Half African-American, half Italian soul musician Alicia Keys exploded onto the music world with her 2001 debut album, Songs in a Minor. With a pop, gospel, R&B and soul blend, the album, along with its hit single Falling, went platinum five times. Writing songs since she was 14 years old, Alicia also worked on several movie soundtracks, one of which was Men in Black (1997).
On February 6, 2005, Alicia will perform the song America the Beautiful at the Super Bowl, which is to be held in Jacksonville, Florida. Made popular by such musicians as Vikki Carr and Ray Charles, Alicia will be accompanied by 150 children from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.
"I'm very excited to be playing at the Super Bowl for the first time, especially because I will be singing a song made famous by an artist I admire, miss and respect." Alicia Keys
On a different note, Alicia makes reference to a phone number in her love song, Diary. When fans called the number a Georgia man named J.D. Turner got the calls as he had the same number.
As a humanitarian, Alicia has paid much attention to AIDS pandemic. Alicia and Sean Combs performed on MTV's Saturday concert (2002), which was part of World Aids Day special program. She also starred in the Urban AIDS promotion held in Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum in 2004.
On February 3, 2005, Alicia will be featured in live
performances with artists such as Good Charlotte, Kelly Clarkson, Hoobastank and
Simple Plan in an effort to support the MTV Asia Aid promotion.
Hitting The Keys
Childhood and Family:
In Manhattan, New York, R&B musician Alicia Augello Cook was born on January 25, 1981 to an African-American father and Italian mother. Nicknamed Lellow, Alicia loves to eat Vanilla ice cream smothered with chocolate fudge, swim. and has the bad habit of cracking her neck. Since the age of 7, this Aquarius musician constantly took piano classes with the strong support of her mother Nikki Augello. Her mother often told her, "You can quit anything else, but you can never give up on your piano lessons."
Because of her extraordinary music talent, Alicia was accepted
into Manhattan's elite Professional Performance Arts School, in which she
majored in choir and graduated in 1997.
From Minor To Major
Young Alicia became a versatile musician with the help of her school mentor from the Professional Performance Arts School of Manhattan. "This teacher spent so much time with me, she became the closest thing to vocal training I received." Alicia Keys
With her exceptional academic accomplishments, Alicia finished high school at age 16. "I was so deeply involved in music, I had already outgrown all the pressure of high school cliques and gossip." Alicia Keys
Signing a contract with Arista Records and guided by such greats as D'Angelo and Prince, Alicia continued writing, producing and recording music. As a result, Alicia also recorded such movie soundtracks as Men in Black (1997), Shaft (2000) and Dr. Doolittle 2 (2001).
When the head of Arista Records, Clive Davis, formed his own record label, J Records, Alicia joined him. Davis' previous artists included legends Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Santana. The legendary record tycoon persistently promoted Alicia on BET, MTV and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Alicia's breakthrough eventually came at age 19 when she released her debut album, Songs in A Minor (2001). With R&B, hip-hop, classical and jazz influences the album hit the Billboard charts at #1. The first day the album was on the market, it sold over 50,000 copies. The album went platinum five times in 14 European countries. Songs in A Minor consisted of hit singles Fallin' and Troubles and featured collaborated songs with Jermaine Dupri on Girlfriend and Isaac Hayes on Rock Wit U.
"A Minor is one of my all-time favorite keys to play in. It's a very moody key, and also 'A' is the first letter of my name. It just represents the songs through my eyes." Alicia Keys
After her debut victory, Alicia released her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, in late 2003. The album's hit single, Karma, was released in the UK on February 7th 2004. In the same year, Alicia received 8 Grammy award nominations for: Album of the Year, "Diary of Alicia Keys"; Song of the Year, "If I Ain't Got You"; Best R&B Song, You Don't Know My Name and Best R&B Song, "My Boo". She was also nominated for: Best R&B Album; "Diary of Alicia Keys"; Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, "If I Ain't Got You"; Best R&B Performance Duo or Group, "Diary" (With Tony Toni Tone) and Best R&B Performance Duo or Group, "My Boo" (With Usher).
Piano mastermind musician Alicia Keys often includes Chopin, Marvin Gaye, Mary J. Blige, Miles Davis, The Notorious B.I.G., Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, and Beethoven influences in her music and is a big fan of Stevie Wonder's album, Songs In The Key Of Life. Alicia hopes for a collaboration with Lauren Hill and R. Kelly in the near future.
Alicia has recently tried her hand at acting with being cast in the movie, With All Deliberate Speed (2004).