Alicia Keys opens up about her new baby and her new marriage to rapper/producer Swizz Beatz in a brand new cover story for the July 2011 issue of Essence Magazine.

Check out a few excerpts (and an alternate cover) below:

On love: “Falling in love is such a force, but this is a whole other level of magic…”

On music, marriage and motherhood: “I was very closed for a long time. But I feel so open now. To feel open like this means you’ve found the center in yourself. You’re not hiding; you’re not worried about anything. Everything’s going to be just fine.”

On dedicating a song to her mom: “In the past, I’ve written mostly from my own perspective. But I just wrote a song for my next album that was inspired by a conversation I had with a man who was expressing how indebted he feels to God. He said, ‘I owe God.’ Now, what an interesting thought. And as much as I believe in God, for me that translated into how much I owe my mother for who I am. So I went home and I wrote I Owe You. It’s dedicated to her…”


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