Artists frequently claim their latest work is more "real" or "raw" than anything they've done before. It's become such a cliché that we were skeptical when Alicia Keys described her forthcoming album as the most honest and uncensored yet. But the singer's recent story in Lenny Letter shows she's walking the walk. She explains how the pressure for perfection has affected her over the years:

Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn't put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.

That led to Keys promoting her new single "In Common" with a makeup-free photo:

Keys hopes her #NoMakeup photo will inspire others, but it's about more than beauty products—she also wants to address our impulse to cover up:

I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.

To check out the full story in Lenny Letter, click the link below.

READ THIS NEXT: Rumer Willis Has a Powerful Message for the Photographer Who Photoshopped Her Chin 34U34 Activism Promo