ALULA: US superstar Alicia Keys took over Saudi Arabia’s AlUla this weekend with a concert on Friday evening, before she hosted a private Women to Women discussion on Saturday during which industry leaders came together to share their experiences against the serene backdrop of the historical site.
Fans were treated to an evening of Keys’ greatest hits at the mirrored Maraya concert hall on Friday, where the 15 Grammy-winning singer performed “If I Aint Got You,” “Girl on Fire,” “New Day,” and much more.
The Dar AlUla traditional band opened up the show in a performance highlighting Saudi musical culture and then returned to the stage for a surprise rendition of Keys’ “Girl on Fire.”
“Tonight is all about feeling free, tonight is all about feeling good, tonight is all about letting anything that’s on your shoulders go, so if you are ready to have fun with me I want you to let it all go. I want you to feel good with me tonight, I want you to stand up and have fun,” Keys told the audience.
The artist kicked off her show by playing piano and performing, “You Don’t Know My Name,” Keys then sang “City of Gods” and then transitioned into “Empire State of Mind.”
“I just want you to know that you are not glued to those chairs, you may come off of the chairs, and you may even come down the stairs when you’re ready I don’t want to rush you when you feel it vibe with me like this,” she said, prompting a rush of fans who gathered in front of the stage.
On Saturday afternoon, the second edition of the Women to Women panel series kicked off in AlUla.
The talk was moderated by Hala Al-Hedaithy, a lawyer and performance poet.
Accompanying Keys on the panel were Rasha Alkhamis, Saudi Arabia’s first female boxer; Mashael Alobeidan, a professional rally driver and Hafsa Alkhudairi, a writer and arts and culture initiatives lead at the Royal Commission for AlUla.
In an intimate gathering hosted in Wadi Ashar, the panel highlighted the challenges women often face and shared their experiences of strength, determination, and the pressure of success in their sectors.
The Women to Women discussion aimed to encourage women to celebrate the legacies they have been handed from previous generations and explore the many ways they can contribute to the collective wellbeing of women internationally.
This year’s discussion focused on embracing a future-forward mindset, posing the questions: “How can women become each other’s resource and continue their long-standing heritage of legacy-making?” and “how can women benefit from each other’s wisdom to nurture the collective?”
This marks the second edition of Women to Women hosted by the award-winning performer. The session was off the record to encourage participants to speak freely and share their stories.