Alicia Keys went barefaced for her new single cover artwork because she doesn't want to hide herself behind make-up anymore.
When the No One singer was writing for her sixth studio album, she realised a lot of her songs seemed to focus on her insecurities and anxieties as well as feeling that she had to hide her true self in order to be accepted as a star.
She felt she couldn't leave the house without make-up on out of fear of judgment, and has written a candid essay for the Lenny newsletter detailing the pressure she felt to look perfect.
"Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect," she writes. "All of it is so frustrating and so freakin' impossible."
She wrote a song for her album called When a Girl Can't Be Herself, which features lyrics such as, "In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don't want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I'm made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem."
It got so bad Alicia believed she "was not good enough for the world to see" and her mind was constantly filled with "insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts". However, she finally felt liberated when she sat down for a photoshoot straight after a gym session and the photographer began taking pictures straight away.
"I was shocked. Instantly, I became a bit nervous and slightly uncomfortable. My face was totally raw. I had on a sweatshirt!" she continues. "(But) I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt."
One of the pictures, which shows a make-up free Alicia in a head scarf, has been used as the artwork for her new song In Common, and she is hoping her lead will kick-start a no make-up revolution.
"I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing," she concludes.