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Alicia Keys "didn't value herself" for years.
The 41-year-old soul singer - who shot to fame as a teenager and released a of chart-topping albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s - admitted that during her younger years she struggled to know her own worth but these days has learned to see herself as a priority in order to be more "productive."
She said: "I value myself now, and I think for a lot of years, I didn't. I learned that in order for me to be the most productive, I have to be well. I now prioritise myself in a way that I just didn't [before]."
The 'New York' songstress - who in recent years has started up a second career with the launch of her Keys Soulcare wellness brand - went onto explain that in her early career she "put up the worst kind of wall" in an order to "protect herself" but in actual fact was doing the opposite.
In an interview with Fast Company magazine, she said: "I think we all deal with this idea that we're supposed to be perfect in some way. The same thing happened to me when I was 20. You don't even know who you are at 20. You're a little bit of what your mama told you. You're a little bit of what the world told you. And then you're supposed to go off into the world.
"[Early in my career] people watched me intently. I'm a New Yorker. I didn't want people to violate me. I immediately put up a wall, but I put up the worst kind of wall: the one that you pretend is not there. You think you're protecting yourself but you're actually hurting yourself.
"All I knew to do was just to fake it till you make it. Once I stopped doing that — which I have to remind myself to do every day — I started to feel much more honest, because I didn't have to pretend."