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Alicia Keys FaceTimes with nurse, plays rare song during emotional Pay It Forward Live concert stream

·Editor in Chief, Yahoo Music
·5 min read
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When Alicia Keys performed Thursday evening for Pay It Forward Live — Verizon’s weekly streaming concert series to support small businesses affected by COVID-19 — she decided to do something special and reach out to fans, calling them directly and taking their song requests. The singer-songwriter seemed especially excited to speak with a fan with whom she shared the same first name, a woman she called her “twin” — but when she called the other Alicia, the phone just rang and rang. A disappointed Keys hung up and proceeded to play the mystery woman’s pre-submitted song request, “Superwoman,” but she didn’t want to give up on the chance to make a real connection. So she tried again — and that is when the real magic happened, when her “twin” picked up.

The other Alicia, a nurse, was still in her scrubs and appeared to be just getting off a work shift — which might have been why she hadn’t been able to talk before. But regardless, it was worth the wait for both Alicias. After bonding a bit over their shared name, the singer asked the nurse how she was holding up on the frontlines — and they had a candid, as times tearful, but altogether inspiring conversation in the middle the live-stream.

“I'm a nurse, and I just feel like 95 percent of the hospital population right now, they're all COVID-19-positive. It just feels like overnight, the hospitals are all full of these sick patients, and there's no room in the ICUs, and you hear overhead all day long that a ‘patient is going into distress and needs to be intubated.’ And that's what you see when you look all around: just these intubated patients. It's scary. So when I'm discharging patients, and they're going home, and they're positive but they're getting better, that just makes my heart beat out of my chest, because you thank God for it,” the nurse said, revealing that several members of her own family had become ill recently due to the coronavirus, but they have recovered.

“I’ll be in the emergency room tearing up because of the situation — like, you’re thinking about your patients, you’re thinking about your family, and you’re like, ‘I’ve got to hold it together.’ And that's why the lyrics to ‘Superwoman’ just jumped into my head, and I've been holding onto that. So thank you for that [performance],’ the nurse added.

The appreciation was mutual, “Thank you so much, Alicia,” said Keys. “Like, look at you: You’re making such a difference in people's lives, and you’re helping everybody. And look at this light in you — you bring in that everywhere you go, and I know that's bringing people so much comfort. And I'm so grateful that you said that people are recovering and that it makes you feel so good to see people being able to go home. …I'm so happy that you picked up the phone.”

Earlier in show, Keys FaceTimed with a fan named Melanie Lino, proprietor of the bakery Made by Lino in Bethlehem, Penn., which like many small business has struggled to stay solvent during the pandemic and has had to let some employees go. After Keys encouraged viewers to support Lino’s bakery online, she told Melanie, “I have a special song. I actually never sing this song, and I want to sing it for you. it’s called ‘Send Me an Angel,’ and I think the people watching, hopefully, will become a small angel to you and your employees.”

According to SetlistFM, the track, originally called “Prelude to a Kiss” on Keys’s 2007 album As I Am and retitled “Send Me an Angel” for 2010’s Hope for Haiti Now benefit compilation, was last played publicly at a Hope for Haiti Now concert Los Angeles concert a little over 10 years ago, although Keys did sing it at Whitney Houston’s funeral in 2012.

Keys is the latest headliner for Pay It Forward Live; the exclusive shows kicked off last month with Dave Matthews and continued last week with OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder. Over the course of Pay It Forward Live, viewers are encouraged to tag their favorite local businesses and do what they can to support them — shop online, make a purchase in advance for when the crisis is over and the businesses reopen, or order a meal. Verizon will also donate $10 to support small businesses, up to $2.5 million, each time the hashtag #PayItForwardLive is used.

To find out more about what Verizon is doing to help customers and small businesses, visit verizon.com/about/news/our-response-coronavirus.

Verizon is the parent company of Yahoo.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.