“I feel like it’s going to open the minds of many people to realize that women of color belong everywhere and we’ve always been everywhere,” Keys told Billboard of the performance
Some people want it all — others just want to see Alicia Keys sing “If I Ain’t Got You” with a massive orchestra.
On Monday, the Grammy winner shared a new performance of the 2003 hit, which sees her belt out the lyrics alongside an orchestra of more than 70 women of color from all over the world for Netflix and Shondaland’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
The new clip, directed by Diane Martel (who helmed its original music video), features Keys, 42, as well as musicians including South Africa’s first Black female conductor Ofentse Pitse, the Netherlands’ RIMON, France’s Amel Bent, Germany’s Alicia Awa, Sweden’s Cherrie and Norway’s Delara.
“The entire idea was quite ambitious,” Keys told Billboard of the clip, which celebrates the debut of Queen Charlotte as well as the 20th anniversary of the musician’s 2003 The Diary of Alicia Keys album. “I feel like it’s going to open the minds of many people to realize that women of color belong everywhere and we’ve always been everywhere. It’s magical.”
Keys sings the powerful ballad while playing piano and matching all the other performers in 1700s attire in the video. “I know they’re gonna be very emotional when they see it because the women we who were there were extremely emotional,” she told the outlet of the experience, noting that conductor Ofentse Pitse felt the diverse orchestra was important. “This is what out ancestors never experienced.”
The “No One” musician also opened up about the importance of uplifting women with the performance, noting that her mom taught her to stand up for gender equality and “is definitely a feminist for sure.”
“She raised me, and that desire for equanimity and fairness was really instilled in me, and then I would see how it will come out in my songs,” said Keys. “I would see it on ‘A Woman’s Worth,’ or ‘Superwoman’ or ‘Girl on Fire,’ and I know that the majority of those songs and feelings have come from needing a boost, needing that extra energy. Those songs, in a lot of ways, were what I wished and hoped to feel.”
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story debuted May 4 on Netflix as the first spin-off series of Bridgerton. The prequel tells the story of young Queen Charlotte’s life, rise to power and romance with King George over six episodes.
The series’ soundtrack will feature other orchestral versions of songs by Beyoncé, SZA, Whitney Houston and other artists.
In an interview with PEOPLE about her new collection with Athleta, Keys said she’s “grateful” that “If I Ain’t Got You” still touches listeners “in such a powerful way” 20 years after its release.
Keys is currently performing the final dates of her Alicia + Keys Tour in Latin America through May 19. Next month, she’ll kick off her Keys to the Summer Tour on June 28 in Sunrise, Florida.
“The KEYS TO THE SUMMER TOUR is going to be completely unforgettable and unmissable! I describe it as a celebration of freedom and self-liberation,” she told Live Nation in a press statement about the tour.
She continued, “It’s going to be colorful, magical and will light up your body, soul and all of your senses! This is my first time creating a 360 experience and we’ve made sure it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen! I’m so excited to see y’all this summer!”