Music picks: Alicia Keys' new album, The Peatix Online Event Festival and Beyond The Label Fest

American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has dropped a record reflective of the times. PHOTO: ALICIA KEYS/FACEBOOK


Online ticketing platform Peatix is marking the launch of its live-streaming feature Peatix Live - which allows event organisers to create paid online live experiences - with a 12 hour-long music and lifestyle festival on Saturday (Sept 26).

Singaporean and Malaysian acts, like homegrown psych-rock band Beakers in Space and reggae artist Masia One, are among the lineup.

Masia One will perform tracks off her forthcoming EP Freedom Fades (7 to 8pm) in a segment that includes chats with producers and songwriters from around the world.

There are also a capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art) workout, a beat box workshop and a virtual tarot card reading training session.

WHERE: Website

WHEN: Saturday (Sept 26), 11am to 11pm

ADMISSION: $35 for an all-access festival pass



Catch Singaporean singers Kit Chan, Stefanie Sun and Taufik Batisah performing as part of Beyond The Label Fest 2020, a virtual festival which supports mental wellness.

Hosted by singers Benjamin Kheng and Inch Chua on Facebook Live, the concert will also feature the debut of songs that trace the emotional journey of a person with mental illness and that advocate mental health.

The tunes are by 3am Music Collective - a group of musicians comprising the likes of Beverly Morata, Jack and Rai, MICapella's Eugene Yip, the T'ang Quartet's Leslie Tan and Yu-Ying Ng.

WHERE: Facebook

WHEN: Sunday (Sept 27), 8pm


Alicia Keys' sound is injected with a freshness, mostly by way of her collaborators. PHOTO: RCA


Alicia Keys


3.5 stars

Like many of her fellow musicians, American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has also dropped a record reflective of the times.

Whether she is raising a rallying cry for young teachers, student doctors and "single mothers waiting on a check to come" on Underdog, or denouncing police brutality on Perfect Way To Die - a piano ballad written from the perspective of a grieving mother whose son has been gunned down by the police - Keys' work on her seventh album is timely.

But nothing ever feels too heavy or world-weary. Instead, she does what she does best - warm, hopeful and uplifting.

"'Cause the world needs love, don't we all know", she sings on Jill Scott, a fan-girl tribute to the American neo-soul singer where Keys channels Scott's style and even gets her to make a cameo on it.

Two decades on from her R&B/pop beginnings, Keys' sound is injected with a freshness, mostly by way of her collaborators.

British singer Sampha's striking tone offsets Keys' pretty vocals on the slow burning 3 Hour Drive, while the pulsing Me x 7 plays off American rapper Tierra Whack's original, staccato-laced flow.

Ultimately, this is inoffensive, accessible music for healing and for taking a break.

"We're all in this boat forever, and we're sailing towards the future and it's alright," she sings on Authors Of Forever, offering a glimmer of hope for the pandemic-weary listener.


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