Alicia Keys Biography
Adapting her classical piano skills to contemporary R&B, Alicia Keys has become one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed soul singers of the 21st Century. Born Alicia Augello Cook in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York in 1981, she began playing the works of Mozart and Beethoven aged just seven and after attending the Professional Performing Arts School, she dropped out of Columbia University to pursue a career in music. After signing a deal with Columbia Records, she contributed to the Men In Black soundtrack but fearing that she was going nowhere with the label, she then teamed up with Clive Davis at Arista Records in 2000. A year later, her debut album, Songs In A Minor, reached number one, and eventually sold 12m copies, spawned the six-week chart-topping single, “Fallin’” and enabled Alicia Keys tickets for her first headline tour to go on sale for 58 dates. In 2002, she won five Grammy Awards including Best New Artist and Best R&B Album and added a further four statues to her collection with the release of 2003’s The Diary Of Alicia Keys. Following her chart-topping collaboration with Usher (“My Boo”), she performed with Stevie Wonder and Lenny Kravitz at the MTV Video Music Awards, appeared alongside Missy Elliott and Beyonce on the Verizon Ladies First Tour and published a best-selling collection of unreleased poems. Her 2005 MTV Unplugged session became one of the series’ most popular releases, whilst following big-screen roles in Smokin’ Aces and The Nanny Diaries, she scored her largest ever first-week sales with 2007’s As I Am, achieved her third US Hot 100 number one with “No-One” and released Alicia Keys tickets for her biggest tour to date. Continuing her collaborative streak, she performed a posthumous duet with Frank Sinatra at the Grammys, hooked up with Jack White for the theme to James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, and penned Whitney Houston comeback single, “Million Dollar Bill,” before providing vocals for Jay-Z’s “Empire State Of Mind.” 2009’s The Element Of Freedom was her first LP to fail to top the Billboard charts but she did reach pole position on the Hot Latin Songs charts with Alejandro Sanz duet “Looking For Paradise.” Alicia Keys tickets for a four-city tour named Piano & I: A One Night Only Event then sold out before she released her fifth studio album, Girl On Fire, in 2012.