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Saturday, June 13, 2020 10:00am ET by  
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Alicia Keys on self-preservation and the power of saying "No"

Alicia Keys has been opening up recently during a string of interviews about self-preservation and the power of saying "No".

Keys scored her first No. 1 hit in 2001 with Fallin. The song was featured on her debut studio album, Songs In A Minor, which topped the Billboard 200.

During a recent audio-only podcast with Jay Shetty, the 15x Grammy Award-winning artist - who has recently also become an author with the release of her new book - opened up about the power of saying "No" [Listen to the entire episode below to discover how Keys learned to embrace the power of the word, while still saying yes to all of life’s blessings].

The 39-year-old singer-songwriter also revealed recently that Oprah Winfrey helped her find "joy" in her work.

Keys says that she took some life-changing advice from the 66-year-old talk show host after she felt "overworked" having let down her boundaries and said yes to everything her agent threw at her.

Speaking on the 'Happy Place' podcast, she explained: "I would be so overwhelmed or overworked - I was just saying yes to everything and then I'd be exhausted. And there's no joy, it steals your joy.

"That was a big lesson that actually Miss Oprah shared with me. She said to me that she had also experienced that and how she was always looking outside of herself for the answer. 

"And she finally realised that she's the only one who knows herself, and we're the only ones who truly know what's good for us and only us.

"She started to say, 'You know what a resounding yes feels like'. Today, that sounds so obvious but in that moment no one had ever explained it so simply."

Prior to her meeting with Winfrey, the singer-songwriter "willingly" threw herself at every opportunity in hopes of getting to the next stage in her career. However, she eventually learned how to say no to people to be able to enjoy her success and have some well earned time off with her family and friends.

She added: "I do think boundaries is amazing. I didn't have any, I had none. I had no boundaries, I didn't even know how to put them in place. In fact, I gave them away willingly, happily, gratefully.

"Just to hopefully go to the next step or what I thought was closer to what I was hoping for, or what I thought would make whomever - you know, doors open or possibilities come in regards to my career as an artist. 

"I didn't understand that you could say no.

"It took me so long to know on tour I could say, 'Oh this is my someone special to me birthday. Let's make sure that I'm not working on that day.' I didn't even know how to do that. I think things like that in regards to boundaries are really important."

Listen to & stream here.

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