Alicia Keys Recalls The Time John Mayer Gave Her The Top Half Of His Grammy
They reunited pieces of the trophy onstage at the 2019 Grammys.
Although John Mayer took home the Song of the Year award at the 2005 Grammys for “Daughters,” he decided to give Alicia Keys the top half of the trophy because he believed that she deserved the win for “If I Ain’t Got You.” During this year’s Grammy ceremony, Mayer joined the evening’s host on stage to reunite the trophy “for one night only” before they announced Childish Gambino as the Song of the Year winner for “This Is America.”
Before Mayer came on stage, Keys shared her recollection of his gesture. “John said, ‘I agree, Alicia. This should’ve been yours,’” she said. “He broke the Grammy and wrote ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ with my name on it and gave it to me.”
“If I Ain’t Got You” is taken from Keys' second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys. It topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for six weeks, and peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100. While the track didn’t win Keys a Grammy for Song of the Year, she did take home a trophy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
In 2011, Keys told Complex that she was inspired to write the song by Aaliyah’s death. “It was such a sad time and no one wanted to believe it,” she said. “It just made everything crystal clear to me—what matters, and what doesn’t.”
While Mayer apparently made his gesture to Keys in private, there are numerous examples of artists publicly stating that their peers are deserving of an award. In 2017, Adele spent her Album of the Year speech giving Beyoncé props for LEMONADE, and U2’s Bono said Kanye West was “next” while accepting the band’s Album of the Year award in 2006.
And of course, Macklemore infamously shared a text he sent to Kendrick Lamar about deserving to win Best Rap Album in 2014.
Keys dropped a new song following the Grammy Awards titled “Raise a Man.”
Read all the lyrics to Alicia Keys' “If I Ain’t Got You” and John Mayer’s “Daughters” on Genius now.