Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), better known by her stage name Alicia Keys, is an American recording artist, musician and actress. She was raised by a single mother in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan in New York City. At age seven, Keys began to play classical music on the piano. She attended Professional Performing Arts School and graduated at 16 as valedictorian. She later attended Columbia University before dropping out to pursue her music career. Keys released her debut album with J Records, having had previous record deals first with Columbia Records and then Arista Records. (1997-Present)
Keys' debut album, Songs in A Minor, was a commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. She became the best-selling new artist and best-selling R&B artist of 2001. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for "Fallin'". Her second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, was released in 2003 and was also another success worldwide, selling eight million copies. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards in 2005. Later that year, she released her first live album, Unplugged, which debuted at number one in the United States. She became the first female to have an MTV Unplugged album to debut at number one and the highest since Nirvana in 1994.
Keys made guest appearances on several television series in the following years, beginning with Charmed. She made her film debut in Smokin' Aces and went on to appear in The Nanny Diaries in 2007. Her third studio album, As I Am, was released in the same year and sold six million copies worldwide, earning Keys an additional three Grammy Awards. The following year, she appeared in The Secret Life of Bees, which earned her a nomination at the NAACP Image Awards. She released her fourth album, The Element of Freedom, in December 2009, which became Keys' first chart-topping album in the United Kingdom. Throughout her career, Keys has won numerous awards and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Billboard magazine named her the top R&B artist of the 20002009 decade, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her time. In 2010, VH1 included Keys on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2016, it was announced that she would be a panelist on The Voice.
- Songs in A Minor (2001)
- The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003)
- As I Am (2007)
- The Element of Freedom (2009)
- Girl On Fire (2012)
- Here (2016)
- Songs in A Minor Tour (2001/2002)
- Verizon Ladies First Tour (2004)
- The Diary Tour (2005)
- As I Am Tour (2008)
- The Freedom Tour (2010)
- Piano & I: A One Night Only Event With Alicia Keys (2011)
- Set the World on Fire Tour (2013)
- Smokin' Aces (2007)
- The Nanny Diaries (2007)
- The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
Alicia Keys provides examples of:
- Blended Family Drama: The appropriately named "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)," which is about her relationship with her ex husband, rapper/producer Swizz Beats, and his second wife and the effect that the experience had on the children of both marriages.
- Break Up Song: Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart, Karma
- Cover Version: Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore", on her debut.
- Early Installment Weirdness: A Minor is general dark and somber and was closer to urban soul than her later records. The lyrics also include profanity and a fair bit of slang, which she sings in a rougher, more prominent accent. All of her albums going forward would see her presenting a softer, more approachable persona.
- "I Am" Song: "Super Woman"
- Let's Duet: with Usher on "My Boo"
- Non-Indicative Title: Subverted with Songs in A Minor. It's not referring to the songs themselves (only two, "Jane Doe" and "Troubles," are in the key of A minor), but the fact that Keys was still underage when she wrote all of the songs for it.
- Parental Love Song: "Blended Family."
- Past in the Rear-View Mirror: "Rear View Mirror".
- Rags to Riches
- Secret Keeper: "Diary.""I won't tell your secrets
Your secrets are safe with me
I won't tell your secrets
Just think of me as the pages of your diary."
- Self Empowerment Anthem: "Girl On Fire".
- Silly Love Songs: My Boo, No One, If I Ain't Got You.
- Unkempt Beauty: She's opted for a natural look in 2016, as seen in the cover photo for Here.