Inspired by her 2-year-old son Egypt, Alicia Keys has recently entered the toy-making business to provide dynamic learning tools for young children. Keys employed the help of her colleague DJ Walton and his wife Jessica Walton to create the interactive storytelling app "The Journals of Mama Mae and LeeLee." Mirroring the singer's own childhood, the story features a young New York City girl's close relationship with her wise grandmother.
“I had just recently given birth, and I was like, ‘I really want to get into the children’s space,’” Keys told an interviewer. “I was seeing the different things that I wanted to bring into his life — different DVDs or different TV shows that were on — I was realizing how cool it would bring to bring multifaceted, multicultural music and stories into his world. How cool could that be?”
The hub of the app includes music playing, writing, reading, and puzzle solving, meant to encourage adventure and discovery. Egypt even served as co-writer on one of the app's songs, all of which Keys produced. ”He was still in a bouncer. I put him by the piano and I was like ‘Alright E, you ready?’ and it just came," Keys told reporters. "I said ‘You know, it’s because you’re here with me that this is happening.’ It’s his spirit and the nature of a child’s spirit that you can kind of connect with it and get closer to the purity of what you’re talking about.”