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Listen to Alicia Keys’ New Song from ’12 Years a Slave’ Soundtrack

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Shannon Carlin
Shannon Carlin Shannon is an associate music producer for Radio.com....
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With Alicia Keys’ new song “Queen of the Field” off the 12 Years a Slave soundtrack, she sings about the struggle of one particular female slave.

While the movie was inspired by the true story of Soloman Northup, a free man in upstate New York, before the Civil War, who was abducted and sold into slavery, Keys’ a spare piano ballad focuses on Patsey, played by newcomer Lupita Nyong’o, who is a slave girl on the plantation where Northup is taken.

Patsey is known for her cotton picking skills, which Keys highlights on the track, singing, “Queen of the field/ Born among cotton/ Life wasted picking/Ignore the screaming.”

But Keys also gets at the heart of this woman’s tragic story singing, “Just a little girl/ Little girl forgotten” who was “Born to cry/ Born to die/ Born to scream.” Listen to the track above.

The original soundtrack, crafted by John Legend, will feature 16 tracks characterized as “songs of freedom,” from artists like Gary Clark, Jr., Laura Mvula, Alabama Shakes and Chris Cornell in a duet with the Civil Wars’ Joy Williams.

(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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