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We Are Here (Alicia Keys song)

"We Are Here" is a song by American recording artist Alicia Keys. It was written and produced by Keys, Swizz Beatz, Mark Batson, and Harold Lilly. The song debuted on Keys' Facebook page on September 8, 2014, accompanied by a text post explaining Keys' motivations and inspirations for the song. An up-tempo ballad, "We Are Here" describes Keys' frustration with both national and international issues, including the conflict between Israel and Gaza and the outbreak of the Ebola virus, as well as problems with education and gun laws in the United States. It was released digitally a week later and Keys performed the song on Today on September 15.[1]

"We Are Here"
We Are Here (song).jpg
Single by Alicia Keys
Released September 15, 2014 (2014-09-15)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2014
Genre R&B
Length 4:44
Label RCA
Songwriter(s) Keys, Swizz Beatz, Mark Batson, and Harold Lilly
Alicia Keys singles chronology
"It's On Again"
(2014)
"We Are Here"
(2014)
"28 Thousand Days"
(2015)
"It's On Again"
(2014)
"We Are Here"
(2014)
"28 Thousand Days"
(2015)
Music video
"We Are Here" on YouTube

Following the song's release, Keys launched a movement, called the We Are Here Movement,[2] calling for a more equal and just world.[3] Some social issues that the movement promotes is ending poverty and oppression, rights for women and children, and environmental activism. On the site of the cause, people can read about and donate to 12 different groups, striving towards, among other things, improving gay rights, fighting racial inequity in the American justice system, and also her own organization, Keep a Child Alive. Keys donated $1 million of her own money divided equally amongst the 12 groups.[3]

Contents

Critical receptionEdit

"We Are Here" was nominated for "Best Song with a Message" award at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards.[4] Billboard rated the song two stars out of five and gave the song a negative review.[5] The review stated that an attempt "to effect social change through song would hit if it weren't such an overwrought exercise in cliche. The midtempo cut attempts to unify, but its earnestness is embarrassing".[5]

Music videoEdit

The music video of "We Are Here" premiered on Facebook on September 8, 2014, and was uploaded to YouTube on September 15, where it has since been viewed close to 8 million times. The video, which was directed by Art Johnson, is set on top of a skyscraper in New York City, with Keys playing the piano and singing. On the piano, the words "freedom" and "peace" are written multiple times. The video ends with the words "War is over if you want it".

Live performancesEdit

"We Are Here" was performed on Today on September 15, 2014.[6] During the performance, Keys was sitting behind a piano that read "Love".[7] Rap-Up commented that Keys "belted out the inspiring anthem".[8] Vibe wrote that Keys "let her voice scale high over the song".[7] Robbie Daw of Idolator said that Keys delivered a "touching performance" of the song.[9]

Keys sang "We Are Here" on the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show on September 17, 2014.[10] Keys made a surprise appearance at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 19, 2014 and performed "We Are Here".[11][12] During the performance, pictures of people and their #WeAreHere messages were shown.[12] On September 27, 2014 she performed the song together with Amir-Kanoon and Idan Raichel onstage at the 2014 Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty by 2030 in Central Park in New York City.[13] On September 29, 2014, Keys appeared on The View and performed "We Are Here".[14] Keys performed "We Are Here" along with "Empire State of Mind" and "No One" at the 2014 We Can Survive Concert held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on October 24, 2014.[15][16] During an interview for Yahoo! Style, Keys performed a snippet of the song for Joe Zee.[17] Keys will perform "We Are Here" live at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards.[18]

Track listingEdit

Digital download[19]
No. Title Length
1. "We Are Here" 4:44

ChartsEdit

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100)[20] 96
Belgium Urban (Ultratop Flanders)[21] 30
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[22] 43
France (SNEP)[23] 111
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[24] 55
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[25] 47
South Korea (GAON) International Chart[26] 41
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 32

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Brandle, Lars (September 22, 2014). "Watch Alicia Keys Discuss New Album: It's the 'Best Music I've Ever Done'". Billboard. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  2. ^ WeAreHereMovement.com
  3. ^ a b "Alicia Keys Asks: Why Are We Here?". NYTimes.com. The New York Times. September 20, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Vote for Best Song With a Message!". MTV. 2014-10-27. Retrieved 2014-11-03. 
  5. ^ a b Billboard Staff (September 19, 2014). "From Alicia Keys to Fall Out Boy, the Best and Worst Singles of the Week". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2014-10-25.  ("We Are Here" reviewed by Steven J. Horowitz)
  6. ^ Menyes, Carolyn (Sep 15, 2014). "Alicia Keys Performs "We Are Here" on 'TODAY', Discusses Inspiration for New Single & Pregnancy". Music Times. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 
  7. ^ a b Caldwell, Brandon (September 15, 2014). "Watch: Alicia Keys Performs 'We Are Here' On 'TODAY'". Vibe. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 
  8. ^ "Alicia Keys Performs 'We Are Here' on 'Today'". Rap-Up. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 
  9. ^ Daw, Robbie (Sep 15, 2014). "Alicia Keys Performs "We Are Here" On The 'TODAY' Show: Watch". Idolator. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 
  10. ^ "Alicia Keys Talks to Elvis About Her New Song and Performs Live". Elvis Duran and the Morning Show. iHeartMedia, Inc. September 17, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  11. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/music-festivals/6259100/watch-alicia-keys-discuss-new-album-its-the-best-music-ive
  12. ^ a b http://news.iheart.com/articles/trending-475573/alicia-keys-inspires-las-vegas-at-12783891/
  13. ^ "Carrie Underwood & Alicia Keys: Bump-Off At Global Citizen Festival". Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  14. ^ The View (September 29, 2014). "Alicia Keys Talks About "We are Here"". ABC. Retrieved 2014-10-28. 
  15. ^ Robertson, Iyana (October 25, 2014). "Alicia Keys, Pharrell, Iggy Azalea, J. Lo & More Take On Breast Cancer At 'We Can Survive' 2014". Vibe. Retrieved 2014-10-26. 
  16. ^ Larsen, Peter (October 25, 2014). "Pharrell Williams, Taylor Swift and Iggy Azalea highlight 'We Can Survive' concert". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2014-10-26. 
  17. ^ Zee, Joe (November 3, 2014). "Style Session With Alicia Keys". Yahoo! Style. Retrieved 2014-11-04. 
  18. ^ http://www.mtv.co.uk/alicia-keys/news/alicia-keys-to-perform-on-the-2014-mtv-ema
  19. ^ "Alicia Keys - We Are Here - Single". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved 2014-10-13. 
  20. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201441 into search. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Alicia Keys – We Are Here" (in Dutch). Ultratop Urban. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Alicia Keys – We Are Here" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Alicia Keys – We Are Here" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 2014-10-05.
  24. ^ "Alicia Keys – Chart history" Japan Hot 100 for Alicia Keys. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  25. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201442 into search. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  26. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Chart (Gaon Chart) - Week 40 - 2014.09.21-2014.09.27". Gaon Chart. Retrieved 2014-11-03. 
  27. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Alicia Keys – We Are Here". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2014-11-01.

External linksEdit