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Music / Alicia Keys

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Some people want it all
But I don't want nothing at all
If it ain't you, baby
If I ain't got you, baby
Some people want diamond rings
Some just want everything
But everything means nothing
If I ain't got you, yeah
"If I Ain't Got You"

Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), better known by her stage name Alicia Keys, is an American recording artist, musician and actress.

Keys was raised by a single mother in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan in New York City. At age seven, she 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, Songs in A Minor, in 2001 with J Records, having had previous record deals first with Columbia Records and then Arista Records. The album was a commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide, and making her the highest-selling new artist and R&B artist of the year. The album also 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 to continued worldwide success, selling eight million copies and garnering her an additional four Grammys in 2005. Later the latter year, she released her first live album, Unplugged, recorded as part of MTV's series of the same name. Its debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 in the United States made her the first female artist to have an Unplugged album debut at #1, and the second overall after 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, both released in 2007.

Her third studio album, As I Am, was also released in 2007 and sold six million copies worldwide, earning her an additional three Grammys. The following year, she appeared in the film adaptation of 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 2009, which became her first chart-topping album in the United Kingdom. She has since released five more albums, the most recent being Santa Baby in late 2022.

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 2000s, 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.


  • 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)
  • ALICIA (2020)
  • Keys (2021)


  • 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)
  • Alicia + Keys World Tour (2022-2023)


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 Beatz, 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" and "Karma".
  • Cover Version: Her debut album features a cover of Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore".
  • 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."
  • 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".
  • Title Theme Tune: She performed "Another Way to Die", the main theme of the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace, in duet with Jack White.
  • Unkempt Beauty: She opted for a natural look in 2016, as seen in the cover photo for Here.