“It’s cool to see an artist that is so iconic in her own right — in every right really — singing words that I wrote in a dark studio somewhere a year or two ago,” Morris told Keys in a pre-show interview with CMT’s Katie Cook. “You’re a songwriter, too, so you respect the craft of it, and we’ve had some good conversations about all of that.”
Keys said she became an instant Morris fan after hearing “My Church,” and she loves everything on Morris’ debut album Hero.
“When we were talking about getting together, we were texting and then I started getting into different songs,” Keys said. “My favorite, I told her already is ‘80s Mercedes.’ I love it. I love a lot of her songs, though, all the way. Her writing style is really unique.”
Their mutual love of Motown and Muscle Shoals soul bonded them together even more as performers.
“We talked about Etta James,” Keys added. “We talked about Aretha Franklin. Bonnie Raitt has now brought us together, too, in a cool way, so we have a lot of similarities. I think being that we’re both songwriters and artists, and I think we both have a pretty mellow kind of easy-loving spirit. So we get along well.”
Personally, Morris can’t wait for fans to see their version of Keys’ “In Common.” “That’s gonna be really, really sick,” Morris said. “Also, ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ — that’s always been a favorite of mine. It’s such a great song.”
The set list includes a mix of their biggest hits plus a version of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery.”
CMT Crossroads: Alicia Keys and Maren Morris premieres Friday (Dec. 2) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.