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Alicia Keys Biography

Alicia is a well-known singer, songwriter, and pianist. Amongst many other titles, she has won five Grammys and her first album “Songs in A Minor” was certified platinum 5 times.

Early Life

Born in Manhattan, New York in January 25th of 1981 as Alicia Augello Cook she was introduced to the performing arts from an early age. At 7 she started playing classical piano, began writing songs as at 14 and graduated the Professional Performing Arts School as valedictorian at age 16. She decided to pursue her music career and signed with Columbia Records while at the same time declining a college a full scholarship offer to Columbia University.

Career Beginnings

The Columbia Records deal fell through during the 2 years she was signed as it didn’t progress her career. Producer Clive Davis then took Alicia under his wing, and signed her to Artista Records and suggested she change her name to Keys.

Debut Album Success

Artista Records later disbanded and along with Clive Davis’ new label J Records, Alicia Keys released her first album “Songs in A Minor” in 2001. The album was a critical and commercial success as it garnered Keys a 6-time platinum certification as well as 5 Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best New Artist. Thus, Keys was the second woman to win 5 Grammys after Lauryn Hill.

Sophomore Album and Other Projects

Following a very successful first debut, her second record didn’t’ disappoint either as she was just as involved in her work as the first. Known for her ability to work on multiple sides of the music business such as producer, songwriter and pianist she released “The Diary of Alicia Keys” in 2003 debuting to number 1 Billboard 200. Certified platinum, it became the largest first-week sales for a female artist in 2003, as it sold over 618.000 copies in its first week. In 2004 she released a book made out of several poems written by the artist throughout her career titled “Tears for Water: Songbook of Poems and Lyrics”. Her first live album “Unplugged” was released through MTV’s Unplugged on both CD and DVD. The record was the first female Unplugged album to debut at number 1 and the most watched since Nirvana’s 1994 Unplugged in New York. During 2007 she ventured into acting and co-stars in two movies: “Smokin’ Aces” and “The Nanny Diaries”. The 3rd studio album “As I Am” was released in the same year and as expected it reached number 1, a best-selling album that won Keys 2 more Grammys. In 2009 she had more collaborations, one of them with Jay-Z for “Empire State of Mind” which charted at number 1 and was critically acclaimed winning Alicia another 2 Grammys for “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” and “Best Rap Song”.

Family Life and The Voice

In late 2009, Alicia released her 4th Studio album “The Element of Freedom” and was her less performing album to date, however it reached number 1 in the UK. From 2010 she was more focused on family life and was married and gave birth to her first child. She returned back in the limelight and back to the top spots with album “Girl on Fire” in 2012, debuting at number 1. For this project, she won the Grammy – Best R&B Album in 2014. In September 2016, she joins “The Voice” panel as a coach and will return for the 13th Season.

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