Alicia Keys felt forced to ''blend in and do what's expected'' when she started her career.

The 39-year-old singer was just 14 when she was first signed to a record label, and has said she had to ''pretend'' she knew what she was doing, because she felt ''awkward'' at being pushed into following the crowd.

She said: ''A lot of the times, you're kind of pushed to blend in or do what's expected, and you feel awkward if you even have a dissenting point of view. And for me, I fell right into that whole trap.

''Oh, I fell so good into that trap because I was so young. I was 14 years old the first time that I was ever even signed. And when the first record came out, I was 18 years old. It was like, whap. It was just, that was it.

''I had to pretend so much the majority of the time that I knew what I was doing. I pretended I knew what I was doing for so much of the time. I didn't know what I was doing.''

The 'A Woman's Worth' hitmaker also confessed to being ''so concerned with pleasing everybody'' in the early days of her career, as she was too ''insecure'' to follow her heart and make herself happy.

She explained: ''I was so concerned with pleasing everybody, so concerned with saying the right thing, so concerned with not kind of getting caught up or tripped up in the people trying to have these sensational headlines. I was so cautious and so protected, and had such a wall that was perfect.''

But Alicia - who has sons Egypt, nine, and Genesis, five, with her husband Swizz Beatz - believes being a people pleaser left her without any ''opinions'' of her own.

Speaking to Zane Lowe for Apple Music, she added: ''Who are you underneath all that? What is your opinion? Do you even know what your opinion is? I found that, no, I didn't. And that was not good. But it took me a long time to even know I didn't have an opinion. Because I thought I was quite opinionated. I'm like, woman's worth, right? I'm supposed to ... But underneath it all, I was quite insecure.''