DUBAI: American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys performed on Friday night against the shimmering backdrop of the Dubai Media City skyline, with a special guest appearance by some traditional Emirati drummers.
The 15-time Grammy-winning icon, who had the crown singing along to the New York anthem “Empire State of Mind,” was the headliner of the last night of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival. The three-day event, held at the Dubai Media City Amphitheater, also saw performances by the Irish band Snow Patrol and British funk crew Jamiroquai.
The American singer, sometimes dubbed the “Queen of R&B,” is no stranger to the UAE. She first performed in Dubai Media City in 2004, then appeared in Abu Dhabi in 2008 and returned to Dubai for a concert at the Media City Amphitheater in 2013.
For her fourth concert here, Keys treated fans to the power ballad “If I Ain’t Got You” as well as “Girl on Fire” and “Fallin’,” which was from her 2001 debut album “Songs in A Minor.” That album catapulted her to fame and earned her a whopping five Grammy awards. Since then, she has released six albums that have earned her a total of 15 Grammy trophies.
Her concert at the festival comes just weeks after her astonishing performance at this year’s Grammy Awards, where she performed with two grand pianos – at the same time – a performance that was a tribute to pioneering black jazz pianist Hazel Scott and went viral on social media.
On Wednesday, “Chasing Cars” hitmaker Snow Patrol opened the festival, with supporting acts from local indie rock band Vandalye, and French jazz star Frederic Yonnet, who is known for his expertise in playing the harmonica.
Headlining the second day on Thursday was Jamiroquai, who rose to fame in 1996. They released their eighth album in 2017 after a long hiatus, updating their iconic funk music style with an electronic dance music (EDM) flavor.