These days, our knowledge of celebrities too often originates with paparazzi images and snarky quotes by anonymous "insiders." After a while, it's easy to forget that stars are real people. That's why HuffPost Celebrity decided to launch its all-new #nofilter quick-fire question and answer series. Because how well do you know someone until they've shared their guiltiest pleasures?
Alicia Keys had New York on fire when she lit up the Empire State Building for its first-ever light show Monday night, and she did it again Tuesday evening when she performed her new album, "Girl on Fire," at an intimate iHeartRadio Live show for Hurricane Sandy first responders.
The Huffington Post caught up with Keys to find out what exactly makes up the anatomy of a "Girl on Fire."
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, we were reminded about the extreme power of the elements. Why is it that you identify so deeply with the element of fire?
Mother Nature and the elements are really powerful, you know, and it's incredible. It's really incredible. But the element of fire to me is very powerful because of what it symbolizes, how it symbolizes a strength. It symbolizes something that's unstoppable. You can't get through it, you know. And I think that it's definitely a passion and I love that.
You are such a symbol of strength in New York. What is it about New Yorkers that makes them so resilient?
Yeah, I think New Yorkers are incredibly resilient. We're just strong-minded, strong-willed. We live in a tough city so I think we have to be resilient for everything that goes on. And I know we're going to get past what happened with Sandy and it's beautiful to see people really uniting and coming together.
Last night when you lit of the Empire State building, that was such a New York goosebump moment.
It was so incredible. When I pulled that lever and the Empire State Building started to light up it was like nothing I had ever imagined before in my entire life and it was the most incredible New York moment. I couldn't even have dreamed of that, it was emotional.
This is now going to have a piano background.
Keys' 2-year-old son Egypt wanders in, asking mom if he could climb up on the piano to bang out a few notes.
You can play for us.
Now, I'm going to shoot out a few quickfire questions so we can really find out what makes a "Girl on Fire" tick. What's your guiltiest pleasure?
What's your go-to excuse?
What's one thing that you do alone that you wouldn't do in front of somebody else?
The first thing that comes to my head is probably not appropriate, but it was pick a wedgie.
If failure wasn't an option, what's one thing that you would do?
Failure isn't an option. I've erased the word fear from my vocabulary and I think when you erase fear you can't fail.
What's one thing people would be surprised to know you've never done?
Gone to Coney Island. Isn't that kind of crazy?
What happens in your recurring dream?
I don't dream -- only if I'm uncomfortable or I'm going through something.
What's on your nightstand?
I have a bunch of books and I don't even know why they're there because they're kind of irrelevant. I have water. I really need water because my room is kind of dry. I definitely should have a humidifer but I don't ... and lotion.
When do you lose your temper?
When people try to hold me back.
If you're the girl on fire, what is Egypt?
AK:The baby on fire! Are you a baby on fire?
AK: Then what are you?
Egypt: I'm good.