so bold. I think it reminds you to be brave. It reminds you to live out loud. It reminds you that you don’t have to hide behind anything or underneath anything. There’s a brightness to it that, I think, is even like a part of color therapy. Just awakening the senses, awakening yourself.”
Another reason why Keys and Athleta make the perfect duo? Aside from loving fitness, the singer is a champion of mental health, and knows that it’s a major part of the equation when it comes to well-being.
“This idea of being able to put yourself first is another part of well-being — making sure that you are okay, making sure that you are mentally stable, making sure that you feel good in your heart and your spirit,” she tells us. “I think there are many of us that feel like we’re not allowed to or we’re not supposed to — like this idea that suffering is a part of life. And surely there are ups and downs for everyone, but there’s also the idea that we deserve to be well. It’s important to learn how to do that.”
But learning how to be good to yourself is a journey, she says, and as she celebrates her birthday with Athleta, she’s excited for women to “flow and grow” with her, with everyone working to find their authentic selves.
“The gift of life is something we can all continue conversations about,” she says. “How are we making the most of our lives? And feeling good and having fun? Because man, life is so short. You can’t be stressed the whole time because then it’s done.”
One way that Keys worked to better her life in the past year is becoming more conscious of how different energies can really affect your mood.
“One of the things that I’ve learned lately that has been resonating with me is monitoring the energy that you allow in your space,” she says. “There are a lot of people that we love, people that we’ve known for years, family members, that we feel obligated to be with and talk to and entertain. And sometimes their energy or their frequency is just not matching yours and not bringing yours up. Even though that’s quite hard — trust me, I know — I think that that’s something I really, really came to terms with this year. Make sure that the people that are around you bring your energy up, and that’s it.”
Of course, music can always be an energy booster, too — specifically, the singer’s latest album, Keys, which was released this past December.
“A lot of people have said, ‘It sounds like the Alicia that I can’t wait to hear, the one that I’m waiting for, the one that I’m looking for.’ So, in a lot of ways, I call it a homecoming because it feels like I’m coming home to myself and just understanding who I am, how I want to express, being more creative than I’ve ever felt,” Keys tells us. “I love how I can continue to create new, innovative ideas through music, through fashion, through partnerships, and most importantly, through purpose — and all of them are about being unafraid to be who you are.”