Famous Black People

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys Photo


Daughter of Craig Cook and Terri Augello, Alicia Augello, Cook came into this world on 25th January, 1981 in New York. She attended Columbia University with Voice as her major.

As her parents got separated when she was a little girl, Alicia spent most of her time with her mother and grew up in Hell’s kitchen, an infamous neighbourhood in Manhattan. Even though she is a biracial, Alicia declares herself as black and is proud of both sides of her heritage equally.

A singer, songwriter, pianist as well as a producer, Alicia rose to fame with her debut album Songs in a Minor. Since the release of her first album, this multi-talented artist has been entertaining her fans with her songs and music.

Career Account

Innovative, dynamic and dazzling are perhaps small words to describe the personality of Alicia Keys as this brilliant singer progressed by leaps and bounds. Many artists face a slump during their careers, but this was not the case with Alicia Keys. Her second album not only matched the success of her first release but also went on to become a bigger hit.

Alicia learned to play piano and developed interest in classical music in her childhood. She wrote her first musical composition when she was only 11 as a tribute to her grandfather. She was deeply inspired by classical composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, soul singer Nina Simone, rock group Led Zeppelin and rapper Notorious B.I.G.

Alicia joined the Professional Performance Arts School in Manhattan where she recognized singing as her passion. She soon met a manager who groomed her and assisted her to record a demo. With his help, she also joined a girls’ choir in Harlem. She got her first contract with Columbia Pictures when she was only 15 years old.

However, things did not work out with Columbia records and the album was never released. Instead, the famous record company executive Clive Davis helped to make her dreams come true. It was here that she recorded her debut album, Songs in a Minor in 2001, after which there was no looking back for her.

Keys got six Grammy nominations, winning five of them including Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, Best R&B Album and Best R&B Song. She also acquired awards such as the American Music Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and the NAACP Image Awards.

Alicia Keys made appearance on shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and even performed on America: A Tribute to Heroes, a fundraiser for victims of 9/11.

The Diary of Alicia Keys was released in 2003 and it topped the charts at number one, selling more than 600,000 copies in the first week of its release. Her songs did very well and were immensely popular among the masses. After this came Tears For Water: Songbook of Poems & Lyrics – her book of poems and song’s lyrics.

It was in 2005 that Keys helped MTV restart its Unplugged series and recorded her show with various guest performers. It was also announced that Keys would appear in would appear in her first film, a comedy titled Smokin’ Ace, to be released in 2006.

Despite her rise to stardom within a very short time at a young age and her continual success, Alicia Keys did not become a typical celebrity and still chooses to live a simple life in Harlem without any fanfare. Although her career span has been short, yet during this time Alicia did a lot of work and apart from singing, also composed music and wrote poetry and songs that have been a source of pleasure for music lovers.

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