Alicia Keys' keyboard is her best friend.

The singer says she went "crazy" buying several different instruments ahead of recording new album 'The Element of Freedom' and loved experimenting away from her usual piano.

She said: "My engineer and me, we started buying up different vintage keyboards. We were going crazy with them. The Moog has become my special best friend. There's so many new good things out now too. So I'd sit with one keyboard at a time and go 'How can I create with this? What can I do with it?' I feel I never took the time to explore different sounds in the past."

The 'Fallin'' hitmaker also said she used a different approach to recording the album, adopting a more casual stance than her previous "music jail".

She added to the Wall Street Journal: "I used to lock myself in music jail - maybe it's because I'm from New York that I was so driven. But I've learned breaking away gives you more perspective. I'd say, 'Let's do four days and break for the weekend.' 'We'll go away and come back.' It was a more casual approach."